Bridging the digital divide: a prerequisite for global egovernment

LACHAL, Jérémy and PEICH, Muy-Cheng (2018) Bridging the digital divide: a prerequisite for global egovernment. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2018 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Transform Libraries, Transform Societies in Session 233 - Government Information and Official Publications.

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Language: French (Original)
Available under licence Creative Commons Attribution.


Bridging the digital divide: a prerequisite for global egovernment

In the last decades, efforts to bridge the digital divide have focused on access, i.e. ensuring that everyone is connected to the internet. Inequalities remain though: over half the world population still doesn’t have internet access, mostly underprivileged individuals in both developing countries and industrialised countries. The last few years, in particular with the emergence of e-government initiatives, made it clear that accessibility is as important an issue. In France, 39% of adults are worried about having to undertake administrative procedure online. And above 40% of the young people accompanied by local job centers don’t have an email address and don’t know how to look for a job online, while 80% of the job offers are now published only and 1 in 3 job offers is solely advertised on the internet. Building citizens’ digital skills is therefore a necessity. Otherwise, we will face growing inequalities and further marginalisation of the most vulnerable populations. Aware of these risks, and aiming at empowering the most fragile individuals through access to information and education, Libraries Without Borders (LWB) has launched, in 2014, “The Digital Travelers”, a digital literacy and coding program relying on grassroot initiatives. Volunteers citizens and education and information professionals, among which librarians play a key role, are trained to run digital literacy and coding workshops: free and open to everyone, these workshops aim at providing children, adolescents and adults with the skills they need to fully take their place as citizen in an increasingly digital world. Since 2014, the program has scaled at the national level and has reached more than 5.000 individuals. In our presentation, we will highlight the impacts of the program on academic and professional achievement, cognitive development, but also on social inclusion, empowerment and citizenship, advocating for the inclusion of a digital literacy capacity building strategy for all in e-governments initiatives.

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