By Claire West

Digital literacy is as important as literacy and numeracy says BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The Institute warns that without digital skills fit for employment or future study, schools leavers are likely to struggle to find jobs and may end up socially excluded.

Jon Buttriss, CEO of BCS L&D Ltd, part of the Chartered Institute for IT, says: “The internet is materially embedded in all aspects of daily life and as a result there is an unprecedented requirement for people of all ages to have digital literacy skills.”

The new computing curriculum, introduced last September, consists of computer science, information technology and digital literacy and states: ‘Computing also ensures that pupils become digitally literate - able to use, and express themselves and develop their ideas through, information and communication technology - at a level suitable for the future workplace and as active participants in a digital world’.

Jon adds: “The good news is that one year on and many schools are working to meet this requirement by teaching a broad and balanced curriculum as recommended by Ofsted. Schools are making sure they teach digital literacy as much computer science; including providing qualifications in each of those areas to help their students prove their digital skills.”

“However, we still have a lot to do to ensure that digital literacy is not underestimated or taken for granted. Employers, parents, educators, and Government need to recognise that digital literacy is as an essential life skill alongside numeracy and literacy.”