PRESS RELEASE: EMPOWERING YOUNG PEOPLE AS DIGITAL CITIZENS
European Schoolnet, the network of 30 European Ministries of Education, is committed to supporting young people’s active and participative digital citizenship, through helping them develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to thrive in today’s digital society. Through the European Commission funded Better Internet for Kids platform and the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres, in addition to the work done by our Interactive Classroom Working Group and Future Classroom Lab, we support platforms for stakeholder dialogue, bringing the voices of young people to the fore. Following on from the recent eTwinning conference where 585 teachers from across Europe discussed how best to promote digital citizenship through education, our thematic focus has culminated in this year’s annual EMINENT conference, devoted to further shaping European Schoolnet’s digital citizenship agenda.
EMINENT 2016 was hosted by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Centre for International cooperation in Education (DZS), and brought together 138 education experts, representatives of national ministries, industry partners and other stakeholders, to discuss the educational implications of empowering young people to be digital citizens. ‘‘Media education and the development of critical thinking have become major issues in education. It is the mission of our education systems to educate each student to become a citizen’’, reminded Florence Robine, Director General of School Education at the French Ministry of Education.
Key topics such as how to increase the digital skills of teachers and learners, support the safe and responsible use of the internet, and combat online hate speech and radicalisation, were addressed by experts and stakeholders, on the stage and in the audience. European Schoolnet’s Ministry of Education members from across Europe gave an overview of the national digital citizenship policies and programmes in place in their countries encouraging peer learning. The voices of European policy making as well as teachers and youths were also represented in dedicated roundtables.
Marc Durando, Executive Director of European Schoolnet, closed the conference by reflecting on how European Schoolnet can positively contribute to advancing digital citizenship through education: ‘‘We commit to take on board the main outcomes and lessons learned from this conference and will consider establishing a European Schoolnet Digital Citizenship Working Group allowing Ministries of Education across Europe to exchange views, expertise and best practices in this important area. Moreover, to reach out to practitioners directly, we will also leverage the potential offered by our European Schoolnet Academy by offering innovative courses to teachers in 2017, responding to the Digital Citizenship issues raised during this conference’’.
European Schoolnet’s EMINENT 2016 conference succeeded in giving us all food for thought on how to shape the personal and professional future of a connected generation.