Digital skills, such as language skills, are considered horizontal skills. They do not lead to a specific qualification and occupation. Therefore, they are not validated against the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) through the same formal procedure applied for example for a chef who has cooking skills and who can get his skills tested and receive a formal diploma without going to a professional school.
This is a quite alarming gap if we consider the importance of digital knowledges in the current job market: being not able to find a common framework to describe them means increased difficulties in identifying candidates thus resulting in job mismatches.
Despite the largest proportion of the population has Internet access, not so many people could be considered digitally literate in a broader sense: oversharing on social media, fake news and little concern about privacy issues demonstrate how much there is still left to do in terms of digital education. (If you want to test your “Digital Footprint” awareness, take our anonymous survey http://dlearn.eu/digital-footprint-awareness/).
In order to address the topic at the end of 2015 the Lifelong Learning Platform established a Working Group whose members include the European Digital Learning Network (Dlearn). The objective of the Working Group is to share views, experiences, best practices and initiatives to generate support for (joint) advocacy at European and National level with a view to anticipate skills shortages and maintain an up to date view of skill gaps and mismatches while tackling increasingly crucial issues like the growth of online hate speech, online bullying or data protection.
Considering the increasing digitalisation of private and public services, promoting digital literacy means also implementing actions not to exclude disadvantaged from basic services, resulting in further discrimination.
The setting of common standards for the identification, certification and validation framework for the recognition of digital skills will bring a vast amount of benefits – from facilitating job recruiters to support institutions in creating effective inclusion programmes for socially marginalized groups and improving the effectiveness of e-government solutions.