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New literacy strategy must put stronger emphasis on digital literacy – Naughton

The new Literacy and Numeracy strategy due to be updated at the end of 2020 must include a heavy emphasis on digital literacy as the digitalisation of work and education continues apace, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Hildegarde Naughton, TD for Galway West and a member of the Oireachtas Education Committee, said, “As Ireland prepares for the future of work with Future Jobs Ireland, the all-of-Government plan to prepare for the increasing digitalisation of work, we must ensure that our digital literacy is at the highest possible level.

“With the advent of Artificial Intelligence and other technology set to radically alter how we work, we must put our best foot forward when it comes to preparing ourselves.

“The current literacy and numeracy strategy has been a great success in improving literacy rates among our young people and it is due to be updated at the end of 2020.

“I believe we must place a stronger emphasis on digital literacy in the new strategy. Skills such as coding and other digital skills will become increasingly necessary in the future and it is vital that we prepare our young people for this.

“Our learners need to be given a strong foothold so that they are prepared for entering the world of work and further education, as well as being prepared for upskilling throughout their careers,” she added.

Deputy Naughton continued, “Fine Gael in Government has shown that we are not complacent about the strengthened position of the economy and with Future Jobs Ireland we are determined to future proof our economy and ensure that we protect the progress we have made.

“In this fast changing world technology is changing how we work, learn and do business. This will bring challenges, as well as opportunities and we need to ensure we are ready to be resilient in the face of challenges and agile enough to grasp those opportunities.

“This involves upskilling our current workforce but also ensuring that the next generation is well prepared and well equipped to thrive in a changed world of work.

“My colleague Minister Richard Bruton has also introduced significant legislation that will transform how we deal with the issue of our children’s safety online. The Online Safety Act will ensure that parents and children are better equipped, that the state can provide regulation and enforcement, including the power to take down harmful content, and that online platforms take responsibility.

“This is a welcome development that I look forward to see progressing this year.” Deputy Naughton concluded.

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