Learning in the IT society

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




(2000), "Learning in the IT society", Education + Training, Vol. 42 No. 6. https://doi.org/10.1108/et.2000.00442fab.011



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Learning in the IT society

Learning in the IT society

Keywords Information technology, Labour force, European Commission

The future labour force depends on high skills, competence and adaptability, says a draft European Commission paper on Strategies for Jobs in the Information Society. The paper shows that around 81 million of the 117 million people aged under 25 in the EU are studying. Today's education and training institutions must prepare Europeans for a world where mobile telephones, personal computers and the Internet are everywhere. This will involve rethinking the how education and training operate in the information society.

Access to, and learning to use, hardware and software are not sufficient. Young people also need to be able to use information, and to communicate and innovate with technology. Teacher training and support must be improved. The commission recommends that EU member states should:

  • link every school to the Internet;

  • increase the multimedia capability of PCs in schools;

  • ensure that all teachers are competent in information-society skills;

  • develop the capability to integrate information-society tools in education;

  • support information-society tools and multimedia integration within curricula through public and private-sector partnerships; and

  • support content-development networks in the education sector.

The strategy, outlined by Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou, seeks to close the gap with the USA in the use of information technology. Internet use in Europe is less than a third of that in the USA. Moreover, Europeans connected to the Internet are mostly male, from higher income groups and from northern Europe. The commission notes that half of jobs will, by 2010, be in sectors which are either major producers or extensive users of information-technology products and services. But employment in the information society is less stable than traditional employment and depends more on the skills and flexibility of workers. The commission contends that Europe already has too few experts in software, information services and telecommunications. There could be 1.6 million unfilled jobs in information technology by 2002.

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