Young New Zealanders must not be left behind in acquiring digital literacy skills.
Digital capability is a key issue for jobs and the economy, as mentioned in the Education & Science Select Committee’s Inquiry into 21st century learning environments and digital literacy,
Recognising that the school system has to do more to ensure that all students have the digital literacy skills needed to succeed, and investigating the changes required to ensure more young people become digitally competent are valuable outcomes of this inquiry.
Digital literacy skills, along with numeracy, literacy, problem solving, collaboration, and critical thinking skills, are fundamental building blocks for employment.
ICT skills are in demand and provide people with these skills with good careers.
Development of ICT and science education requires particular attention to ensure that our future workforce is able to meet the needs of internationally competitive businesses.
It is critical that action is taken and that there is focus on those recommendations that will ensure that our future workforce has the skills to compete in the global economy.
The Committee’s recommendations in this important area show a welcome measure of cross-party support.
Skills for competitiveness
A competitive economy depends on many factors, and the Government’s business growth agenda is systematically addressing the key ones to boost New Zealand’s competitiveness.
A more competitive economy is less likely to suffer from problems with growth, exchange rates or unemployment.
The Report, ‘Building Skilled and Safe Workplace,’ outlines progress being made in the ‘people’ factors that contribute to competitiveness, including in-demand skills, productivity and workplace safety.
Progress in lifting education achievement, targeting qualifications in needed areas such as engineering and IT, helping people move from benefits into work, reviewing workplace safety, attracting skilled migrants and introducing systems for better skills matching is welcome, Mr O’Reilly said.
The business community has been asking for better skills policies along with better policies to support exports, innovation and other factors necessary for a competitive economy. The scope of change that is required for higher competitiveness is huge and much more needs to be done, but this report gives some reassurance that the Government is beginning to make progress in essential areas.
Phil O’Reilly is Chief Executive of BusinessNZ based in Wellington. The above are extracts from two different press statements. He was the guest speaker at the Indian Newslink Sir Anand Satyanand Lecture 2012 held at the Stamford Plaza Hotel on July 30, 2012. Website: www.businessnz.org.nz