Educating for a digital world

Efforts to seamlessly incorporate digital skills across all levels of education.

A new consultation document has been issued, detailing a comprehensive strategy for digital education for the years 2024 to 2030. The plan, which aligns with the broader National Education Strategy set for 2023-2030, aims to seamlessly incorporate digital skills across all levels of education.

The strategy is spread over four parts. The first pillar, ‘Nurturing Digital Global Citizens’, aims to help learners become successful digital global citizens. It also emphasises the need for educators to be well-supported and equipped to empower learners with 21st-century skills.

In response, the second pillar, ‘Empowering Educators for the 21st Century’, focuses on fostering a digital school culture that integrates modern technologies and skills through enhanced professional development opportunities for all educators.

This strategy extends beyond educators and students, encompassing the wider community through its third pillar, ‘Community Engagement and Collaboration’. This pillar promotes digital learning environments within the home, emphasising the importance of accessible digital resources. Building on this, the fourth pillar, ‘Enriching Digital Resources’, focuses on strategically expanding access to digital devices and resources that enhance digital skills and competencies.

The four pillars together comprise 14 measures and 79 strategic actions. These actions are detailed in a comprehensive plan that outlines the timelines, methods, and responsibilities for each action. To guarantee effectiveness and maintain quality, the strategy will undergo systematic monitoring and evaluation.

This initiative doesn’t come in isolation. In 2016, the ‘One Tablet per Child’ initiative, part of the European Social Fund 2014-2020, established a framework for effectively integrating tablets into educational settings, emphasizing literacy, digital literacy, and numeracy. Over 15,000 devices were distributed to students from Year 4 to Year 6 between 2016 and 2018. This initiative is set to evolve into the ‘One Device per Child’ project, with laptops provided to all Year 7 students to make the transition from primary to secondary education seamlessly.

In 2019, the ‘Strategy and Vision for Artificial Intelligence in Malta 2030’ was introduced, aiming to position Malta as a leader in AI within the global economy by enhancing digital education for educators and refining learning and assessment methods.

Further building on digital skills development, the eSkills Malta Foundation unveiled the ‘Maltese National eSkills Strategy 2022-2025’ in 2022. In the same year, the Ministry of Economy, European Funds, and Lands launched the ‘Malta Digital Strategy 2023-2027’, outlining ongoing strategies to sustain Malta’s leadership in digital transformation.

The Ministry for Education, Sport, Youth, Research and Innovation is partnering with key stakeholders, including educational professionals, students, and employers, to collectively address the evolving needs of the labour market. In fact, aligned with Malta’s Sustainable Vision 2050, there will be a focused effort to identify key transversal skills that are essential to both the digital and green economies, preparing for future challenges and supporting sustainable economic growth.

There’s a lot to do to reach European goals. The Digital Compass and the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan have set ambitious targets to aid Member States in their digital transformation. These targets include ensuring that 80% of adults possess at least basic digital skills and increasing the number of ICT specialists in the EU to 20 million, with a particular focus on boosting female participation. These objectives are encapsulated in the establishment of the Digital Decade Policy Programme 2030, which is further supported by a goal within the European Education Area to reduce the proportion of low achievers in computer and information literacy to below 15%.

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