European Parliament urges for closing digital gap in education

By Li JizhiUnreguser

BRUSSELS, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution addressing the digital gap in European education, a concern that has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopted by 593 votes in favor, 58 against and 36 abstentions, the resolution calls for better access to digital education during the new normal, especially in remote and rural areas, and better digital training for teachers.

The pandemic that led to the closure of schools in spring has made digital education a reality for many. However, 32 percent of pupils in some European Union (EU) member states did not have any access to education for several months, according to a press release from the parliament.

The lawmakers have been worried that this could lead to the lack of education for a whole generation, threatening the future of the EU in terms of competitiveness and labor productivity.

Underlining the unpreparedness of many member states when facing the second wave of COVID-19, MEP Victor Negrescu deplored the proposed cuts in the budget for education and research, and demanded the budget of the program Erasmus+ to be tripled. Erasmus+ is a program of the EU to support education, training, youth and sport in Europe.

Negrescu, from the social democratic group, made the remarks when speaking on behalf of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education in the plenary debate ahead of the vote on Thursday.

During the crisis in spring, even in the world's most developed countries, about 10 percent of school pupils were left without access to digital education. Fewer than 25 percent of low-income countries have provided some form of remote learning, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

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