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France, digital culture

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"France is in a position to play a leading role in the digital race."

This is the point of view developed by Benoît Thieulin, President of the National Digital Council (1)The year as seen by digital technology", in its closing lesson at the round tables organised by France Culture on 4 October. We present below the main lines of this event.

Un social web champion

Charged by the Prime Minister to organize a broad consultation on the economic and societal impact of the current digital revolution, Mr. Thieulin, a business creator and researcher, has distinguished himself over the past twenty years in the fields of participatory democracy and open innovation. In his view, the opinion that France is lagging behind in the digital race is unfounded. He has no hesitation in asserting that "our country is currently one of the best placed in the global digital competition."

Mr. Thieulin intends to respect in the conduct of his new mission the principles that earned him the reputation of "champion of the social web." Recalling that the desire of the inventors of the internet in the USA was to "change the world, by bringing the digital conquest within the reach of the powerless," he believes that "it's up to citizens to decide what kind of Digital Society they want to live in. “ We must therefore, according to him, preserve the original character of neutrality in this space, because it allows everyone to have the same freedom of access. This preoccupation imposes on us reflection and choices of a political as well as technological nature.

New missions for National Education

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Mr Thieulin observes that in terms of digital literacy, "Civil Society has gotten ahead of its elite." Nevertheless, he believes that, in the "hyper-internet" phase we are now entering, the support of National Education, which has been lacking until now, is becoming necessary. In particular for the security of digital networks, which is currently non-existent.

This cultural revolution, he stressed, implies a revision of the priorities that J. Ferry had assigned to national education, of which only the first (training citizens for democratic life) must be maintained. The second, (giving workers to the then fledgling industry) must now be replaced by the concern to train professionals capable of mastering the ongoing digitalization of the whole society.
With this in mind, the National Digital Council released a report on October 3 entitled "Forty First Recommendations for Building a Creative and Fair School in a Digital World. “
Among the measures already envisaged for the 2016 school year is the creation of a course of study to be taught in high schools, which could be called "Bac en Humanités numériques".

(1) Consultative body of 30 members, created by a Decree of 13.XII.2012.

 

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