A66: Member States to implement digital literacy policies
Member States should implement by 2011 long-term e-skills and digital literacy policies and promote relevant incentives for SMEs and disadvantaged groups.

What is the problem? 30 % of Europeans are digital illiterates

150 million Europeans have never used the internet. This group is largely made up of older people or people on low incomes, the unemployed, immigrants, and the less educated and at risk of social exclusion in general. In many cases the take-up gap is due to a lack of user skills, such as digital and media literacy and competences.

Why is EU action needed? By enhancing digital literacy these disadvantaged groups will be empowered to overcome social exclusion, contribute to economic growth and fully participate in and engage in the digital economy and society.

By developing and enhancing digital skills, all EU citizens, and in particular groups at risk of socio-economic exclusion (e.g. elderly, jobless, immigrants, marginalised youngsters, women returning on the job market, etc), which add up to some 30% of EU population (150 million people), will be able to participate on a more equal footing in the digital economy. They will have better job prospects, and enjoy higher opportunities for learning, creating, participating and being confident in the use of digital tools, media and related content (e.g. using services and tools made available by eLearning, eGovernment, eHealth).

80% of social services are delivered locally by public administrations (regions, municipalities, etc.) and often by the third sector. The availability of ICT-skilled intermediaries, such as public officials, social workers, volunteers, home carers etc is fundamental for an effective and sustainable service delivery.

Development of curriculae and certification of skills of such intermediaries will allow the formal recognition of de-facto professions and enhance job creation, especially in local markets.

As a specific problem, the EU economy is hampered by a shortage of ICT practitioner skills: Europe risks not being able to fill as many as 700,000 IT jobs by 2015.

What will the Commission do?

In several actions of the Digital Agenda (57, 58 and 59 and 60) the European Commission presents ideas on how to best promote and enhance digital literacy and digital skills. In action 66 Member States are expected to develop policies and actions to stimulate digital competence acquisition using national and EU instruments.

Actions foreseen in 2011 :

Supporting actions:

  • Development of Digital Competences Framework linked to European Qualifications Framework
  • Creation of multi-stakeholders platform ("DAE Big Idea 2")
  • Creation of a multi-stakeholder sectoral Council for ICT Skills and employment
  • Within the Digital Agenda Assembly taking place in June 2011, workshops will be dedicated to digital literacy and competences, ICT skills and inclusion.
  • Digital literacy and competences and ICT skills will feature in the Polish presidency conference on Innovation and e-Inclusion in October 2011.
  • Within the EC R&D and innovation deployment programmes (FP7 ICT and CIP ICT-PSP), a number of activities and pilots addressing e-inclusion and ICT skills and competences for intermediaries (including social carers) have been launched.
  • IPTS has planned a number of workshops, toolkits and studies on Digital Competence and social inclusion actors and intermediaries, for employability and integration of migrants and ethnic minorities, for youth at risk, and for social workers and caregivers.

Cross-cutting points (relevant to all digital competences-related actions):

  • ICT skills and competences have been identified as a political priority in EDA and in the "New Skills for New Jobs" flagships within the Europe 2020 strategy.
  • The "European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion" flagship, promotes the inclusion of ICT skills and competences as a priority for the next ESF (European Social Fund 2013-2020).
  • A joint public communications approach on literacy and e-skills with ENTR, EAC and EMPL will be elaborated.

In 2012 :

Supporting actions:

  • Development of Digital Competences Framework for all levels of education, linked to European Qualifications Framework and Recommendation on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (2006)



Digital Agenda for Europe »Digital Agenda for Europe
Pillars & Actions »Pillars & Actions
P6: Enhancing e-skills »P6: Enhancing e-skills
A66: Member States to implement digital literacy policies
Varying progress among Member States »Varying progress among Member States
Actions Overdue »Actions Overdue
W20: Digital literacy and e-Inclusion »W20: Digital literacy and e-Inclusion
W22: Women for smart growth »W22: Women for smart growth
W24: The Digital Agenda for local and regional development »W24: The Digital Agenda for local and regional development
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