Managing tomorrow’s digital skills - what conclusions can we draw from international comparative indicators?
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While digital technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives, and political systems are mobilizing to make the most of its leverage effect on innovation and economic growth, 56% of adults lack digital skills, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). This report looks at the conditions impacting the development of digital skills of a population based on international indicators of the levels of skills amongst children and adults. It is based on five international comparative surveys, the results of which reveal a sample group of twelve countries whose population have particularly high levels of digital skills. Building on these results, this rapport seeks to answer two questions: what has enabled these States to rise to the top of the rankings in digital skills, and what can other countries to do catch up? Comparison between the different surveys confirms that the factors affecting the level of digital skills in children include: age of acculturation to information technology; nature and level of diversity of online activities; level of ICT use by teachers. Adults’ skills are more widely determined by socio-economic factors, especially the level of training, indicating a link between inequalities in training and performance in terms of digital skills. The report also shows a knock-on effect of digital skills, which can be positive or negative. Analysis of the characteristics of the best-performing countries reveals that other factors indirectly influence the development of digital skills by laying the foundations for an enabling environment: the quality of infrastructure, the level of digitization of businesses and the wealth of digital content. Consideration of public policies on education and the labour market in the countries in the sample group highlights good practices, such as monitoring the level of digital skills, integration of digital technology in the global education ecosystem (beyond ICT lessons), supporting educational reforms with proper teacher training and fighting against digital exclusion which often leads to social exclusion. This report also shows that to achieve the best conditions for the development of digital skills, public authorities must pursue efforts in two areas: policies that create a supportive framework, and sectoral policies for basic and further training. To ensure that these policies are as relevant as possible, they must be the result of collaboration between government, educational and training institutions, and businesses.