June 15, 2024

EU highlights the importance of well-being in digital education

The Council has agreed on a common position on supporting well-being in digital education. The conclusions it approved today identify three factors which are instrumental in contributing to learners’ and educators’ well-being

  • acquiring the necessary knowledge, skills and competences
  • designing teaching and learning approaches and digital environments that enhance well-being
  • interpersonal relations in the digital education ecosystem

Vladimír Balaš, Czech minister of Education, Youth and Sports

Digital technologies have reshaped our approach to education and become an integral part of everyday school life. We must continue to develop the school environment in which students and teachers feel well, safe, secure and are able to recognise the risks associated with the use of digital means. It is primordial that throughout the EU we use these technologies in a way that they enhance the well-being of everyone – from pupil to teacher – involved in education and training.

Vladimír Balaš, Czech minister of Education, Youth and Sports

Opportunities and challenges

Digital education comes with both opportunities and challenges for the well-being of learners and educators. Downsides, such as cyberbullying, can negatively impact well-being. Well-designed digital education ecosystems that are effective and inclusive can promote the development of learners’ well-being and improve their educational, life and work prospects.

The response during the COVID-19 pandemic to challenges and opportunities of (emergency) distance and online teaching and learning may serve as a useful experience and lessons learned for the development of well-being approaches in digital education.

Digital divide

Ministers also recognise that the digital divide poses a threat to well-being in digital education and training and risks reinforcing existing inequalities and creating new ones. A pre-COVID-19 survey from 2019 shows that a quarter of low-income households have no access to computers and broadband. School systems should therefore tackle the problem of insufficient access, inadequate equipment or unsatisfactory learning conditions.

What member states can do

The conclusions call on member states to strengthen learners’ and educators’ well-being when designing national policies and strategies in digital education and to enhance their awareness of the need to balance on-screen and off-screen time well. Member states should also support schools in developing appropriate time management as regards digital and face-to-face teaching and learning activities.

Other actions recommended at national level include supporting learners’ awareness of the potential threats in the digital world and the development of their resilience in order to reduce the risks and offering safe online opportunities for young people.

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