We want young people to be confident with ‘computational thinking’, and aware of how technology and data are the foundations of today’s society. If we can achieve this, we believe that it will benefit both young people and our economy.

In a speech at the Mashable +Social Good Conference hosted at BT Centre in London on Friday 27th March, BT’s CEO Gavin Patterson said: “We have a paradox in the UK. Young people are surrounded by technology yet so many are not tech literate.”

To help tackle this paradox, the new BT Tech Literacy programme will start by:

  • Understanding how parents, teachers and young people really think, feel and act about tech concepts
    We’re commissioning nationwide research which will help design a new tech programme that meets real needs
  • Supporting teachers better
    We’re funding workshops for more schools and primary school teachers this academic year.
    This will extend the reach of the government-funded programme which was planned to finish at the end of March 2015
  • Equipping UK schools to champion tech literacy
    We’re analysing schools’ levels of connectivity to understand the barriers and challenges they face

This is a long-term commitment for BT. We expect that it will take a whole school generation. As our first goal, we want to reach five million children by 2020.

The BT Tech Literacy programme builds on the work we’ve already been doing with the Barefoot Computing programme. We developed the teaching resources in use nationwide, and many BT people have volunteered their time to deliver many of the training sessions for teachers.

Lots of other groups are working on different aspects of the tech literacy challenge – including schools, colleges, the government, not-for-profit organisations, campaigning groups and social networks. We already work with many of them, and we look forward to others joining us.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #TechLiteracy