On September 30, 2020 the European Commission (EC) launched the 'Digital Education Action Plan 2021 - 2027' (DEAP), subtitled "Resetting Education and Training for the Digital Age'. link The DEAP has two main priorities:
To achieve these objectives the DEAP proposes concrete actions ranging from updating the European Digital Competence Framework to the development of ethics standards for AI and the use of data.
One of the key priorities of the DEAP is to increase women's participation in STEM in cooperation with the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). The DEAP proposes to support the EU STEM Coalition in exploring ways and means to make the STEM fields more attractive to women based on the STEAM approach in order "to increase both the gender balance of students and academia staff and the pool of skills and competences in this highly needed area." (see p. 15). The Commission staff working document DEAP explains the background of this objective:
"Bridging the gender digital skills gap was considered as going hand in hand with promoting digital competences. The issue was strongly highlighted during the exchange with Members States attaché(e)s and MEPs, and identified as a priority area by a quarter of the consulted umbrella organisations, mostly education employers, non-formal sector and business. In particular, private sector called for measures to attract more women in STEM studies and careers through synergies with the EU STEM Coalition. Reinforced activities, engaging both formal and non-formal sector, together with dedicated cross-country exchanges to promote exchange of practices were seen as valuable by some Ministries." (see p. 88) link
In parallel to the DEAP the EC also published the "Communication on Achieving the Euroepan Education Area by 2025". link Once again the importance of the STEAM approach (and future cooperation with the EU STEM Coalition and EIT) was highlighted as a means to make STEM and IT subjects and careers more attractive to women.
More information and the full text of the communications can be found via the link above and on the European Commission's website.
The Communication on the European Education Area outlines how cooperation can further enrich the quality, inclusiveness and digital and green dimension of Member State education systems. It shows how together, Member States can shape a European Education Area based on freedom for learners and teachers to learn and work across the continent and for institutions to freely associate with one another in Europe and beyond.
The EU STEM Coalition was included in the objectives of the Communication. For more information and the full text, please see the link above.