In this tech-driven era, an understanding of technology is no longer an option but a necessity to succeed today and in the future of work.
There is a growing awareness that school-going children must understand how to use technology effectively; they will be entering the workforce at a time where there will be fewer jobs that do not require digital skills.
According to Unesco, digital skills are “a range of abilities to use digital devices, communication applications and networks to access and manage information. They enable people to create and share digital content, communicate and collaborate, and solve problems for effective and creative self-fulfillment in life, learning, work and social activities at large.”
They note that entry-level digital skills are basic functional use of digital devices and online applications; the advanced spectrum of digital skills include higher-level abilities that allow users to make use of digital technologies in empowering and transformative ways such as professions in ICT.
As digital literacy enables students to navigate the digital world productively, is enough being done to equip them with digital skills for lifelong success?
Norway to bolster its digital skills in schools
There are promising efforts being done to improve digital skills among youths in some parts of the world; the European Commission recognises the importance of digital skills in its published New Skills Agenda for Europe.
Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen aims to update the Digital Education Action Plan to increase access to digital literacy for young people and reskilling adults, such as by increasing the use of MOOCs (massively open online courses) in the area of digital skills to “get Europe up to speed,” reported TechCrunch.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian government is stepping up its efforts to equip its primary and secondary school students with digital skills to succeed in our tech-driven era.
According to a report in the telecompaper, under a curriculum renewal, natural science will be made a more exploratory and practical subject at primary school, with a distinct technology element that includes programming.
The government aims to give digital skills more prominence at school and encourage adults to keep training throughout their lives.
Programming will also be introduced to more subjects, with computational thinking brought into mathematics. The new curriculum will come into effect this year.
The government also recently released its National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence report that serve as a framework for both public and private entities seeking to develop and use AI.
“To help enterprises meet new skill needs that arise, the government has established a range of schemes to support further education programmes. Several digital skills schemes have already been established by cooperation between universities, university colleges or tertiary vocational colleges and the labour market,” it said.