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Experts call for rise in digital technology literacy

MORE people need to be taught to use cutting-edge digital technologies such as smartphones and tablet computers, a new report says.

The Scottish Government paper on adult learning's future says digital literacy is a priority alongside basic skills such as numeracy.

It says: "Adults in Scotland will be empowered and supported … to develop their digital literacy to participate in digital civic society."

The paper comes weeks after research found many Scottish communities missing out on the digital world.

Researchers from the Royal Society of Edinburgh found uptake of digital technologies in Scotland differed significantly with socio-economic, demographic and geographical factors.

As a result people from marginalised communities - the poor, old and isolated - are denied opportunities offered by a digital society.

Around 1.3m people in Scotland lack basic information literacy and digital skills, and it will cost at least £100 million to put that right.

The paper contains no details on how to deliver improvements, and raises questions over cuts in funds to further education colleges that are well suited to teaching adults digital literacy.

Alan Armstrong of curriculum body Education Scotland said: "We support learning providers to think about how they can involve adults in using digital technology more. Where we find good practice we share this across Scotland."

Education Secretary Michael Russell said a task group would be set up to draw up a "strategic implementation plan" by autumn this year. He said: "By publishing this statement we are sending out a clear message that education is not just about going to school and gaining your awards."

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