EU Addresses IT Training Crisis; Trailing U.S. In Skills

In a bid to close the information technology (IT) gap with the U.S., future workers in the 15-nation European Union (EU) will be encouraged to become computer literate over the next four years. The proposal provides for all schools to be linked to the Internet by the end of 2001, and for all teachers to be trained in current technology by 2003. Internet penetration within EU is one-third of that in the U.S. According to the Union's watchdog Commission in Brussels, women make up one-quarter of EU Internet users, compared with one-half in the U.S. It forecasts that Europe could be short 1.6 million IT workers by 2002 because of the current training crisis. "An inclusive knowledge-based economy is the only route to create jobs and growth in Europe," says Anna Diamantopulu, EU Commissioner for social affairs. This wide-ranging IT literacy plan is regarded as certain to win approval from the 15 heads of government when they meet next month in Lisbon for a special summit on promoting competitiveness and the creation of jobs.

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