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President Ilves to students: the digital literacy of people will become inevitable


"As the digital world increasingly becomes the real world or, more accurately, as the real world becomes digital, it is inevitable that everyone will have to acquire some level of digital literacy," said the President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, at a public lecture given in the hall of Tallinn University of Technology on analysing the inevitable and rapidly increasing dependence of our everyday life on the digital world.

President Ilves added that a smart state will ensure that its educational system helps people to cope in the new environment, and he added: "By offering the knowledge required for future jobs, such as in the sphere of law or medicine, and give an elementary awareness of technology."

According to President Ilves, even today in Estonia we can see one version of networking and a computerised future, in which the digital world has become an inseparable component that society needs to work – a third of our electorate votes are cast on the Internet; almost 100% of income tax returns and prescriptions for medicinal products are drawn up on the Internet and almost every aspect of banking has moved online. We do business on the Internet, we have given more than 200 million digital signatures and the speed of all these processes is increasing.

President Ilves emphasised that we must continue to maintain the fundamental values that form the foundation of a modern civilised life in a liberal democratic country: human rights, the principles of a state based on rule of law, and free and fair elections.

The Head of State stated that we are in unchartered territory; the rules have not been established yet and we are only just beginning to work on the meaning of liberal democracy in the digital era. "In many spheres, we still haven't found explicit answers that match the requirements of the digital era. And we certainly do not adhere to the solutions offered by non-democratic countries, with total and general censure being one of them," he said.

As a state that strongly relies on digital solutions, we experience and sense the advantages of the digital era as well as the accompanying threats before others do, admitted the Head of State.

"In 2014, the security environment around us considerably deteriorated. The fact that a war has been going on in Europe also became evident in the statistics of cyber incidents in Estonia. However, there are also other urgent issues to be handled. Apart from national defence, we need to consider the liberties of citizens and democracy," President Ilves told.

The Head of State was invited to give the lecture by the Students Council of the Information Technology Department of Tallinn University of Technology. "IT Future" represents a series of lectures on the future of information society that is being given at Tallinn University of Technology throughout the year. The presentations are given by specialists who have a specific understanding of IT that would help to diversify the knowledge of the students.

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