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Improving Lives Through Digital Literacy
Digital Literacy in Asia Pacific: 1 Million and counting.
 

As we move full steam ahead into 2013, governments and businesses across Asia Pacific are becoming increasingly concerned about the level of digital literacy in their communities. According to Towers Watson’s ‘Global Talent 2021’ report, the rapidly developing digital economy is increasing the demand for highly skilled technical workers, and digital business skills are seen as most critical to economic growth especially in the Asia Pacific region.

We have been working throughout the last decade to improve education systems across the Asia Pacific Region and around the world in order to prepare the next generation for the 21st Century workplace. Digital literacy is an important component in the development of competitive, robust economies across the region. The spread of ICT and the expansion of educational opportunities have the power to transform societies.

In 2012, Intel joined with numerous organizations to improve digital literacy across the Asia Pacific. The Intel Easy Steps Program , a digital literacy program developed for learners with little or no prior computer experience, has been widely adopted across the region. We’ve worked with educational institutions, governments and non-government organizations in ten countries across the region, to deliver digital literacy skills to a wide variety of beneficiaries.

Since being established in 2010, the Intel Easy Steps digital literacy initiative has enriched the lives of more than 1 million people in 20 countries.

For example, in the Philippines, Intel Easy Steps has been incorporated across various professional development programs by TESDA , the government-run vocational education institution supporting adult learning. At the age of 40, Lorelyn Royales was one of the first to enrol at eLearningVille, a TESDA-accredited institution providing computer training using the Intel Easy Steps Program. After taking the classes, Lorelyn, who had been unable to complete college, said “I feel like I have accomplished more than completing a college education with what I have learned”. She is now one of the few employees at her work who is capable of using a computer and is proud of what she is achieving using her newfound skills.

Another success story is Simon Sikuan, whose life was changed through his participation in the Intel Easy Steps program offered at Pangasinan School of Arts & Trades, a TESDA-accredited institution. The resources and mentorship he received throughout each module of the program helped him establish a firm grasp of digital knowledge. The interactive, hands-on methods used by the teachers helped him overcome his fear and learn skills quickly.

As such, he not only developed computer skills but the course also gave him the opportunity to acquire mentorship skills through his volunteer role as an assistant facilitator in class. Simon utilized his knowledge to become a part-time tutor. He uses the Intel® Education Help Guide as a reference to help members of community acquire the computer literacy that they need to live in a digital world.

The Philippines has not only implemented the Easy Steps program with education institutions, but has also innovated, expanding the reach of the program by offering content online through a Filipino Facebook application . This application is being translated so it can be launched in other Asia Pacific countries in 2013. In Vietnam, the Easy Steps program has converted the course into a viewer-friendly television show that will air on the national VTC channel, reaching rural communities and other previously isolated groups.

In India, similar stories of success from digital literacy initiatives can found. Kali Prasad Samantaraya a tribal youth from the Manikpur village of Banpur, Odisha, India found limited employment opportunities in his rural town. In 2010, his passion for learning led him to seek a job with eKutir, a social enterprise that works on rural empowerment. In early 2011, Kali Prasad discussed the digital literacy needs of rural communities with the managing director of eKutir. Soon after, he was signed up to a two-day Intel® Easy Steps training program in New Delhi.

Kali Prasad is now the head of the Odisha digital literacy program for eKutir, “today, I help other people in my area become digitally literate”.

Programs such as Easy Steps are helping to bridge the ‘digital divide’ that restricts the opportunities for underprivileged and rural students in the Philippines and India .

In addition, Intel India worked with policy makers on the National Digital Literacy Mission , a digital literacy summit hosted by Hindustan Times and NASSCOM. Presenting at the event, the Honorable Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology, Sachin Pilot, reiterated the government’s goal of making at least one person in each household digitally literate by 2020. To achieve this objective, over 240 million Indians would need to become digitally literate.

The positive impact of Intel’s efforts to improve digital literacy are being felt across the region as people are gaining the skills required to improve their employability, access information, and utilize digital services. The next generation is entering the workforce with the skills necessary to compete effectively in the digital era.

 
Digital Literacy
 
 

For those with the skills to participate in the digitally connected world, sharing knowledge and information has never been easier. Computers and the Internet are providing the opportunity to make information more accessible, and to more evenly distribute knowledge and skills to people everywhere in the world. Yet many people across the Asia Pacific region lack the skills required to access this information and a new gap of inequity is growing as a result of this digital divide.

The benefits of technology and a connected world can only be realised if people are empowered with the knowledge and skills to access and use them. Across Asia Pacific, Intel is delivering on its long-term commitment to apply technology to enrich the lives of people by working to increase digital literacy through the Intel® Easy Steps program and by partnering with governments to increase access to technology.

In the Philippines, the Intel Easy Steps program was introduced in the small town of Tanauan early this year. Tanauan is a rural farming community in Leyte province. The local government is using the Intel Easy Steps program to teach digital literacy to the community members. They have placed a special emphasis on delivering these skills to women involved in teaching, rural healthcare, and farming. The program is having direct impact in the community and enhancing the personal and professional lives of the residents.

Gudilla Dacunay, is a preschool teacher in Tanauan who learned to use a PC through the program. She immediately saw the education potential for her students and she wrote to the local mayor asking for the loan of a laptop and projector for her school. She created presentations to teach her young students colours, numbers, letters, animals, basic spelling and more. She says that the students are excited and more engaged in class and the parents say that the students do not ever want to miss class because they think school is fun.

For Merlie Songalia, a rural healthcare worker, Intel Easy Steps was an important step in her professional development. Her organisation has moved to a computerized system and no longer used type-written records. Following her training she can now create the data profiles that are required after each household visit on the computer and submit them electronically.

Ermelinda Ganalon and her husband, a famer for hire, live on a farm they rent and are married with seven children. She took the Intel Easy Steps course in order to learn how to use a computer so she could keep in touch with her sister-in-law in Hong Kong and to help teach her own children the basics.

Tanauan’s municipal mayor, Agapito Pagayanan, says of the program: “I think it’s important because we are now in the computer age. Our constituents have to keep up with the technological developments in the international community.”

The team came across a heart warming story that emphasizes the mayor’s point on the arrival of the “computer age”. Eufemia Tolibas attended the Easy Steps training at the Tanauan Community e-Center and during the module on Internet and email she was introduced to Facebook. With the help of the trainer, she searched for her son, who she had not seen for seven years. She found him in minutes and has been able to reconnect.

Since that day they have exchanged messages through Facebook and exchanged telephone numbers. With the help of the trainer she is also planning a Skype call so she can see her son for the first time in seven years.

Improving digital literacy in communities is also critical to developing local commerce, enabling it to keep pace with the world’s ever evolving economy. For example, despite having a good education Rekha Ravat struggled to find work. Her story is a testament to the success of Intel’s partnership with the NGO Pratham which is providing young Indians with the skills demanded by the modern workplace, whether that is as an employee of a company or by empowering them to be successful innovators and entrepreneurs.

Rekha is a young woman from Bhavanikheda, a small village in Rajasthan, India. Even though education for girls is not a high priority in her community, Rekha’s parents sent her to school. She was a very good student, but after graduating, she was unable to find work in her community. Rekha felt that her life had hit a dead end, “Even after 14 years of schooling, I had nothing to show in my life! It was very depressing.” She enrolled in the computer literacy courses offered by Intel’s NGO partner, Pratham. She recognized the importance of these skills immediately and decided to pass them on to others. Rekha started her own Digital Literacy Training Center in her village and is now an entrepreneur who is not only sharing digital literacy skills with others, but she is helping to support her family financially and is respected by the people in her village. Rekha says, “I cannot thank Intel and Pratham enough for this huge change in my life!”

Through initiatives like Intel Easy Steps we are delivering digital literacy programs that empower people and build communities by improving employability and increasing economic opportunity. By doing so we believe that Intel’s communities will be able to answer the world’s future social, economic and environmental challenges. Digital literacy continues to be a key focus of Intel’s commitment to bring significant transformation to our communities in the Asia Pacific and around the world.

 
Intel® Easy Steps Program for Adult Education expands to Philippines
 
 

Intel® Easy Steps Program for Adult Education expands to Philippines In November 2010, Intel Microelectronics Philippines, Inc. signed a memorandum of understanding with the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) to begin deployment of the Intel® Easy Steps Program.

The Intel® Easy Steps program provides adult learners the opportunity to improve their social and economic self-sufficiency through digital literacy. The Intel Easy Steps materials use proven adult learning techniques to teach practical and relevant skills to people with little or no prior computer experience.

The Intel® Easy Steps program is being driven by Intel in Asia to address the digital literacy needs of government employees, as well as adults in rural communities, women, unemployed youth, and other underserved populations by delivering training on specific activities that are immediately relevant to their lives. For example, the program includes instruction on running Internet searches, using email, using word processors for creating resumes and other documents, creating spreadsheets to manage business and personal finances, and using multimedia tools to create brochures and posters to promote small businesses. Thus the program participants can develop literacy skills as well as immediately start applying the skills learnt into their personal or professional lives.

The content is also designed to be suitable for either formal or informal education settings including vocational training centers, employer training, or shared access centers.

The Intel® Easy Steps MOU signing in the Philippines is part of the company’s roll out of this new education offering in Asia after Pakistan and India. The signing was one of the highlights in the 6th Knowledge Exchange Conference on Community eCenters in the Philippines in November.

Approximately 1000 Community eCenters in the Philippines will stand to benefit from this partnership. Similar MOU’s have been signed in India and Pakistan. In India, the Digital Empowerment Foundation, a local NGO, will utilize the Intel Easy Steps program to train individuals through centers across the country, while the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports Government of India will use the program to train youth volunteers through its Youth Club network. In Pakistan, the Government of Sindh Ministry of IT will use the program to train government employees, while another semi-government organization Lahore Electricity Supply Company (LESCO) will use Intel Easy Steps to increase the digital literacy of its employees.

Discussions are ongoing with a variety of governments and NGO’s in several countries to expand the reach of this much needed training to bring digital literacy skills to people across the region.