Brussels, 11 October 2022
Today, the Commission published Guidelines for teachers and educators in primary and secondary schools, on how to address disinformation and promote digital literacy in their classrooms. The guidelines provide practical support for teachers and educators and include definitions of technical concepts, class-exercises and how to encourage healthy online habits. This toolkit covers three main topics: building digital literacy, tackling disinformation, and assessing and evaluating digital literacy.
Currently in Europe, one in three 13-year-olds students lack basic digital skills when directly tested, and according to the OECD, only a little over half of 15-year-olds in the EU reported being taught how to detect whether information is subjective or biased. There is consequently a clear need to strengthen the role of education and training in tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy as well as media literacy. It will increase resiliency and the possibility to fight the impact of online disinformation more effectively.
Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said:
“These Guidelines are a hands-on toolkit for teachers and educators. They will give teachers the knowledge and tools they need to teach our youth how to navigate the digital world. Even a teacher with no or little prior experience in digital education will now be able to effectively explain to pupils how to spot disinformation. I am convinced that these Guidelines will make a difference for many.”
Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, added: “Teachers and educators are some of the most important role models for young people and it’s critical they’re trained to help them distinguish what is news and what is disinformation. With these new Guidelines and the new Better Internet for Kids strategy, we aim to make it easier to foster digital literacy skills from an early age throughout schools in Europe.”
The Guidelines presented today were developed with the support of the Commission expert group on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy through education and training bringing together a wide range of practice from the world of education and training, broadcast, academia, social media, and journalism. On the same occasion, the expert group also published a report, which analyses the role of education and training in tackling disinformation and presents possible solutions through policy at EU and national level.
The Commission will further invest in this cause through the 2023 Erasmus+ Annual Work Programme, which will provide funding for large-scale forward-looking projects with a focus on teacher training and curriculum development in tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy.
The Commission will also use the new guidelines for actions to support teachers under the new European strategy for a better internet for kids (BIK+).
The Guidelines are part of the Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) and the European Democracy Action Plan. They will contribute to achieving the European Education Area by 2025. They further complement the work that the European Commission is already undertaking to address disinformation through its Erasmus+ Programme, European Solidarity Corps and eTwinning.
The role of media literacy in the fight against disinformation is supported under the Creative Europe programme and via the European Commission supported European Digital Media Observatory and its regional hubs.
In order to support the development of the Guidelines, the Commission launched an informal expert group on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy through education and training. A call for experts to join the group was published on 31 May and closed on 29 June.
The final report of the expert group provides insights on the key role education and training play in equipping young people with the competences needed for today’s digital world, including when it comes to tackling disinformation, while stressing the main challenges and potential solutions in this complex and dynamic field. It refers to existing policy at EU level and international initiatives, stressing the added value on building on existing work. The report puts forward four main dimensions of tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy through education and training as concerns the technological and psychological nature of disinformation; key dimensions of digital literacy, teachers, and educators needs; and, lastly, effective approaches adopted across Member States.
For More Information
Guidelines for teachers and educators on tackling disinformation and promoting digital literacy through education and training – translations into all EU official languages will follow in due time