ITU and Cisco in joint digital skills initiative
Tackling the digital skills gap in communities is a global imperative
Digital Transformation Centres, an initiative between ITU and Cisco, has been launched at the ongoing ITU Telecoms World to run digital skills training programmes globally.
Providing digital skills training is key to bridging the digital divide. Digital skills are needed at all levels: at the basic level, to help people connect and benefit from Internet services and applications; at the intermediate level, to help students and job seekers get the necessary skills required by the digital economy; and at the advanced level to increase the pool of ICT experts and meet the demands of the industry.
This initiative targets people who need basic digital skills to use digital tools and access e-services and those who seek to enhance their basic and intermediate skills. It also targets entrepreneurs who wish to develop their businesses and it assists policy-makers in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes related to digital skills, with the overall objective of enabling a successful national digital transformation process.
“We are proud to partner with Cisco to enhance digital literacy," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “We call on governments, the private sector, development agencies, local communities and other stakeholders to help us advance this initiative."
To kick-start the initiative, ITU and Cisco will identify 10 Digital Transformation Centres to participate in the first phase, which will run for 18 months starting in January 2020. The Centres selected will be located in the Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific regions.
“Today half the world is online, but raw connectivity alone will not solve development challenges," said Doreen Bogdan-Martin, director of the ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau. “Research shows that lack of digital knowledge and skills has emerged as a major barrier to Internet uptake, digital inclusion and digital transformation, especially in developing countries. The Digital Transformation Centres Initiative is designed to strengthen the effectiveness of current activities in the field of capacity development by providing training programmes to meet and address local needs, and address technology trends, developments and gaps. It is also a step forward to help our membership implement their regional initiatives in this field."