Digital Citizenship Education (DCE) strives to empower children through education, developing the competences they need to actively learn and participate in today’s highly digitised society.

It builds on the achievements of the Council of Europe’s longstanding programme "Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE)" and on the Reference Framework of Competences for Democratic Culture, and co-operates with other activity sectors (e.g. Internet Governance and Children’s Rights). The DCE project was approved by the Steering Committee for Educational Policy and Practice (CDPPE) at its 2015 plenary meeting and launched in March 2016 within the CoE’s 2016-2017 programme.

In the initial phase of the DCE Project the following were developed:

  • a literature review to examine in depth the concept of digital citizenship, current digital education policies and practices, and challenges facing schools;
  • a multi-stakeholder consultation to identify effective practices, resources and technologies in educational settings and map administrative and legal responsibilities for school leaders, teachers, students and parents;
  • policy guidelines to underpin the work of national authorities setting up DCE policy, and striving to improve learning strategies and better address the needs and protection of students working in open, collaborative, online environments;
  • best practices from member states on effective interactive programmes that can inform curricular development to strengthen students’ digital citizenship competences, and initial and in-service education for teachers;
  • descriptors of DCE competences and guidance for their integration in existing citizenship education curricula;
  • policy-orientated information developed in partnership with other sectors of the Council of Europe to help school authorities tackle cross-cutting contemporary educational and legal issues such as cyber-bullying (involving both students and teachers), privacy, sexting, excessive digital use, student-teacher social media interactions, safety, freedom of expression and human rights.

Following the initial phase of the DCE project, an ad hoc group (DCE Expert Group) of experts working in internet governance, children’s rights and education was set up. The Group conducted the literature review and multi-stakeholder consultation mentioned here-above at the request of the Secretariat. Based on the results, the Group has been working since 2018 in the creation of numerous tools, resources, and publications addressing policy makers, parents with their children, and educators, with the aim to empower them in promoting DCE at home, in school, and in the society in general.