Digital skills should be core subject: report

Schools should place equal importance on digital skills as they do literacy and numeracy, according to the House of Lords digital skills committee.

The committee have published a report: “Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future” which recommends several changes to the education system to bridge the digital skills gap.

The committee is calling for a raft of changes, including:

  • making digital literacy a core subject at school, alongside English and Maths;
  • viewing the internet as important as a utility, accessible to all;
  • putting a single “Digital Agenda” at the heart of Government.

It is estimated that currently 9.5 million citizens lack the “minimum level of digital skills” and the report highlights a current lack of support for teachers, who may not currently have the skills themselves to deliver an effective digital curriculum.

Baroness Morgan, chair of the Lords digital skills committee, also the former chair of Ofsted, said “while we welcome the introduction of the computing curriculum, we are concerned about the ability of teachers to deliver it”.

The committee stressed that with 35% of all UK jobs set to be automated over the next 20 years, the development of a universal core of digital skills is essential.

Baroness Morgan stated, “our overwhelming recommendation is that the incoming government creates a digital agenda, with the goal of securing the UK’s place as a leading digital economy within the next five years.”

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