Aiming to encourage Information Society in Lithuania, the Langas į ateitį alliance (Window to the Future, in English) has recently completed the project called ‘Online services for a Lithuanian eCitizen’. During the 2-year project more than 16 200 adults learnt how to use computers, the Internet, as well as public and business eServices.
The project was funded by the European Social Fund.
The training courses focused on 3 main target groups: unemployed, people with disabilities and rural population. The project promoted a solution of the social exclusion problem arising due to the limited possibilities of people to use modern technologies. Having learnt to use computer, the Internet and eServices, representatives mostly of socially vulnerable groups are able to integrate more quickly into the community life and labour market and have more possibilities to study and communicate.
Before the start of the 'Online Services for the Lithuanian eCitizen' project, the results of various researches revealed that Lithuania was behind the EU average in the use of computers, the Internet and especially eServices:
- one third of Lithuanian adults do not have any ICT knowledge at all; the majority of adults evaluate their ICT knowledge as average;
- only 15 % of economically inactive people (e.g. unemployed, retired) has good ICT knowledge;
- a great geographical divide exists: about half of the citizens of rural areas evaluate their ICT knowledge as poor;
- a great demographical divide exists: the majority of young people have good ICT knowledge, while the majority of people 45+ have poor ICT skills;
- most of the computer literate people still do not use any public or business eServices.
The project is considerably contributing to the implementation of the goals of the Overall Computer Literacy Programme of Lithuania. The training programmes of the project 'Online Services for the Lithuanian eCitizen' not only cover technical skills of computer use but also provide knowledge about the possibilities offered by the Internet, available public information and eServices, search of information, email, business eServices, social networks, job search, etc.
Description of target users and groups
The training courses focused on 3 main target groups: unemployed, people with disabilities and rural population. The project promoted a solution of the social exclusion problem arising due to the limited possibilities of people to have access to modern technologies. Having learnt to use computer, the Internet and eServices, representatives mostly of socially vulnerable groups are able to integrate more quickly into the community life and labour market and have more possibilities to study and communicate.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
The following bodies were involved in the implementation and management of the project:
- An administrative group consisting of five Langas į ateitį employees: project managers (responsible for the activity planning and coordinating, communication with social partners and service providers, problem solving, reporting to the European Social Fund Agency), two coordinators (engaged in project publicity, attracting participants, communicating with social partners), a project accountant and a supervisor.
- Project logistics were purchased from an experienced organisation, which was responsible for searching and hiring trainers and suitable classrooms (over 400 trainers and classrooms throughout the country), hiring online training curators (two full-time tutors), preparing training material, preparing student workbooks for every participant, forming learning groups and registering participants to the courses.
- Social partners: 28 regional branches of the Lithuanian Labour Exchange, 35 municipal public libraries in Lithuania and the Society for the Physically Disabled of Lithuania. Social partners significantly contributed to the spreading of information about the trainings and to inviting participants (unemployed, people with disabilities and residents of rural areas) to the courses. It is also important to mention that the majority of the rural population was trained in public libraries (the courses were organised in 350 library branches in rural areas).
Additionally, as the project was organised on a national level, almost in all of the country’s 60 municipalities simultaneously, with more than 400 trainers, a Database Management System (DMS) has been developed. It was used by the project team, social partners, trainers and supervisors of the project for the following needs: record available trainers and classrooms, schedule classes, register course participants, help trainers follow the examination proceeding, enable every course participant to take the final test, help the project team to effectively coordinate the public campaign on the project and have general statistical data about every course participant. The DMS enabled the project team to follow the training process online, evaluate the quality of trainings and summarise the data about course participants.
Technology solutionTechnology choice: Standards-based technology, Mainly (or only) open standards
Main results, benefits and impacts
The ICT trainings of the project were attended by more than 16 200 participants. The results show that:
- Knowledge is important for both the urban and the rural population
The ambition to understand modern technologies was equally strong among urban and rural population. Once the appropriate conditions for learning were offered, the residents of smaller areas of Lithuania willingly attended the courses and showed their interest in the opportunities offered by the Internet. The majority of the rural population was trained in public libraries: courses were organised in 350 library branches.
- Computer and Internet help the labour market
More than half of the courses’ participants were unemployed people, one-third had jobs, whereas 14 % of the course graduates introduced themselves as economically inactive citizens. The survey results show that even average or lower-skilled jobs on today’s labour market require ICT skills, as workplaces are becoming increasingly dependent on modern technologies.
The majority of the unemployed were invited to the courses by the 28 regional Labour Exchange branches.
- Trainings encouraged the use of eServices
Project participants were asked to evaluate their habits and needs to use computer and the Internet before the courses and after completion of the courses. The majority of the participants said that after the courses:
- They rather use the computer more frequently for their work;
- They use the Internet for information search more often;
- More unemployed people use the acquired skills for job-seeking purposes;
- Internet is used more frequently for both entertainment and self-education.
Return on investmentReturn on investment: Not applicable / Not available
- There is a need in Lithuania for basic ICT training, as a lot of people still lack computer literacy knowledge and skills. Furthermore more people become better at ICT use and tare aware of specific issues they want to learn during the trainings - e.g. job search, eServices use, specific computer programs use, etc. A lesson for future projects would be to organise short-term trainings on various specific ICT topics.
- During the project training participants were introduced to online learning. This method of learning was very well accepted as it offered the possibility to learn flexibly at the most suitable time. During the project, 10 online courses of eServices were prepared. Additionally, after the completion of the project, participants have a possibility to study in other online courses of Langas į ateitį.
- The online DMS is very important for large scale projects. It enables the project team to timely follow the training process online, evaluate the quality of trainings and summarise the data about course participants.