If European senior, jobless or student citizens knew that...
(this is a reformatted version of a proposal I submitted to the Gdansk Agenda website in September 2011)
According to a survey published in December 2011 from the EU statistical agency, more than 100 million EU citizens have never surfed the Web. That’s why one of the goal of the Gdansk Agenda is digital inclusion.
When I put that survey side by side with the crisis Europe is going through, it seems evident to me that both simple ECDL-style teaching on how to use computers and the Internet and bringing broadband everywhere are absolutely unsufficient to achieve digital inclusion. If training were the only, or even the main problem, many Europeans who are not “digitally included” these days, may get it from friends and relatives for free, without spending public money, if… they just saw a reason to get those skills.
I believe that a great motivator for the “digitally excluded” Europeans of today (especially, but not only, unemployed, senior citizens and students) may be just what European Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes mentioned in her September 2011 speech titled “From Common Standards to Open Data: “making good use of public data can make your life better.”
If EU senior citizens (who are a lot and often have plenty of time) were adequately informed of the good they could do their local communities by using some of their time to generate, crowdsource or collaboratively analyze oublic Open Data through the Internet…
If unemployed adults knew how many non-outsourceable jobs in NON-high-tech sectors may be created or saved by local Open Data…
If students knew how much more interesting, useful and effective the study and practices of many school and university subjects would be, if they practiced it with local, real Open Data (think practicing accounting on a real city budget, but the possibilities are endless)…
there would be no need to spend money to “digitally include” so many Europeans. Not to teach them basic ICT skills, at least. If they knew what they could do, many of these citizens would have a real motivation to learn by doing by themselves, or with friends, relatives, co-workers and classmates. Without spending one public Euro in the process. What if we started a large Awareness Raising campaign on the benefits of Open Data for transparency and economic development?
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