Advocating ICT Education and Digital Skills: An EU Perspective

I am an enthusiastic advocate for the development of e-skills for education. Through my work and my free time I read, discuss, test and deploy initiatives that promise progress in ICT education and the use of ICT as enabler for multi-disciplinary work.

In EU when we refer to e-skills, we mean the electronic skills that become mandatory for the work and leisure lifestyle in the 21st century. The working definition that we employ refers to "e-skills" as the term with which we encompass a broad set of skills necessary in the modern workplace and digital economy. Successful innovation in ICT requires cross-disciplinary, cognitive and problem-solving skills as well as an understanding of the fundamentals of business and communication skills, including competence in foreign languages. They should be seen in the wider context of a core set of competences equipping all European citizens for a knowledge-based society. These key competences should be provided in a lifelong learning context.

The web is abundant in solutions but not all of them get to the busy user. Convenience usually prevails as the primary choice. I believe what is missing is getting quality, up-to-date information about the options available, at the disposal of an informed user. It is indeed welcome to have for instance a choice on privacy enhancing technologies or secure applications by default; but in the end it comes down to how we use these options and the need to acquire and apply a user netiquette (an online etiquette).

ICT awareness and EU initiatives
An awareness on ICT is useful, however like in anything else being knowledgeable is followed by developing competences and using these competences in everyday life in a conscious manner. In terms of eSkills there are some visible initiatives currently taking place in Europe. Let us develop on this and present some of them.
1. Digital agenda "Promoting digital literacy, skills and inclusion". The initiative presented at a policy level for all 28 Member States here
2. Digital Agenda Scorebord for evaluation and monitoring here
3. Implementation activities:
• Code Week : Provides peer to peer exchange of skills and non-formal education on coding: available here ;
• Safer Internet Programme: tips and advice offered by a coalition of organizations and centres working together with 'Insafe', to empower children and young people to use the internet and other online and mobile technologies in positive, safe and effective manner. The programme is available here
• European Massive Open Online Courses (EMMA): Educational courses, providing access in multiple languages to long life learning; Check it out the here ;

The European Cyber Security Month (ECSM): Advocacy for ICT education
In the following lines I choose to feature an initiative of EU implemented by ENISA every October a Cyber Security Month in all participating Member States and partners. It is a brokerage that many of you, if you are not involved, should consider joining. Furthermore, the US National Cyber Security Month is taking place concurrently, available here and call for advocates too.
Cyber Security Month advocates for change in the perception of cyber-threats by promoting data and information security, education, sharing of good practices and competitions. Every week another important topic and activities take place online or offline. Among them training is featured, secure coding, understanding cloud solutions, privacy and e-skills for the job market. ECSM shares tips and information about technical digital aspects to users in their own language . Sometimes the effort is put into out of the box delivery methods, for example creating a digital "guru" cartoon that shows us all the right answers .
MAP:picture attached

For most of us, this autumn brings busy agendas. Nevertheless ICT is of great importance and affects us all, we should get the time to take a 'deep dive' into the topic. Enjoy a secure digital autumn!

Follow the conversations on twitter: #eskills #CyberSecMonth #CyberAware #education #EUmoocs

N.B.: The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ENISA.

References:
-The full list of ECSM activities set to take place all over Europe can be found on www.cybersecuritymonth.eu
-Tips and Advice in 23 EU Languages: https://cybersecuritymonth.eu/press-campaign-toolbox/ecsm-material/tips-and-advice
-Try this quiz http://cybersecuritymonth.eu/references/quiz-demonstration