Desi report, Italy ranks 18th in Europe for digital innovation at school: do teachers prefer blackboard and chalk?

Italy, unfortunately, as shown by the recent reports of the European Commission, it does not boast an up-to-date and cutting-edge school system in terms of technology and the welfare for teachers and school staff. Despite the wide range of free access, open source tools available on the market, even of complex caliber, it seems that the teaching staff, also due to a strategic lack of resources and dedicated training towards a change of approach to digital teachingstill prefer to use blackboard and chalk.

Despite the rhetoric of Digital School part of the reform of the Buona Scuola by the Renzi executive, with all the necessary investments, all the good intentions found themselves face to face with a very different reality, made up of obsolete structures, anachronistic approaches and various malfunctions. When the health emergency arrived, Italy found itself unprepared for the DAD, having to resort to the use of private platforms rather than developing an in-house portal.

Desi report, small steps bear fruit: Italy in 18th place in Europe

Since Gelmini reform it was considered essential, even outside the classrooms dedicated to teaching graphics and computer science, one quality and stable internet connection. The tenders and the few funds allocated made it impossible for this initiative to materialize, leaving entire institutes isolated and out of an already very slow technical-digital progress in the sector.

At present, according to the latest DESI report – Digital Economy and Society Index –, Italy ranks 18th at European level for digital and technological innovation in the classroom. Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden remain the most advanced and virtuous realities. However, these countries also face shortcomings in key areas: adoption of advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence and big data remains below 30% and very far from the goal of 75% of the digital decade of 2030; the report argues that it is a general skills shortage that slows overall progress and promotes it digital exclusion.

A Old World: limited basic skills in computer science. Hello Estonia and Finland

Only 54% of Europeans aged 16-74 have at least basic digital skills acquired through courses, at school or self-taught. The EU digital decade target is at least 80% by 2030. Furthermore, although 500,000 ICT specialists entered the labor market between 2020 and 2021, the EU’s 9 million ICT specialists are well below of the EU target of 20 million specialists by 2030 and are not enough to address the skills shortages businesses currently face.

During 2020, more than half of EU companies (55%) reported difficulties filling ICT specialist vacancies. A shining example comes fromEstonia, which has successfully escaped the negative report that takes a very worrying snapshot of the continent and its digitization: network coverage is 99%, all activities, including those involving interaction with the Public Administration, can be carried out online -line, even at school. The same is true in Finland, dove the Ambassador to Italy Pia Rantala-Engberg, already in 2019, had declared to the local press that: “In our system, the ability to read and write is accompanied by first-rate digital literacy. Not only that: there is a guarantee of equality and inclusion. But, I stress, we have many, many challenges still to be overcome”.

Desi report, Italy ranks 18th in Europe for digital innovation at school: do teachers prefer blackboard and chalk?