Opposition Spokesman on Finance, Julian Robinson, is suggesting the implementation of a national Digital Literacy Programme, so that even more citizens can participate in the digital economy to which the country aspires.
“In the digital economy, data has become the new source of wealth. Data Literacy – the ability to collect, organise, manage, evaluate and apply data to various businesses and activities – is rapidly becoming an essential in-demand employability skill,” Mr. Robinson said.
He was making his contribution to the 2021/22 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on Thursday (March 11).
Mr. Robinson further noted that in this digital age, digital literacy and data skills are no longer optional, or a privilege; they are essential and critical to social inclusion.
“Given the Government’s own plans to pilot digital currency and to amend the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) Act to facilitate financial inclusion, this (national Digital Literacy Programme) is even of more importance and an imperative now,” the Opposition Spokesman emphasised.
Mr. Robinson noted, as well, that small business operators, whom he referred to as “economic first responders”, are important players “in the rollout of this effort to ensure that we have a digital economy”.
He suggested that the community centres that the Universal Service Fund (USF) has been connecting to free Wi-Fi could be used as training points for persons within the community.
“We have to utilise these centres that are there… and provide training, not just to the young but to all, so that they can become digitally literate citizens,” he said.
Mr. Robinson further noted that the digital literacy programme would also greatly benefit those who are older in age, who are not as adept at using the technology, especially as they seek to transact business using the online platform, to which more and more businesses are resorting as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“COVID-19 has been transformational… . There has definitely been a shift from reliance on physical locations and transactions to becoming more digitally agile… . There will be more services delivered online, which will force those who are technologically challenged to come into the digital age,” he said.