Govt adopts systemic bill to promote digital literacy

Ljubljana – The government adopted on Thursday a systemic bill to encourage digital inclusion which aims to enhance digital skills. The centrepiece is a scheme of EUR 150 digital vouchers that secondary school kids, students and adults over 55 will be able to use to attend various digital literacy courses or buy digital devices.

Over EUR 31 million has been earmarked for subsidising the courses and digital devices purchases in 2022, Minister for Digital Transformation Mark Boris Andrijanič told the press after the government session.

This is the first systemic bill which regulates acquisition of digital skills and enables launching the biggest digital literacy project in the country, he said.

The Digital Compass the European Commission presented last March sets ambitious digital transformation goals, including at least 80% of adult Europeans having at least basic digital skills by 2030.

With only 55% of Slovenian adults having digital skills, the country ranks below the EU average, whereas Andrijanič believes the bill should help it progress among the most digitally inclusive European societies.

“We will achieve 80% of adults having at least basic digital competences by 2028,” he said.

The bill focuses on acquiring basic and advanced digital skills with the help of courses the state will subsidise through public calls.

“But since skills without computer equipment are not enough, the bill introduces the option of financial incentives to buy it.”

The over-55s are to learn the basic skills such as using a digital bank or e-administration services.

The young beneficiaries will meanwhile have a chance to go to free course of advanced digital skills, such as coding, robotics, AI and digital entrepreneurship.

These measures aim to encourage the young to acquire technical skills and inspire them for professions of the future, the minister said, adding that the new legislation will also contribute to the digitalisation of education.

Students could use the vouchers to buy digital devices (computers, tablets, printers and such) while those over 55 will be able to use them for the courses. The bill will also help organisations of pensioners and the disabled to buy digital devices.

“Today is a good day for Slovenia’s digital transformation,” Andrijanič said. He hopes the bill will be passed in March and digital vouchers will start being used in May.