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Introduce a right to lifelong learning in digital skills

Last updated: 11:02am 12 January 2019

We will equip people with the digital skills they need now, and in the future, by introducing a right to lifelong learning in digital skills, just as we have done for literacy and numeracy.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.53

Our verdict

We’ve had difficulty pinning down the precise meaning of this policy pledge. The manifesto appears to claim that a previous Conservative government introduced a “right to lifelong learning in…literacy and numeracy”. But we have been unable to find any legislation on this. The right to an education is enshrined in the Human Rights Act 1998. Article 2 of the First Protocol states that, “No person shall be denied a right to an education”. There is, however, no specific mention of literacy and numeracy, as in the manifesto pledge.

All of which makes the promise to introduce a “similar” right for digital skills learning a challenging ambition to track. But we’ve had a go!

In June 2017, the government published a review called Digital Skills Across the Lifetime, as part of a broader project looking at lifelong learning.

More recently, a consultation was undertaken from October 2018 to January 2019 on improving adult basic digital skills. One of the proposals included was “introducing a national entitlement to basic digital skills“, which is strikingly similar to the manifesto promise of “a right to lifelong learning in digital skills”.

Despite some uncertainty around the nature of the objective here, based on the proposed national entitlement in the consultation we’re marking this as ‘in progress’. We’ll be monitoring the government’s response to the consultation to see how this develops. Follow this policy for updates.

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