All around the world, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has had educational and training institutions closing, recruitment processes coming to a halt, and more – UNESCO is reporting that about 70 per cent of the world's learners are affected by school closures. This unprecedented situation is negatively impacting the range of opportunities young people have access to in terms of education, training, employment, and entrepreneurship for the foreseeable future.
For this reason, the 2020 edition of WYSD is dedicated to the theme of "Skills for a resilient youth" and will strive to raise awareness of the need to equip young people "with the skills to successfully manage evolving challenges and the resilience to adapt to future disruption".
However, rising youth unemployment was already a concern before the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, the rate of youth not in employment, education or training (NEET) has been on the rise since 2017; in 2020, nearly 1 in 5 young people (22.5 per cent) are NEET, and this proportion is expected to continue growing in 2021.
By striving to provide all young Europeans with the digital and media literacy skills they need to make the most of the opportunities offered in the digital economy and society while mitigating potential adverse effects, the Insafe network of European Safer Internet Centres (SICs) aims to facilitate the continuation of education, training and employment through digital means, while at the same time laying the foundations enabling children and young people to acquire a range of advanced digital skills that will prove critical in the near future.