Global standard for digital literacy, skills and readiness launched


Dr Yuhyun Park | Founder | DQ Institute | mail me |

The Coalition for Digital Intelligence (CDI), a platform created in association with the World Economic Forum (Forum) and formed jointly by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), IEEE Standards Association (IEEE), and DQ Institute, has launched the DQ Global Standards Report 2019 which is the world’s first attempt to define a global standard for digital literacy, skills and readiness across the education and technology sectors.

The OECD, the Forum, the World Bank, and the United Nations have all identified these digital competencies as fundamental for future readiness.

The report is launched at the seventh annual Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) 2019, a Varkey Foundation initiative, where leading personalities from the public, private, social, entertainment and sports sectors and almost 2,000 delegates discuss new ways for education to transform our world, and how new influencers are to bring about seismic change.


A significant interview with Dr Yuhyun Park, Founder, DQ Institute, and Dr Ivor Blumenthal, CEO, ArkKonsult, discussing the new common framework for digital literacy which aims to bridge the gap between digital skills and readiness.

Digital competencies

The new DQ global standard is the culmination of the successful collaboration across global public, private, and civic education and technology communities that began with the launch of the CDI at the Sustainable Impact Summit, the World Economic Forum in September 2018, and aims to establish a global, common language and set of norms around the digital competencies that will be increasingly required in an era of rapid technological progress.

Companies, governments and organisations invest millions each year in developing digital literacy and skills, yet there is a severe lack of coordination or a globally shared understanding of what terms like digital skills and digital literacy mean, and it is difficult to address how to improve and sustain them.

For the world to build comprehensive digital competency more efficiently and effectively, there is an urgent need for coordination and consensus on a common set of understanding, structure and taxonomy — a global standard for digital literacy, skills, and readiness. That’s what this report sets out to achieve.

A global framework for digital intelligence

The CDI aims to establish a global framework for Digital Intelligence, DQ, which includes a common set of definitions, language, and understanding of comprehensive digital literacy, skills, and readiness that can be adopted by stakeholders worldwide, including national governments, educators, technology companies, and service providers.

 “We have been talking about digital literacy in the U.S. since the 1980s. Unfortunately, we haven’t made much progress, partly because we don’t have a common framework. When we say digital literacy a lot of people just think of computer skills. Others may think about media violence or even computer programming. All are a part of digital literacy, but there hasn’t been a framework to integrate all these pieces. With proper digital literacy education, we reduce the risks children face and give them the skills they’ll need to be successful in a new economy.”

 – Douglas Gentile, Professor of Psychology at Iowa State University.

The DQ Framework

DQ is a comprehensive set of technical, cognitive, metacognitive, and socio-emotional competencies that enable individuals to face the challenges and harness the opportunities of digital life.

It is made up of three levels, eight areas, and 24 competencies composed of knowledge, skills, and attitudes and values.

The DQ Standards are unique as overarching concepts that encompasses the competencies of digital literacy, skills, and readiness, with a systematic structure are built on the OECD’s Education 2030 Learning Framework.

The DQ Standards also aggregates 25 leading global approaches including UNESCO’s Digital Citizenship Competency Framework, European Commission’s Digital Competence Framework, US Common Sense’s Digital Literacy Framework and Singapore’s Skills Frameworks.

DQ has a common language and taxonomy, with an adaptable framework that enables national and organisational adoption, customisation and agile evolution to ensure that the framework remains pedagogically and technically up-to-date.

“With the theme of this year’s GESF being ‘Who is changing the world?’, the launch of this report could not be better timed. The DQ global standards allow organisations and individuals to fully harness digital technology, but also maximise personal strengths such as empathy and global citizenship. By giving the critical digital skills issues of the future a key reference point, the DQ global standards represent a significant step forward, and I look forward to witnessing their wider adoption across the world.”

– Vikas Pota, Chairman of the Board, Varkey Foundation, which runs GESF

The DQ Institute alongside the CDI calls on all interested parties – NGOs, private companies, schools and educators – to be co-creators in establishing the global standards.

A number of organisations across the world have already either helped co-create the new DQ global standard or have adopted it as the platform upon which they are developing their digital skills strategies:

“The DQ framework and the push for its use as a global standard for digital skills is precisely the type of forward-thinking initiative that’s needed to ensure we successfully navigate the challenges and opportunities of the fourth industrial revolution. It will help coordinate various digital skills initiatives in the UK to improve and scale up their efforts, and we’re already using it for our digital skills strategy.”

– Peter Estlin, The Lord Mayor of the City of London

Singtel believes firmly in the education and promotion of responsible digital citizenship. We are honoured to have been involved in the development and implementation of the DQ framework right from the beginning. A global standard for digital literacy and skills is timely and also critical to establishing common ground among multiple stakeholders to further enhance competencies and cross-sector collaboration. It is also important in developing education programmes for people, especially children, so that they have the social, emotional and cognitive abilities to thrive amid the challenges of our digital world.”

– Andrew Buay, Vice President of Group Sustainability at Singtel

The DQ Institute’s model as an example of a framework that could empower the world to transition from consumers of technology into creators, makers, and doers empowered by technology. The next task in front of us includes translating the framework into real-world modules and tools to enable all humans – regardless of socioeconomic background, geography and/or gender – to compete in the 21st century economy.” 

– Melissa Sassi, Chair IEEE Smart Village Digital Literacy & Skills Working Group

 As a co-creator of the new framework, we believe in its potential to be a comprehensive and holistic way to assess the digital skills and mindsets needed and align workforce skills with global standards. This will enable workforces facing the technological upheavals of the future to be fully prepared to adapt and flourish.”

– Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of SkillsFuture Singapore

While governments are spending billions of dollars to build digital technology and infrastructure for ‘smart’ cities every year, there has been a serious lack of investment in education and training of digital literacy to make citizens ‘smart’. With the rapid rise of new cyber-crimes, cyber-bullying, and online privacy issues, IFEZ is committed to empowering our citizens with digital intelligence and helping implement the global standards of DQ.

– Kim Jin-Yong, the Commissioner of Incheon Free Economic Zone Authority (IFEZ), Korea

“Since 2017, Mexico has used the DQ Framework in schools, and as a key reference for the design and implementation of the Digital Inclusion Public Policy. The Global Standard allows us to identify the main components to develop digital citizens’ skills to participate safely and effectively in online communities.”

– Alejandra Lagunes, Senator / Former Coordinator of the National Digital Strategy for Mexico Presidency




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