Labor would introduce a digital licence for primary and secondary students if it forms government this year in an effort to improve technological literacy.

Shadow Education Minister Tanya Plibersek said the program, that would cost $6 million over three years, is the equivalent of “a pen licence for the digital age”.

“Labor wants to ensure these resources are available to all children, regardless of what school they go to,” she said.

“It’s crucial all our kids learn the skills they need to keep them safe online.”

Specifically, the program would see the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart Digital Licence and eSmart Media Literacy Lab provided to children around the country.

The Alannah and Madeline Foundation won an ACS Digital Disruptor’s award for its eSmart Digital Licence in 2019.

The licence has been developed through Singapore’s DQ Institute which has built an internationally recognised framework for teaching digital literacy.

That framework focuses on eight areas of digital life: identity, use, safety, security, emotional intelligence, literacy, communication, and rights.

Completion of the modules on these subjects gives children a licence that can be used to show their competency in broad digital skills.

Alannah and Madeline Foundation CEO, Sarah Davies, said it was important to match cultural and industrial changes with relevant skills in schools.

“We want every Australian school student to have access to our comprehensive suite of Australian curriculum-aligned, and evidence-informed eLearning programs so they are empowered with the skills to effectively and safely use technology today, and in the future,” she said.

Shadow Minister for Communications and Cyber Security, Tim Watts, said the pandemic had emphasised the need for improved digital education.

“Any parent can tell you that during the pandemic we’ve seen more kids spending more time on screens,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the experts tell us we’ve also seen more kids exposed to the ugly side of being online.

“We need to act now to ensure every Australian child has the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe online."