European Commission laments education sector's lack of ICT skills

Many teachers are ill-equipped to teach students IT-related subjects, according to a survey by the European Commission.

The study featured 190,000 responses from 27 European countries and concluded that access to skilled and confident ICT teachers is more important than being able to use the latest equipment.

However, across the countries surveyed, teacher training in ICT is rarely compulsory, meaning many teachers have to use their spare time to develop these skills.

Its findings also suggest that, while the number of computers in schools has doubled since 2006, 20 per cent of secondary-level students claim to have never (or almost never) used a computer in their school lessons.

Therefore, the report calls for greater investment in teacher training, rewards for teachers that use ICT in the classroom and the creation of new co-ordinator job roles.

Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice president for the Digital Agenda, said more should be done to give all children access to proper ICT training.

"ICT skills and training must be available to all students and teachers, not just a lucky few. We want our young people exposed to ICT in school from the very beginning, and we want teacher who are confident to share their knowledge," added Kroes.

Meanwhile, Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, set out the economic benefits of investing in ICT education.

"We need to invest more in the development and use of ICTs in schools. Europe will only resume sustained growth by producing highly skilled ICT graduates and workers who can contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship," Vassiliou added.