The European Commission has published a bleak report into the state of IT education across Europe, with a fifth of secondary students not using computers in class.
According to the EC study, just one in four nine-year olds study at schools with fast broadband and virtual learning environments.
The situation is little better at secondary level, where only half of students attend so-called 'highly digitally-equipped' schools. The EC also reported 20 percent of secondary pupils never or almost never use computers in lessons.
“ICT skills and training must be available to all students and teachers, not just a lucky few,” Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president for the Digital Agenda.
“We want our young people exposed to ICTs in school from the very beginning, and we want teachers who are confident to share their knowledge.”
The study also highlighted most teachers have not received formal IT training and were largely self-taught.
"We need to invest more in the development and use of ICTs in schools,” said Androulla Vassiliou, commissioner for education.
“Europe will only resume sustained growth by producing highly skilled ICT graduates and workers who can contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship."
Children in Scandinavian and Nordic countries have the best IT equipment according to the EC, while students in Poland, Romania, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Slovakia are most likely to lack the right equipment.
Access to basic equipment is regarded by the EC as an essential ingredient for future prosperity, with basic IT skills required at all levels of the jobs market.
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