On 3 October 2007 AGE and the ECDL Foundation convened a high-level workshop on e-Inclusion and the role of digital literacy. The event gathered representatives from the European Commission, European Parliament, marginalised groups, national governments and industry and addressed key issues of marginalised groups including the needs and challenges they face, the role of digital literacy and practical approaches to realising their e-Inclusion in Europe.
As the European Commission prepares its e-Inclusion Communication and associated 2008 European Year of E-Inclusion Initiative, this ECDL Foundation and AGE workshop provided key stakeholders with a privileged platform to exchange views and offer important steps towards achieving the e-Inclusion of marginalized groups as a key contribution to the 2008 e-Inclusion initiative.
Out of the issues discussed, all participants agreed on the need for an integrated, multi-dimensional and multi-stakeholder approach in order to effectively include vulnerable and marginalized groups in the information society. Current actions in this area are fragmented and lack an integrated solution to a problem that cannot be successfully tackled by any one entity alone. National and regional regulators, representatives of industry and civil society are called upon to cooperate in a bottom-up approach to raise skills and digital literacy for all and prevent the social exclusion of groups at risk such as older people and people with disabilities.
Mainstreaming accessible, easy-to-use and affordable technologies is an important step in achieving an inclusive information society. While the technology is important, equally, the provision of appropriate training programmes, adapted to the needs and interests of marginalized groups is essential to equip people with the key skills that they need to participate fully in society. In addition such transfer of knowledge offers the opportunity for intergenerational dialogue and a solidarity that is intrinsic to e-Inclusion.
People remain the central focus of e-Inclusion in all its facets as exclusion from the information society has become synonymous with exclusion from society as a whole. Digital literacy enables social cohesion, empowerment of the individual and thus acceptance in society. A concerted approach through decentralized regional and local channels will best address the requirement to deliver e-Inclusion directly to the people who need it.
- Press-Release – Delivering eInclusion: The role of digital literacy