Digital literacy is part of our society, says Dr. Vineet Bansal, Group CIO at Surya Roshni

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Digital literacy is part of our society, says Dr. Vineet Bansal, Group CIO at Surya Roshni
Digital literacy is part of our society, says Dr. Vineet Bansal, Group CIO at Surya Roshni

A key part of digital literacy involves evaluating sources

This is an exclusive interview conducted by the Editor Team of CIO News with Dr. Vineet Bansal, Group CIO at Surya Roshni

What is digital literacy, and why does it matter?

Have you ever seen a child pick up a smartphone and start using it intuitively? Have you resolved your shaky internet connection in order to set up a smart TV? Or have you ever watched a video tutorial to teach yourself to use a new app? All of these examples stem from digital literacy. “It’s the ability to navigate an environment that’s fully integrated with diverse technologies.”

A fact of life is that our world has become increasingly tech-focused. It is expected in many places of employment that employees have digital literacy. Digital literacy is part of our society!

Think about this: before digital technology, a person who wanted to find information about a subject would head to the library. There, they would use the library’s card catalog. In the card catalog, they would find sources about the topic they were researching. Then, the person would need to peruse the print sources. This is an example of how people could find information without using digital literacy.

But today, a person could be seeking information about the same topic, but the way they find sources might look very different. Even if the person went to the library, chances are they would use the library’s computers to digitally search for the sources they wanted. More likely, a person might simply pull out their nearest internet-connected device and search the topic on the search engine!

A key part of digital literacy involves evaluating sources.

As an IT leader, what are your views on digitally upskilling the youth in the post-COVID era?

New realities have arisen in the last two years, and new strategies have been adopted by economies around the world to cope with the changed realities. The pandemic has transformed the traditional chalk-talk teaching model, prevalent in India for ages, into one driven by technology.

Investing in the youth of our country will help unlock future opportunities that can benefit India exponentially in the years to come. Upskilling the nation’s adults will help them pursue meaningful careers, stay relevant, and ignite thinking. Armed with digital skills, high competency levels, and the thirst for excellence, India’s future change makers could be the defining factors of economies worldwide in the years to come.

In a socially dispersed world, technology can also help in providing India’s youth with seamless, consistent mentorship and peer-to-peer learning from anywhere in the country. Better relationships with mentors and peers lead to better employment opportunities; one conversation could open the door to a fulfilling career.

How can the youth be digitally empowered? What kind of exposure and engagement opportunities in the educational curriculum can educational institutes implement to raise the interest of youths in up-scaling their digital skills?

What you have learned today will surely become the base of your future, but you have to upgrade your capabilities according to the future. So, when it comes to skill, your mantra should be “skilling, reskilling, and upskilling.”

Today’s youth are not only naturally inventive, creative, and tech-savvy, but most importantly, they are greatly motivated to use their skills for social causes that make their lives, those of their peers, and their communities more just, fair, and peaceful in an efficient and sustainable manner.

Educational institutes can organise hackathons. Hackathons, as programmes that stand in between digital innovation and social entrepreneurship, indeed provide a substantial opportunity for young people to enhance their knowledge on relevant topics as well as strengthen their social and technical skills.

Organize regional youth forums. Educational institutes can arrange regional meetings and spaces for youth to discuss technology-related opportunities and challenges in their regions. This will create meaningful change and expand youth participation in the implementation of technology-related policies.

Engaging young people through youth employment opportunities or open spaces such as “youth labs,” where young people can find mentors and support networks or develop new digital skills.

Should it become a must for schools, colleges, and other educational institutes to conduct workshops or crash-course programmes to drive home the importance of technology for businesses?

Conducting workshops or crash-course programmes always helps in upskilling the youth, and it should become a must for schools, colleges, and other educational institutes. This will help them stay up-to-date with technology, which is a must in the technology world.

As an IT leader, what advice would you give to the youth considering a career in the technology industry? What should they know about the industry before starting their career? What challenges could they face, and how do they overcome them?

Being an IT professional for so long has gotten me a long way in terms of learning. There have been so many ups and downs, but the only constant thing that kept me motivated was my urge to discover more about this field. Well, technology has a lot to give you if you wish to take from it; it’s a boon to numerous careers. My first and only advice to the national youth is that if you are passionate about this field and eager to learn and accept all its downsides, then I can assure you that this field will never fail you, but don’t pursue it just by virtue of high-paying jobs. There are so many branches and fields that you can specialise in; all you need to do is explore your field of interest.

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