Digital skillsets: is this it?

9 Dec 2021 10:15h - 11:45h

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Literacy gave people freedom. Education is the most powerful weapon. Internet is a human need, human right, human characteristic. Brick by brick we need to build the internet alongside digital literacy programmes, called Mr Gabriel Karsan in an emotional introductory note. This Global South-run session of multiple young speakers across the regions introduced many examples and experience from areas in which people haven’t got any idea how to connect to the internet, not to mention meaningful connection. More often than not, even within one country, huge differences exist in the population access to the internet and their basic digital skills.

According to Karsan, it is unimaginable that we still have the digital divide. As other speakers confirmed, the only difference between first and third world countries lies in education, and the pandemic has exacerbated on who is ahead and who is behind.

Digital literacy has serious impact on the society and economy. It can help eradicate human suffering, create opportunity. That is why it is essential to devote greater efforts and benefit from digital literacy programmes. Government bodies are ineffective without skilled labour which needs digital literacy. This connection is not always clear and there is lack of political will. Ms Lisa Nyamadzawo called on governments to do more in this respect as the current policies seem not to be ambitious enough.

In Africa, in particular, the related issue of affordability and, even, electricity is of a concern, as Ms Lily Edinam Botsyoe stressed. In her Indian perspective, Ms Ihita Gangavarapu reiterated what was said from the African perspective and explained how gaining the basic digital skills will not make the cut by itself, since skills on using the internet meaningfully and safely are crucial, as well. Digital gender divide is another layer of the problem, linked to empowerment of women and girls. Last, but not least, youth voice needs to be listened to.

Looking into the future, several speakers anticipated that the digital divide will still be existing.

By Tereza Horejsova

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