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Digital literacy 'as vital as maths and English'

Training bodies have written to Education Secretary Michael Gove seeking reassurances on future investment in learning technologies, following the Government's decision to axe the information technology quango Becta as part of its public funding cuts.

The letter, organised by the National Association of Advisers for Computers in Education (Naace) and dated June 17, asks Mr Gove to confirm the Government's continued commitment to information and communication technologies (ICT) in the education and skills system.

It followed a meeting on June 4 at which 28 organisations, including the Association of Colleges, the 157 Group and the adult learning body Niace, agreed a joint statement on the future of ICT in education. The joint statement was sent to Mr Gove as part of the letter.

The letter said: "The success of the country depends on the long-term strength of the economy and for this, fluency in ICT matters as much as does competence in English and mathematics.

"In short, a digitally literate and digitally creative workforce is of vital importance to every citizen, and achieving this demands an entitlement to the best possible use of ICT in education - by learners, by schools, colleges and institutions, and by educational leaders."

The statement says that ICT ensures that curriculum and pedagogy stay relevant in an increasingly digital world, and that teachers and lecturers have access to digital resources.

It says the education system is ripe for the development of new models that maximise student achievement through ICT and that support effective teaching.

Seb Schmoller, chief executive of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) - one of the groups that signed the statement - said: "We urge Government to now work with membership organisations such as ALT and Naace to retain a strong and agile involvement in the overall field of technology in learning."

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