Widespread access to modern information and communication technologies (internet, TV, telephone) is considered to be a driving factor behind the EU’s efforts to become the world’s leading knowledge-based economy (Lisbon strategy). However, poverty or lack of basic ICT skills still prevent this ambition from turning into reality, while at the same time effectively barring businesses from potentially highly lucrative markets in the EU-15 as well as in the new member states.
The city of Ghent has developed a long-term strategy with a horizon of 2020. Many issues, such as the digital divide, have become strategic programmes (18 in total). This means that the city recognises these problems as a priority and wishes to deal with them through a horizontal strategy and with the help of many organisations active directly or indirectly with the issue. The strategic programme ‘Digital divide of the city of Ghent’ aims to provide equal opportunities to all inhabitants when it comes to information, communication and participation. More, better and more regular usage of ICT (PC, internet, digital TV etc.) at school, at work and at home and in free time is the goal. This will be realised through a well-balanced combination of solutions focusing not only on material access but also recognising the need for better skills and a greater motivation to learn.
The project ‘Digital Week’, which originated in France in 1998, helps the city council to reach this goal. The first Belgian Digital Week was organised in 2001 and in 2009 the city of Ghent will participate in the Digital Week for the fourth time. During this event the Ghent city council, the city services and external partners will organise various free activities at different locations in Ghent. This Digital Week aims to awaken an interest in the capabilities of ICT applications for a wide audience in order to achieve effective and regular usage of ICT. The target group is very diverse: seniors, youth, families with low incomes, city staff, scholars, people with disabilities, etc. The Gent city council calls on local organisations (associations, schools, social service departments, cultural centres, etc.) to propose activities concerning the internet or new media, either by themselves or through some sort of cooperation. The interested organisations will have the opportunity of a free booth at the ‘Digital Doebeurs’, the kick-off event for the ‘Digital Week’ in the Ghent cultural centre ‘De Centrale’. After every Digital Week, all the organisations sit together to evaluate the efforts and make decisions regarding the next Digital Week.
|Award category:||partnership working|
|Sector:||Education (higher and lower), training and learning|
|Type of activity:|
|Keywords:||Digital divide, access, IT technologies|
|Short English description:||This Digital Week aims to awaken an interest in the capabilities of ICT applications for a wide audience in order to achieve effective and regular usage of ICT. The target group is very diverse: seniors, youth, families with low incomes, city staff, scholars, people with disabilities, etc.|
|Organisation:||City of Ghent|
|Level of government:||local level|
|Size of organisation:||>100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|