Today concludes Literacy Week, a week in which the focus was on the great importance of acquiring digital skills. Indeed, 4 out of 10 Belgians struggle with digital competencies. Literacy Week brought the importance of joining the digital world to the attention of local governments, with an extra focus on the importance of acquiring digital skills. The BRIC reported on this Week through its channels and highlighted Brussels' initiatives in this area, such as training courses, public computer rooms and the provision of IT equipment.
The Brussels Government did not drag its feet either: ministers and institutions from the Region can donate their own depreciated and downgraded IT equipment free of charge. This equipment is made operational again and distributed via a number of non-profit organisations to pupils and students experiencing social difficulties. Retirement and nursing homes also received IT equipment
. This reduces the digital divide and keeps everyone on board.
The Brussels Regional Informatics Centre (BRIC) is co-ordinating the distribution of some of this IT equipment. This includes contacting the organisations, collecting the equipment, preparing it for use and distributing it to the non-profit organisations in question.
Some 300 desktops and hundreds of laptops have already been distributed this way to various associations in Brussels that help people to keep up digitally.
At the request of the Brussels government, the BRIC also purchased Chromebook PCs for a certain number of secondary schools, which will then make this IT equipment available to those pupils who need it most.
The delivery of these began over the course of this Literacy Week, meaning distance learning should no longer be a problem for high school students in low-income households.
Literacy Week is now over, but the many efforts and projects around acquiring digital skills remain necessary. The Week highlighted the many aspects surrounding this issue, but it remains a permanent challenge. The BRIC will continue to contribute to this, with a 2018-2022 action plan for digital inclusion and with the appointment of a digital inclusion co-ordinator. More information about the action plan can be found at: https://smartcity.brussels/digital-inclusion
. You can also contact the co-ordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org!