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ECDL Foundation's survey on the issue of e-Inclusion

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According to the results of the ECDL Foundation’s survey on the issue of e-Inclusion, 72% of respondents are of the opinion that the ageing population is at risk of being excluded from society, while 68% of respondents believe that there is a strong correlation between the level of education and the level of participation in the information society.

In May 2007 the ECDL Foundation carried out a survey on the issue of e-Inclusion among its National Operators with the aim of contributing to the European Commission’s consultations in preparation for the 2008 e-Inclusion initiative. Respondents, representing computer professionals from more than thirty countries , contributed their views on the issue of e-Inclusion. The survey reflects the ECDL Foundation’s knowledge and expertise gathered over ten years working to advance digital literacy skills around the world.

Summary of the survey results
1. The survey strongly indicates that the elderly and people with low education levels are most at risk of being left behind in the development of the information society.

2. The majority of survey respondents agree that public-private partnerships have the potential to successfully implement a strategy to confront the e-Inclusion challenge.

3. Interestingly, the survey also highlights the fact that many people fail to understand the direct positive impact that information and communication technologies (ICT) can have on their quality of every day life. Public campaigns are therefore necessary to raise the awareness of the benefits that can be gained from the use of ICT.

4. Finally, the survey also shows that while broadband coverage remains an issue in remote geographical areas, the lack of necessary e-skills remains an important barrier to an inclusive society.

The ECDL Foundation’s e-Inclusion survey indicates the challenges that Europe and the countries around the world are facing in building an inclusive society. Evidently, the complexity of the e-Inclusion process requires that national and local authorities, industry and civil society work together to address this issue.

Following on from the results of this survey, the ECDL Foundation and AGE (the European Older People’s Platform) will run a high level workshop entitled ’Delivering e-Inclusion: the role of digital literacy’’ on 3rd of October 2007 in Brussels. According to Damien O’Sullivan, CEO ECDL Foundation, this event will gather representatives from the European Commission and Parliament, marginalised groups, national governments and industry. Together they will address several issues, including needs and challenges faced by marginalised groups in the information society, the role of digital literacy in ensuring the e-Inclusion of marginalised groups and industry initiatives in the area of e-Inclusion. The desired outcome of the workshop is to identify concrete initiatives for improving the e-Inclusion of marginalised groups.

Apart from the apparent social responsibility towards the elderly and people with low education levels, there is a strong economic drive to help older people remaining productive, to encourage them to use online services and thus contribute to a stronger European economy.

The ECDL Foundation and its National Operators will continue to work with NGOs, local authorities, governments and international organisations to ensure that projects, which empower people to reach their full potential through ICT skills development, continue. With the ECDL Foundation certification programmes being accessible to all citizens, irrespective of age, gender, status, ability or race, the ECDL Foundation efforts are conducive to strengthening the ties of vulnerable social groups to society.

For more information contact:
Tanja Zabukovnik, Communications Executive.
Phone: +353 1 630 6000