eGOS – eGuidance and eGovernment Services (eGOS)

Published on: 24/09/2010
Document

The project will aim at improving employability and guidance practitioners' capacity building through the activities of a prototype service that will enable the delivery of educational and vocational e-guidance services, also to cross-border mobility. This eGOS system will enable decision makers in charge with educational, training and employment policies to reach also those citizens that, for different reasons, wouldn't be able to take benefit from traditional guidance services. 

In a long term, the system will allow decision makers to reduce management costs and procedures of the services (i.e. less human resources needed, less clients to the traditional services, etc.). E-guidance practitioners will be trained during the project in order to be able to manage the system and to deliver "traditional" educational and vocational actions through the use of ICT tools hosted on a multi-channel open source platform (WISP - Web-based Integrated Services Platform). eGOS e-guidance services will be accessible from final beneficiaries from Internet on their home PC, from EG-kiosks placed in their living areas and from EG-stations within the tester partners' or any associated organization.

Policy Context

The eGOS (E-GOvernance and e-guidance Services) develops a prototype system enabling the delivery of educational and vocational e-guidance services, also to cross-border mobility purposes, by using distance ICT tools. It aims to deliver integrated and customized services to people that, for different reasons, have difficult access - or no access at all - to traditional help-desks.

Two main policy priorities are supported: 1. FINAL USERS' EMPLOYABILITY. Final users (especially those in disadvantaged conditions due to problems of geographical, physical, personal or professional order) will improve their knowledge and competences in different areas, thus increasing their own employability profile. 2. THE CAPACITY BUILDING OF GUIDANCE PRACTITIONERS. They will be trained to the use of ICT-based tools for e-guidance delivery. They will use the eGOS prototype during the pilots and after the project ends.

In addition, the system will allow DECISION MAKERS to extend their penetration on targets and - in a long term - to reduce management costs and procedures of the services delivery (i.e. less human resources needed, less clients to the traditional services, and so on).

It involves 21 partners from 5 countries:

  • Provincia di Arezzo (Italy) Project Co-ordinator
  • Melius (Italy) Tech/transnational Co-ordinator and Core partner (contents/ methodology)
  • Lynx (Italy) Core partner (software)
  • Totem (Italy) Core partner (hardware)
  • MasterStudio (Italy) Core partner (design/communication/dissemination)
  • City Hall of Iasi (Romania) Tester partner
  • The East Iceland Knowledge Network (Iceland) Trainer partner
  • Diputación de Jaén - Jaén Provincial Government (Spain) Tester partner
  • FAFFE - Fundación Andaluza Fondo de Formación y Empleo Andalusian Foundation for Training and Employment (Spain) Trainer partner
  • Camara de Comercio de Jaén - Chamber of Commerce of Jaén (Spain) Tester partner
  • SAITC, State Agency for Information Technology and Communications Evaluator partner (Bulgaria)
  • Znanie Association Sofia (Bulgaria) Trainer partner
  • iCentres Association (Bulgaria) Tester partner
  • POLYMETIS (Bulgaria) Evaluator partner
  • Ayuntamiento de Vila-Real - Vila-Real City Council (Spain) Tester partner
  • Municipality of Hafnarfjordur (Iceland) Evaluator partner
  • University of Iceland, Research Liaison Office/EuroGuidance Centre (Iceland) Tester partner
  • Cooperativa O.R.So. (Italy) Tester partner
  • Associazione Gi.O.C. (Italy) Evaluator Partner
  • Cooperativa sociale Studio Progetto 2 (Italy) Tester partner
  • E.N.A.P. (Italy) Trainer partner

Description of target users and groups

The main solution offered by the system will be to reach a wider number of citizens in order to realize the integration of innovative and traditional guidance services, to offer the widest range of guidance actions to the widest range of beneficiaries:

  • Citizens living in remote geographical areas;
  • Citizens living in areas with no or few traditional guidance services;
  • Citizens with little flexibility in time: workers, women with children. They will be able to access the eGOS guidance services also after the closing time of the traditional guidance centres from home or from EG-kiosks;
  • Citizens with reduced mobility capacities: people with health or physical mobility problems, seniors;
  • Social challenged citizens as school drop-outs;
  • "Shy" users preferring the intermediation of ICT-based tools than direct relationship with a practitioner.

The pilots' target is to deliver e-guidance services to about 5.000 users from the 5 countries involved.

At the same time, the aim of the project is to select a GROUP OF INTEREST made by public and private bodies interested in adopting (after the pilots' end) the eGOS system to deliver e-Government contents.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Pilots are actually installed in limited areas of Italy, Bulgaria, Spain and Romania; Iceland is involved too but no kiosks are installed. During prototype, the development of the project is limited to these countries.

The validation will be acquired after a two-year test, through a step-by-step monitoring of the activities. At the project's end, the eGOS core partners will commercialise the system, suitable to deliver - besides eGuidance and eGovernment - further contents such as tourist and health issues, and so on.

Technology solution

When we speak of eGOS as an "integrated system" we mean that:

1. The eGOS prototype will be jointly used with already existing traditional educational and vocational guidance services. Users who won't use distance guidance activities will have the possibility to receive help and advice in a traditional way as always. Thus, the digital divide won't be improved but, on the contrary, information and training activities for final users will be organised during the project length;

2. The eGOS prototype will be based on a multi-channel open source platform called WISP - Web-based Integrated Services Platform - that will enable e-guidance practitioners to deliver their information, advice and help services to final beneficiaries by using different ICT-based tools such as video-conferencing, e-mail, chat-rooms, fora, etc.

3. The service will be based on the integrated use of software, hardware and contents' supply.

Software: The WISP - Web-based Integrated Services Platform - is a multi-channel open source platform that will enable the delivery by guidance practitioners and the use by final beneficiaries of the eGOS services.

The external layer, the only one visible for users, has been divided in five main parts:

1. Content Management System (for general public and for partners, http://www.egos-cip.eu)

2. The core WISP system, that is:

2.1 Content Management System (for final users, deployment of first level service, http://www.egos-cip.eu/wisp)

2.2 Booking System for Multichannel Services (reserved for clients, switchers and e-practitioners, http://www.egos-cip.eu/wisp)

3. An E-Learning Platform (only for e-practitioners' training, http://egos-cip.eu/elearning)

4. A videoconferencing system (for partners, for e-practitioners' training and for e-guidance)

Part 1 (the eGOS public CMS and partnership collaboration/communication environment) has been based on an existing, opensource, CMS, Drupal (www.drupal.org). This section contains also the newsletter module and a repository that is used by all partners to submit common documents.

Parts 2.1 and 2.2 (the core WISP system) were build on the same internal layer, that is:

A. A Database Management System with a central user database

B. A set of Communication Tools: internal messages, mail, chat, audio-video conference

C. A single HTML rendering engine, designed to ensure accessibility and portability on every device (EG-kiosk, EG-station, ...) for all information produced in eGOS.

The WISP Data Base (2A and 3A) has been carefully designed:

  • A common DB with users table, tester table, service tables
  • One DB for every tester in every country (Italy: 3, Spain: 3, Romania: 1, Iceland: 1, Bulgaria: 1) with service-related tables, agenda, messages, and so on.

A software layer has been interposed between the application's layers (Multiport classes) to ensure that every WISP module connects with the right DB.

The HTML rendering engine is based upon the ARE libraries, developed by Lynx. ARE (ADA Rendering Engine) is composed by CORE (Common Output Rendering Engine) and ALE (ADA Layout Engine).

Part 3 (the e-learning platform) has been based on an existing, opensource, e-learning platform, Moodle (www.moodle.org).

Part 4 (the videoconferencing subsystem) has been based on an existing, opensource, videoconferencing platform, OpenMeetings (http://code.google.com/p/openmeetings/).

Hardware: The EG-kiosks are kiosks from where final beneficiaries will be able to benefit from the guidance activities instead of going to traditional guidance services. They are set up in geographically remote areas; in areas with few or no traditional guidance services; near public centres (i.e. employment centres, universities, etc.) in order to deliver guidance services after the closing time of the traditional guidance centres; within public centres where no practitioners giving support to clients (i.e. sport centres, chambers of commerce, etc.).

The EG-stations are PC stations equipped with tokens in order to protect personal and sensible users' data as they can be used both by e-guidance practitioners delivering the eGOS services to their clients (practitioners will have smart cards) and by final beneficiaries in documentation and self-consultation areas of the tester partner or associated organisations. Final beneficiaries will be able autonomously to use the eGOS services or with the help of an e-practitioner.

Technology choice: Standards-based technology, Mainly (or only) open standards, Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

The eGOS services will be accessible by final BENEFICIARIES from Internet on their home PC, from EG-kiosks placed in their living areas and from EG-stations within the tester partners' or any associated organisation.

E-guidance PRACTITIONERS will efficiently deliver "traditional" educational and vocational actions (up to 4 levels will be available, from self-information to interactive advice and counselling) by means of chat, email, forum, videoconference tools.

Local governments will reduce the costs of professional orientation and training, and will improve the relationship with the people, surpassing the traditional frontal approach.

Lessons learnt

The lessons learnt field will be completed in the coming months as the information becomes available.

Scope: Cross-border, Local (city or municipality)