October 6, 2010
Regarding ‘Kroes: Interoperability at heart of Digital Agenda‘:
While it is positive that the European Commission is committed to promoting interoperability and to investing in ICT infrastructure, these actions need to be complemented with measures to improve the skills infrastructure if the potential of the Information Society is to be fully unlocked.
Enhanced interoperability standards and heavy investment in ICT infrastructure will not automatically make Europeans more digitally literate.
Training and learning programmes, including certification schemes, must be a key component of initiatives that will assist in maximising the potential offered by enhanced broadband provision and interoperability standards.
Without such a dual approach, Mrs Kroes’ plan will be confronted with an additional grave obstacle, namely a digital divide too wide to bridge, in the near future.
To avoid such a situation, stakeholders need to join together in support of the Digital Agenda and commit to taking action. Europe’s informatics societies, via the ECDL Foundation, have taken ambitious preventative steps to narrow the digital divide as well as to maximise the benefit of the existing and future infrastructure.
These include: committing to high-level targets such as engaging with five million people and decreasing by 3% the current number of 150 million people who do not have the skills to use the Internet.
See the full list of commitments here: http://www.ecdl.org/index.jsp?n=2222&p=932&a=3390.
More organisations need to follow suit to ensure that Europeans gain real benefit from the money and effort invested.
Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS)Author : Letters to the EurActiv editor