Initiative to include compulsory digital literacy program in the primary school curriculum


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During the spring period of the declared Covid-19 epidemic and distance learning for all pupils and students, we noticed that the learning process was negatively affected by the lack of technical knowledge on use of digital devices - computers, tablets and mobile phones.


Logout, Slovenian Heart Foundation and partners are giving the initiative for the installation of a mandatory digital literacy program in the curriculum of primary schools. In this program, including students from 4th grade of primary schools, they will further develop competencies related to the technical aspects of working with digital technologies, the use of digital devices, their tools and the web, while also developing digital etiquette and critical thinking, which allows selection of information present online.


During the spring period of the declared Covid-19 epidemic and distance learning for all pupils and students, we noticed that the learning process was negatively affected by the lack of technical knowledge on the effective use of digital devices - computers, tablets and mobile phones. In the autumn of mid-October 2020, due to the deteriorating epidemiological picture, distance learning was ordered for children and students from the 5th grade of primary school onwards, and after the autumn holidays 2020 also for younger students. From a logistical point of view, distance learning is a mouthful for teachers, students and their parents. This type of implementation certainly affects the quality of the learning process. Mastering the correct, at least basic, use of digital devices and proper communication over the Internet would certainly facilitate the learning process.

We also notice that, especially among young people, the development and use of digital technologies have also had a negative impact on the etiquette of communication - both online and live. Internet communication lacks personal contact, which affects how we behave and communicate offline as well.

Course Computer Science 1 is offered only as an optional subject, the objectives of which include “learning and understanding concepts, developing algorithmic thinking, learning and implementing procedures and algorithms, and forming views".[1] This means that the subject is taught only in certain schools that can offer it and only in case of sufficient interest among students.

Students can be acquainted with computer science in the last three grades of primary school, if they choose elective subject Computer Science: text editing, computer network, multimedia 2, which is intended to "provide students with the basic knowledge they need for understanding and basic use of computers. In the subject of computer network and multimedia, this knowledge is spirally upgraded, deepened and expanded." [2] However, since its elective course, it is still only available to those who choose it and if it’s actually implemented at their schools in a given year due to the sufficient number of applicants.

The general objectives of the already mentioned curse [2] are to ensure that students:

  • learn the basic concepts of computer science and the role and importance of computer technology in modern society;

  • monitor the development of computer technology;

  • acquire basic knowledge, skills and habits for the efficient and effective use of modern computer technology to meet their own and social needs;

  • develop communication skills;

  • form views on the obtained information and strengthen the criteria for experiencing and valuing the beautiful;

  • develop skills for efficient and aesthetic information design;

  • acquire the ability to solve problems independently;

  • develop the ability and responsibility to participate in a group and strengthen a positive self-image;

  • develop the right attitude towards the protection of property (copyright) and personality (data protection);

  • enrich their linguistic treasure and take care for proper use of Slovenian language and expressions

Knowledge of computer use is not only useful in the case of distance learning, but it is also extremely important for the child's further personal and professional development.

From a personal point of view, knowledge of the use of computers and digital technologies is extremely important, especially in terms of communication, because not only the knowledge of techniques and use of computer programs and applications for communication is important, but also the way of communication. This includes so-called soft communication skills, which include etiquette of communication, active listening, developing empathy… as well as appropriate communication in real, t. i. offline world.

Primary school is certainly an important and fundamental part of a person's career  development. In today's age, digital literacy has become part of everyday life and individuals are expected to gain more and more knowledge and skills when entering the labour market, including in the field of digital technologies. That’s why it should be in our interest for all students to have the opportunity to participate in subjects that will equip them for, first, basic, and then more advanced knowledge of the safe use of digital technologies and tools, such as web browsers, word processors and spreadsheets, etc.

Our experience with the prevention program ODKLOP [3] shows that students need to be introduced to the dangers that threaten them in the virtual world. This means we need to teach them how to keep their digital footprint as low as possible and protect themselves against possible fraud, harassment, cyberbullying, etc.

Based on the experience, especially those gained in the situation of distance learning, we share the opinion that it is certainly not encouraging for digital literacy of the younger generations that not all students take computer science courses, as computer science courses are only offered as an optional subject in the second or third triad. Optional subjects do not even have to be taken every year in all schools. Although schools try to bring the necessary knowledge and skills among students in the form of technical days and non-formal education, one-off events can’t cover the need for creating values and with that the baseline for development of digital competencies.

Solution and initiative:

Therefore, we propose a program or compulsory subject as a part of the compulsory curriculum from the 4th grade of primary schools onwards, during which students will learn about the safe use of digital devices and digital etiquette. With the first part of the mandatory program, students would gain technical knowledge for safe computer use: from the very basics like how to turn on and off the computer and use the keyboard and mouse, to basic and later advanced knowledge of the programs needed for learning and enabling safe and digital functional literacy (e.g. word processors, spreadsheets, use of secure websites, distance learning aids and online communication). Another part of the program would focus on communication skills, including online communication etiquette. Emphasis should also be placed on appropriate real-world communication (e.g. active listening), filtering information received online and online safety. This way, students would also develop and strengthen critical thinking skills, which is especially important in today's time of information flooding.

Therefore, in addition to the already mentioned, we also propose the adaptation of the existing elective course Computer Science [4] into course, which will focus on the more demanding contents of the already existing elective course - programming. The subject should, as before, be offered to the classes of the last triad.

It also makes sense to emphasize and encourage interdisciplinary integration. Thus, the computer competencies acquired in the compulsory computer science program would be used and upgraded in other subjects, e.g. languages, mathematics, physics, as well as art and music lessons (multimedia), etc.

By introducing a compulsory extended computer program in the lower grades of primary school, we would take care of the basic digital and functional literacy of children, who will be forced to have and develop this knowledge in adolescence and adulthood due to the accelerated development of digital technologies and their use. In any case, computer and communication skills will be useful in their personal lives, as well as in further studies and career development, where the ability of computer literacy is already a matter of course.



[1] Učni načrt. Računalništvo, neobvezni izbirni predmet. MIŠ, Zavod RS za šolstvo. Dostopno na:

[2] Učni načrt: Računalništvo, izbirni predmet. MIZŠ, Zavod RS za šolstvo. Dostopno na:

[3] Preventivni program ODKLOP. Društvo za zdravje srca in ožilja Slovenije. Dostopno na:

[4] Učni načrt: Računalništvo, izbirni predmet. MIZŠ, Zavod RS za šolstvo. Dostopno na:

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