Digital literacy is an essential skill in the modern office, where the work is often entirely done on computers. At the same time, the “war for talent” requires policymakers to rethink education in a way that will meet the changing demands of the job market.
According to the European Commission, Belgian workers are confident that their current ICT skills are good enough for the labor market. Belgium is third in the ranking of EU countries, with only 7.5 percent of workers who feel their current skills are insufficient.
How can digital tools be better integrated into the classroom? For starters, technology can be used to transform the teaching of traditional subjects, from math and science to history and foreign languages. It can make teaching more interactive and more personalized. The introduction of technology in the classroom is also important to address the chronic shortage of skilled workers in the ICT sector, which almost stands as a paradox considering the explosion of consumer technology in recent years. The appropriate use of technology in the classroom can inspire young people to consider future careers in ICT.
These are two sides of the same coin: using technology for educational purposes and attracting young people to ICT or other technological careers through education.
In order to maintain an educational system which ranks among the best in the world, Belgium is stepping up its game. Flanders, in particular, is considered a frontrunner when it comes to ICT in education. By some estimates, up to 70 percent of Flemish schools are already using a digital platform called “Smartschool”.
AmCham Belgium’s position
AmCham Belgium welcomes the initiatives taken by Belgian policy makers to develop and maintain excellent educational standards. It is convinced a competitive economy is based upon a strong knowledge base, and especially the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills of its participants. The promotion of R&D and innovation is extremely important, not only in education but also in companies. To read more on AmCham’s position on matching education and competitiveness, see our focus article in AmCham Connect, September 2012 issue.