Mr Dimitrov opened the consultation by providing stakeholders with a general introduction on the Digital Education Hub. In this regard, he reminded participants of the two main long-term objectives of the Hub: “To foster a high-performing digital education ecosystem” and “To enhance digital skills and competences for the digital age”. Furthermore, Mr Dimitrov emphasized that the Digital Education Hub was not brought into being solely due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, it was set up as a continuum of the first Digital Action Plan (2018 – 2020). Mr Dimitrov further stressed that the Hub plays a crucial role with regards to the recovery of European economies and societies. Subsequently, Ms Anusca Ferrari took the floor, outlining the structure of the consultation to participants. In general, the consultation was divided into two breakout sessions with seven breakout groups respectively.
During the first breakout session, participants reflected on the following question: What should the Hub focus on in the first two years? In this regard, the majority of participants noted that the Hub should map already existing best practices through research and collection of data in order to enable a clear identification of challenges and existing issues. In this regard, the Digital Education Hackathon as well as the GitHub were mentioned as examples. Furthermore, from the onset, the Hub should ensure inclusiveness and diversity with regards to its participating audience. In this regard, cross-sectoral collaboration was mentioned as an important feature.
Focal point of the second breakout session was the discussion of how participants envision the community framed by the Hub cooperating. Against the backdrop of this question, the majority of participants noted that the diversity of stakeholders in the field of digital education brings about a significant asset to the community in the sense that different experiences and expertise are brought together. However, at the same time, this diversification is also bound with challenges for the operating of the Hub. Regarding tackling these challenges, participants considered it as essential to divide participants into thematic groups by considering their background expertise. At the same time, however, the possibility for cooperation beyond these groups should be provided in order to ensure coherence in thinking and action across sectors. In this regard, consulted stakeholders, furthermore, considered it as essential to clearly define the final objective as well as the end target user audience of the Hub from the very start in order to ensure clarity in thinking and actions.
The consultation was closed with Georgi Dimitrov inviting participants to stay updated on developments related to the Hub by subscribing to EUDigitalEducation on Twitter. Further, Mr Dimitrov announced that two consultations on the Hub will follow in the course of the second quarter of this year. As a follow-up to this first consultation meeting, EFEE agreed with Mr Dimitrov to send its contribution to DG EAC in short.
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