The government of the Netherlands has announced plans to invest more in digital literacy to ensure easy accessibility and usage of ICT enabled services. The devoted budget amount of EUR 425 million for digital literacy covering the years 2020-24, shows an increase of EUR 35 million compared to the amount that was allocated for 2015-19.
Specifically, the money will be channelled into programmes that will help people learn the usage of computers, smart phones and the Internet. According to the government, these are indispensable skills that all citizens must acquire to be able to access critical services in today’s society. The programme implementation will be done by the local government authorities as well as by employers.
Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).
The digital divide can be defined as a rift between those who, for technical, political, social, or economic reasons, have access and capabilities to use ICT/Internet, and those who do not. Various views have been put forward about the size and relevance of the digital divide.
Capacity development is often defined as the improvement of knowledge, skills and institutions to make effective use of resources and opportunities. Widespread on the agenda of international development agencies, capacity development programs range from societal to individual level and include a diversity of strategies, from fundraising to targeted training.