La Valetta, MALTA | 21 MARCH 2013
The ‘GOW’ is a pan European initiative organised by Telecentre-Europe across 30 countries with the involvement of over 10,000 ICT learning centres (also known as telecentres) which is aimed at helping more people to go digital and start using ICTs as part of their everyday life.
European countries consider that widespread digital competencies are paramount for social and economic development as these bring about unprecedented opportunities for social cohesion, better quality of life, employment flexibility, efficiency gains and the development of new economic activity. It is estimated that one in every three Maltese individuals does not use the Internet and is likely to be excluded from leading a digital lifestyle and engaging in work related activities that require specific digital skills.
Various activities are being undertaken locally to coincide with this week. Over 600 individuals aged 55 and over have started their basic ‘ICTforALL’ training at one of the 19 CTLCs. For most of these individuals, the training will be their first encounter with a computer and the Internet, and will also serve as the doorstep to a future digital lifestyle.
Through the ‘Digital Angels’ initiative, children in the sixth year of primary school have paired up with a grandparent and have engaged in a computer-based activity of their choice. The activity has served to promote intergenerational learning activities whilst also encouraging first-time users.
Through ‘BeSmartOnline!’, a project funded by the Safer Internet Programme and that has the ‘MCA’, Agenzija Appogg and the Office of the Commissioner for Children as partners, a new school roadshow on internet safety has been launched. The roadshow will be engaging all form 3 students in secondary schools in activities and discussions on how to build and protect one’s digital identity.
Ian Agius, acting CEO of the ‘MCA’, said that “past efforts to bring more people online have paid dividends as more Maltese are now digitally included in society and have become potentially more employable and effective at the workplace”. He added that “despite past successes, we are still far from saying that everyone is part of this new digital society and economy, and indeed we must intensify our efforts to be able to reach out to those that need us most.”
The ‘MCA’ also announced that in the coming weeks it will be launching a new subsidy scheme for individuals who have never used ICT and would like to attend a free ‘ICTforALL’ basic introductory course at a CTLC.