Main action lines
To address the challenges outlined above and the targets identified in Figure 2, the Portugal INCoDe.2030 initiative has proposed a wide range of measures involving the various governmental areas. These measures should be implemented alongside the private sector, academia and civil society initiatives with similar aims. The measures are structured around five main action lines.
Making sure the whole population has equal access to digital technologies to obtain information, communicate, and interact with others.
In view of the increasing digitisation of the world today - from education to industry, from entertainment to social life, from cities to farms, from medicine to the environment - it is essential that everyone has the skills, competencies and means to use and benefit from digital technologies to participate in a networked society.
To accomplish this objective, initiatives and digital inclusion programmes must be designed and implemented that are flexible enough to address different needs and capable of overcoming several obstacles and limitations: citizens who have already left formal education and are not exposed to vocational training, the unemployed, youths at risk, migrants and minorities, the elderly, people with special needs, etc. Thus, to ensure a level of social justice and cohesion that can lead to balanced and sustainable development and properly prepare the population for the future, it is essential to raise the people’s awareness of the importance of digital competencies, and to create centres where citizens have access to resources, contents, mentoring and training aligned with the Digital Competence Framework. This shall be accomplished through networking communities and collaborative work with stakeholders, taking into account inequalities that remain, specifically, among different regions in Portugal.
Educating the younger population by stimulating and reinforcing digital literacy and digital skills at all levels of schooling and as part of lifelong learning.
Digital technology is changing the way people work, interact and learn. Education must therefore support all students to learn with, through and about digital technologies, developing skills that go beyond their simple use.
This involves developing scientific reasoning, collaborative work and design capabilities, and even, in many cases, computing skills, fostering the Students’ Skills Profile by the End of Compulsory Schooling.
It is therefore essential that the new generation is equipped with these skills through permanent and coordinated education and vocational training systems. This task includes reviewing programme contents and teaching processes, developing digital didactic and educational resources, promoting teachers’ pre-service and inservice training, and ensuring lifelong training. In order to achieve these objectives, it is essential to fully integrate digital skills and resources into the teaching methodologies and to make sure an adequate technological infrastructure is in place.
Qualifying the working population by providing them with the knowledge they need to become a part of a labour market that relies heavily on digital skills.
The need for ICT skills in the labour market has been growing sharply, and despite the high unemployment levels, particularly among the young, the response to these needs has been insufficient. The disparity between the needs of the labour market and the availability of qualified professionals requires a multi-dimensional intervention to reinforce ICT training, particularly to meet the demanding challenges of the progressive digitisation of almost everything, from services to industry, agriculture, health services, the environment, etc.
Thus, in the immediate future, it is a priority to train intermediate-level technicians in well-defined areas, aimed at specific economic sectors. These sectors must be involved in the process, through networks, providing internships, participating in content definition, and creating spaces for joint/ collaborative training.
At the same time, professional retraining in digital skills should not be neglected, both for STEM graduates in areas with higher unemployment, and for teachers and educators of subjects where there is an oversupply.
Promoting specialisation in digital technologies and applications to improve employability and create higher added value in the economy.
The demand for professionals with digital skills is, today, a reality in the EU, in every economic sector, such as health, agriculture, fishing, industry, energy, cities, mobility and transport, environment and water resource management, public security and defence, construction, tourism and creative industries, retail and distribution, banking and insurance, education and training, among others.
In this context, it is important to increase the offer of Computing and ICT in higher education at all levels, from short cycle degrees/diplomas (TeSP) to 1st and 2nd Bologna cycles as well as post-graduate programmes, fostering the cooperation between Higher Education Institutions, research units and companies in terms of the design and development of degrees, while enhancing active learning methodologies that include project-based learning, on-the-job training and internships.
Providing the conditions for the production of new knowledge and an active participation in international R&D networks and programmes.
The resilience of our society and the competitiveness of our economy need to be strengthened not only through the production of new knowledge, but also by implementing this knowledge to bring benefits to the society and economy, particularly in areas involving advanced digital skills, such as handling and analysing big data, computational biology and bioinformatics, photonics, advanced and cognitive computing, cognitive machine learning, cybersecurity, and cyberphysical systems.
Furthermore, it is important to promote widespread access to scientific information, to enhance the cooperation between laboratories based on an advanced scientific computing network, and to foster international collaboration with leading research institutions, namely by maintaining the current programmes with US universities and extending them to other universities and other countries.