Digital Literacy

Importance of Digital Literacy

It is important to recognize an important component of literacy, i.e. digital literacy. “Digital literacy is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. It can be categorized  into three buckets: (1) Finding and consuming digital content; (2) creating digital content; (3) communicating or sharing. India’s National Digital Literacy Mission trains people to operate digital devices, and to access the government’s e-governance services at its basic levels. Each of these renders a different operational plan, and clarity is required for progress.

Digital Literacy remains a concern in India. As per a report from the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2018, around 90% of India’s population is digitally illiterate. While India is experiencing a digital revolution that may allow us to move ahead in terms of economic growth and development, we also run the risking of creating a new class of digitally-poor citizens. Digital Poverty has been defined as a new concept of poverty, meaning the inability to access and benefit from information and communications technology services due to a lack of access, and a lack of skills required to access these services.

Digital literacy is important for people to be able to access the current internet facilities in India, as well as to drive demand for the creation of more infrastructure. The Telecom Consumers Protection (Tenth Amendment) Regulations, released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India in 2016 acknowledged that lack of digital literacy has led to a lack of adoption of wireless internet in India.

The Need for Digital Literacy

With over 460 million internet users, India is the second largest online market ranked only behind China. By 2021, there will be about 700 million internet users in the country. With such a huge internet penetration, Digital literacy has become the core part of almost everyone. Since most of the people search for information, watch entertainment, buy products, claim benefits and also access a number of public s Despite facing a fourth industrial revolution and strong penetration of internet backed by technological advancement, several countries including India have currently failing to prepare pupils, people for a new breed of workplace or environment. What’s more, there is a rise in sad, aggressive behaviour and anxious children emerging with increasing trend of childhood internet usage, which is very worrying. According to a recent report by a social organisation, teaching students how to cope up and survive in digital is now as important as reading, speaking and writing. While it has the potential to deliver important value, the digital world also comes with in-built risks; particularly for young children.

Digital Literacy for common people

Most of the people think that digital literacy involves complex technical capabilities such as coding and programming and involves structural knowledge and skills. But it’s actually a small skill set which is essential for access and gaining information. Digital literacy for the public includes a small range of skills and it varies according to the day-to-day responsibilities. Skills differ for a normal worker to financial consultant. Within the next five years, it is predicted 90 per cent of the workforce will require at least common computer working skills, such as browsing the internet, using email or company software within 2 years. Over 50- 60 per cent must have the ability to use or configure and even create digital systems.

Digital Literacy in Rural India

Digital literacy remains a concern as most Indian women have never used the Internet. The states and UTs where less than 40 per cent women have used the internet are Andhra Pradesh (21 per cent), Assam (28.2 per cent), Bihar (20.6 per cent), Gujarat (30.8 per cent), Karnataka (35 per cent), Maharashtra (38 per cent), Meghalaya (34.7 per cent), Telangana (26.5 per cent), Tripura (22.9 per cent), West Bengal (25.5 per cent), Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (36.7 per cent) and Andaman & Nicobar Islands (34.8 per cent), the survey revealed.

In comparison, more percentage of men have used the internet. About 50 per cent men have used the internet in seven states — Andhra Pradesh (48.8 per cent), Assam (42.3 per cent), Bihar (43.6 per cent), Meghalaya (42.1 per cent), Tripura (45.7 per cent), West Bengal (46.7 per cent), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (46.5 per cent), according to the data.

Constraints of digital literacy in rural India: Only 21.3% of students have access to computers. Inadequate technical means are the first and a major block in overcoming the digital divide in India. This is seen by India’s low internet penetration with only 22% of the owners using mobiles to access social media in comparison to the world average of 75%. The numbers become even more problematic when comparing urban to rural penetration of the internet. The consumption of the internet, though on the rise, is still primarily an urban phenomenon. In December 2017, internet penetration in urban India was at 64.84% vs. 20.26% in rural India (Gordon, 2018).

Our Programme to Promote Digital Literacy

“Digital Axom Foundation” will design special training programmes to educate Woman & Girls on Digital Technologies. Women need training to become digitally literate. Digital literacy training opens the door to other essential skills needed to operate in a broadband environment, including financial literacy skills, as well as career training and ICT-enabled career training. Such training enables women to set up online businesses, or to use broadband services, such as social networking sites, to enhance their ongoing livelihood and economic activity.