What is Digital Literacy and why does it Matter?

Digital skills are a universe of technological abilities, ranging from basic ones such as the use of computers to the most specific and advanced ones such as software development for artificial intelligence. They are not a closed box; they change constantly with the evolution of technologies and will also change with the passage of time, because those that today are considered ‘digital literacy’, once universally acquired, will be taken for granted.

First of all digital skills and digital skills literally mean the same thing:

The European Union has tried to give a standard definition describing them as “basic skills in information and communication technologies: the use of computers to find, evaluate, store, produce, present and exchange information as well as to communicate and participate in collaborative networks via the Internet “.

Translated: knowing how to turn on the computer and use it to create a document, use the email program, go on the Internet and do a search on Google; knowing how to compare results, knowing how to download and send a document; know how to use social networks but also other collaborative tools, such as sharing and working on a document on Google Drive.

This definition is correct and all-encompassing, but certainly today it is not sufficient to represent the theme of ‘digital skills’ as it was felt in the world of work.



Basic digital skills allow us to be digital citizens; we talk about digital literacy in this regard. Basic skills include hardware (such as keyboard use and touch screen use), software (such as text creation, file management on laptops, privacy management on mobile phones), and basic online operations (eg e-mail management, search). Basic skills enrich our lives, allowing us to interact with others and access government, commercial and financial services.


The intermediate skills allow us to use digital technologies in an even more significant and beneficial, including the ability to critically evaluate the technology or to create content. These are the skills we need in any workplace, as they include the skills necessary to perform functions related to work, such as content publishing, digital graphics and digital marketing. For the most part, these skills are generic, in the sense that their mastery prepares individuals for a wide range of activities and professions. However, these skills are not carved in stone. In fact, one of the characteristics of intermediate skills, in particular, is that they become easily obsolete or expand to take account of technological changes. For example, data skills occupy a more important place as the data revolution intensifies, generating a demand for skills needed to produce, analyze,


The advanced skills are those required by specialists in the ICT professions, such as computer programming and IT systems management. Globally, there will be tens of millions of jobs that will require advanced digital skills in the following areas in the coming years: artificial intelligence (AI), big data, coding, cyber security, internet of things, and development of mobile applications.  Advanced skills are typically acquired through advanced formal education, but there are also other training paths. Russell Hazard is passionate about contributing to improvements in education both at the grassroots school level and at the level of international policy. Russell Hazard Beijing also works to build international partnerships across sectors such as public/private education, NGOs, and international educational organizations to enhance discourse in ESD and GCED and improve impact on the ground internationally.