Saturday, June 24, 2006

DIGILIFE | The computer-illiterate still exist

Amidst our daily involvement with technology products, we tend to forget that a considerable portion of the population has little or no computing skills.
There are hundreds of thousands of people in any country, if not millions in big countries, who have never used the Internet.

Shocking isn’t it? It’s a fact.

The European Union has conducted a survey of its population, which revealed that over a third of citizens lack basic computer skills.

The data, published by the Statistical Office of European Communities, shows that 37 per cent of people aged between 16 and 74 have no basic computer skills and are unable to complete tasks such as using a mouse to copy a file or folder.

As you would expect, some of the less developed countries in Europe tilted the balance in this unfortunate direction particularly Hungary, Cyprus, and Lithuania.

But even developed countries, especially in southern Europe, showed a considerable percentage of the population to be computer illiterate, including Greece, Italy and Portugal.
As expected, the countries with the highest literacy included Denmark, Sweden, Luxembourg, Germany and the UK.

The data shows that a higher percentage of older people are illiterate compared to the young, which seems reasonable but what is worrying is that a significant percentage of these older people are part of the workforce, and therefore their lack of computer and Internet skills could be holding back the development of Europe’s economies.

Among students, only a small percentage had no or low computer skills, while more than eight in ten registered either medium or high computer literacy.

Generally, computer and Internet literacy increases as the levels of education in any country increase.

In a country like Jordan, where we pride ourselves of our education system and of the high percentage of literacy, it’s worth examining our levels of e-literacy.

Would it be a surprise if over one third of our population turned out to be e-illiterate?

It’s quite possible if it’s the case in countries like Italy or Portugal. We could, possibly, even have more than that.

Considering the percentage of poverty in our country and the fact that the majority of the working population- other than office workers- have little or no access to computers or the Internet; the numbers could be high.

On the other hand, the relative success of the e-Education initiative in introducing computers to hundreds of governmental schools could be a positive factor.

Maybe we need to find out. Either the government, or a non-governmental institution, can provide the answer through a survey.

Let’s hope we see one soon.

(Published in The Star)


At 9:12 PM , Anonymous lammoush said...

interesting, but u see thats far ahead, i have disovered another technology here, check my last post and see how digital going 2 the barber can be!! congrats 2 all guys!


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