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25/03/2016 Education

What if digital technology helped instil a love for the written word?

By Marianne Eshet, Managing Director of the SNCF Foundation.



marianne-eshet2.5 million people in France are illiterate, a disability that limits their day-to-day autonomy and engenders another handicap: “digital illiteracy”. It’s impossible to access digital technologies omnipresent in our personal and professional lives today without sufficient mastery of reading, writing, or numeracy. The SNCF has fully embraced the digital revolution, with e-tickets, apps, online blogging, and widespread provision of Wi-Fi. The SNCF Foundation has in turn decided to embrace this media, essential for communication and information today, and for learning tomorrow.

But where do we start? The SNCF Foundation’s goal is to clarify the opportunities offered by digital technology, as well as define its limits. What if digital became a learning tool, capable of capturing the attention of today’s screen-crazy generation? What if digital became a basic skill to master in its own right, or necessary to assimilate all others? Discerning fact from fiction, and helping young people discover the wealth of online global knowledge are two key aspects the Foundation strives to promote.

Digital education is one of the national priorities for 2016 outlined by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. The SNCF Foundation is taking action now to include digital education in its fight against illiteracy: reading, writing, arithmetic, and surfing the web. The 8th call for “Entre les Lignes” grant applications is the first to address the topic of digital technology. An upcoming awareness day in Paris, in partnership with “l’Agence quand les livres relient”, will address the topic of Reading in the Era of the Tablet.
Once again, the SNCF Foundation makes a bold commitment in its conviction that digital technology constitues an excellent means for young people to rediscover a love of words, to learn, to grow, and to find their place in society.