National qualifications review finds digital literacy should be a standard skill

The recommendation comes as part of a review into the country's qualifications framework across higher education, vocational education and training (VET), and senior secondary schools.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor on

A review into the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) has recommended that digital literacy and ethical decision making are skills that should be treated as core general capability skills required for work, much like literacy and numeracy skills.

The final report [PDF] of the review, which was chaired by Peter Noonan, calls for a revision of national qualifications across higher education, vocational education and training (VET), and senior secondary schools.

"The ongoing effect of new technology -- particularly artificial intelligence -- is transforming the world of work through its power to analyse, aggregate and disseminate information, including new knowledge. Production of goods, transportation and services, including health and the media, are in a constant state of disruption and innovation," the report said.

"Many current job roles will become redundant, particularly in areas of standardised and routine production and service delivery. But new roles are also emerging, roles that place a premium on human aptitudes and capabilities, including the ability to understand, shape, interpret and reshape the use of technology."

See also: 56% of employees lack digital skills needed for future jobs (TechRepublic)

The report also recommended that shorter form credentials -- or microcredentials -- are used for upskilling and reskilling within the education system and the workplace.

In addition, the review recommended that senior secondary students should be able to study subjects at school that count towards a vocational training qualification or university degree.

The recommendations have been welcomed by industry body Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

"We support the Government's initiative and this type of innovative thinking to address the digital skills gap," AIIA CEO Ron Gauci said.

"Promoting great fluidity and equal value between VET, higher education and schools through microcredentials will encourage students to combine digital skills with business courses and hands-on experience.

"The government is clearly listening to the industry and responding to its needs by considering reforms that will create new opportunities for Australian students."

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the government would now consider the review and respond in due course.

"This review will help Australia reshape its qualifications architecture to better serve students and meet the demands of the modern economy," he said

"Allowing students to earn qualifications across VET and higher education based on their learning requirements better reflects the value that both streams of education provide."

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