Together with numerous partners, the Stifterverband jointly initiated the Data Literacy Charter in January 2021. It formulates a common understanding of data literacy and its importance for educational processes. The Charter is in line with the German Federal Government's data strategy and with the Berlin Declaration on the Digital Society.
Katharina Schüller, Henning Koch, Florian Rampelt
Data literacy encompasses the data competencies that are important for all people in a world shaped by digitalisation. It is an indispensable part of general education.
With the Data Literacy Charter, the signatories express their common understanding of data literacy in the sense of comprehensive data literacy and its overall importance in educational processes.
Data literacy is the ability to collect, manage, evaluate, and apply data in a critical manner. If data is to support decision-making processes, competent answers to four basic questions are needed:
The supporters of the Data Literacy Charter see data literacy as a key competence for all people in the 21st century. It is the key to systematically transforming data into knowledge and actions.
Data literacy enables people, businesses, and scientific institutions as well as governmental or civil society organisations,
Data literacy strengthens judgement, self-determination and sense of responsibility and promotes the social and economic participation of all of us in a world shaped by digitalisation.
Five principles characterise the importance and role of data literacy as a key competence of the 21st century. These create a common basic understanding and serve as a stimulus to jointly shape educational processes in a future-oriented way.
In concrete terms, this requires the inclusion of data literacy in the curricula and educational standards of schools, teacher training and higher education. Learners should not only be addressed as passive consumers of data. We rather want to enable them to actively shape data-related insights and decision-making. To make lifelong learning of data literacy possible, data literacy programmes for extracurricular and vocational training are also needed. We advocate the development and promotion of such programmes, for example in cooperation with adult education centres or public libraries.
Data ethics is a central component of any set of data-related skills and competencies and is reflected in all sub-areas of data literacy. This means that when data is collected, managed, evaluated and applied, in a critical manner, ethical aspects always play an important role. Data ethics, values, and attitudes contribute significantly to ensuring that not only the right means are used to solve problems with the help of data, but above all that the right goals are pursued: Data should make a sustainable positive con-tribution to society and therefore be used responsibly, context-sensitively, and with an ongoing reflection of possible future consequences.
The signatories of the Data Literacy Charter will take measures to spread this understanding of data literacy and to further strengthen the associated competencies. They call on other interested parties to do the same within their sphere of competence.