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Exploring Romania’s Digital Gap - What is Under the Water, If this is Only the Tip of the Iceberg?


Fully committed to a digital future and actively engaged in the transition to a digital economy, the European Union has issued (in March 2021) “2030 Digital Compass: the European way for the Digital Decade’. While setting the EU’s digital ambitions on Skills, Business, Infrastructures, and Public services, the Digital Compass also envisions an enhanced DESI” (Digital Economy and Society Index) to become an official and concerted instrument for monitoring the EU’s progress towards the stated targets. As regards Romania’s digital transformation path (and speed), its persistent lack of DESI performance compared to the EU average raised the question of whether there is something more / deeper that needs be identified, assessed, and properly managed to make Romania fit for the digital age (in general) and to Digital Europe (in particular). Therefore, the paper aims to explore Romania’s digital gap both top-down (via DESI lenses) and bottom-up (up to the “key competences and basic skills” evaluated by PISA, the OECD’s periodic assessment on student performance) - in search of DESI’s (deeper / hidden) determinants / causes needing to be addressed - due to their capacity to impact Romania’s fit for the digital age on the long run.