THE LEVEL of digital literacy in Slovakia has not changed over the past two years. Though the Slovak digital literacy rate is higher than the European average the situation is far from ideal as one quarter of the country’s population cannot operate a PC or a mobile phone and it is a lack of will, rather than a lack of money, that is the cause. That is the conclusion drawn by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) think tank based on the results from its fourth annual Digital Literacy in Slovakia project. “There is a digital abyss,” said Marián Velšic, the author of the study, in announcing the results in mid September, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “On one side there are people willing and able to take lessons, while others refuse to learn or do not even wish to be taught.” Velšic stated that the project found no change in the situation over the past two years and that people who wanted or needed to work with modern technologies had learned to do so but are now standing still because they think they know everything they need to know, adding that only new technologies would force these people to progress in the future.
The institute conducted its nationwide survey in June on a sample of 1,138 respondents over age 14 and wrote that 76 percent of the population can be classified as digitally literate based on their knowledge of at least one of 28 digital abilities that were examined. Some of the common tasks that were studied were: working with computers (including laptops, tablets and smart phones); sending short messages and multimedia messages; e-mail communication; working with text processors and internet browsers; searching for information; registration for various services on the internet; and printing documents.
The report noted that younger people with better education from bigger towns have been better able to master information and telecommunication technologies. The strongest motivation in increasing digital literacy is one’s job or, among young people, accessing entertainment possibilities. Velšic noted that as the technology, application or service becomes more sophisticated, the share of the population that has mastered it decreases, using as an example internet banking, which he said only half of the surveyed Slovaks know how to use. By analogy, he warned that electronisation of public administration may bring considerable problems if the level of digital literacy is not improved.
14. Nov 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff