Opportunities for senior citizens to acquire technological skills are few and far between in Hungary, leading to high rates of digital exclusion amongst this group. 84% of people aged 55 to 74 have no computer skills in Hungary, in contrast to the European average of 65% (Eurostat report on e-society, June 2006). This lack of access and understanding can leave senior citizens feeling out of touch from society. It means they miss out on all of the opportunities the Internet offers, like helping them keep in touch with family and up to date with healthcare services. In 2006 UPC Hungary extended the Budapest Cultural Centreâ€™s (BCC) computer learning programme for senior citizens (launched in 2002 solely in Budapest) by developing and sponsoring the â€˜Click on it Grandmaâ€™ programme, which helps senior citizens and retired people overcome the main obstacles for computer and Internet usage. Issues include unfamiliarity, lack of knowledge, motivation and cost. With the help of UPC, BCCâ€™s practical courses for senior citizens are now run nationwide in community centres. â€˜Click on it Grandmaâ€™ courses are offered at a symbolic price (EUR 4), and in 2006, 367 senior citizens benefited, compared to only 400 between 2002 and 2005. In 2007 more than 1200 people joined the courses, thus the number of digitally skilled seniors educated by this programme increased up to 2000.
UPC Hungaryâ€™s â€˜Click On It Grandma!â€™ program is part of Liberty Globalâ€™s eInlcusion community investment program (IN) which promotes digital inclusivity by widening access, enhancing skills and creating opportunities for the communities where we operate. For us, the digital divide is about all technologies â€“ not just internet but also digital TV and telephony. And, itâ€™s about access, skills and opportunities.
Access is the first issue that our IN programme addresses. Our initiatives give people the tools and equipment to participate in the digital world. However, we feel that access alone is not enough; people who have access can still feel excluded from the digital world.
Our second focus is therefore on giving people the skills they need to use digital products and services safely, securely and effectively. Once people are able to effectively use our services we want to help them make the most of everything our digital products and services offer. Full digital inclusion encompasses understanding how to use digital tools for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole, and how to harness the power of technology to help make the world a better place.
Our final investment area is therefore opportunities. Thus, our IN the Community e-inclusion program falls under the EUâ€™s eInclusion policy priority of ICT and ageing. The European Commission has set â€œageing well in the communityâ€ as one of three distinct life situations where age-friendly ICT based services have the potential to play a prominent role. Older people are, according to the EU, at particular risk of missing out the benefits of the information society because many of them do not have access to communication networks or because they do not have the appropriate education. UPC Hungaryâ€™s project strives to overcome these hurdles by providing training and education for the elderly.
Description of target users and groups
According to the Eurostat report on e-society 2005 (published in June 20, 2006), in the EU25 on average 65% of people aged 55 to 74 has no computer skills. In Hungary this percentage is as high as 84%! (By far the highest rate among any age groups in HU and ranking the country on the 5th place in EU25.) The target group of the Kattints rÃƒÂ¡, Nagyi! (Click On It, Grandma!) programme is the elderly aged 55 and over, living in the major cities, being active or inactive (retired or unemployed), mainly women but also men.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
The Click On It Grandma! programme relies on a computer learning course for senior citizens developed by Budapest Cultural Center (BCC) and launched in 2002 solely in one district of the capital city of Budapest. BCC, an educational methodology centre had then a mature, well established PC/Internet curriculum targeted to meet the needs of the elderly and also has established good relations with all local cultural and community centres nationwide.
UPC Hungary joined and sponsored BCC in 2006, in order to extend the courses beyond Budapest, set up a nationwide educational network and develop a national programme, first and still unique in its kind in the country. UPC also provides help in publicity, making the programme more known among seniors. This cooperation proved to be a good example of a private-public-partnership.
The Click On It Grandma! programme is currently run in 12 cities, with 10 courses of groups of 10 in each sites, per year. For practicing purposes, each site provides internet access points free of charge for the participants during and after the courses. In addition to the courses, Click On It Grandma programme has formed â€˜self-teaching circlesâ€™ in every city.
Conventional technology is being used with a specifically developed textbook and website which becomes a future point of reference for the participants.
Technology choice: Standards-based technology
Main results, benefits and impacts
The â€˜Click On It Grandma!â€™ programme is currently run in 12 cities, with 10 courses of groups of 10 on average in each sites, per year. This means 1,200 seniors complete the courses in 2007 and this number is expected to grow further in the years to come. The number of participants has nearly doubled in 2006 when UPC joined the initiative, compared to the aggregated number of graduated seniors between 2002 and 2005, and the overall number (2002-2006) has doubled again in 2007, the first entire year with the partnership of UPC.
In 2006, Budapest Cultural Center (BCC) extended the programme beyond Budapest and set up a nationwide educational network to launch courses franchised, administrated and supervised by BCC. Currently this is the largest programme of its kind in Hungary. The demand for the programme is so high that there are long waiting lists in each city.
Each Click On It Grandma course consists of 25 hours over a period of 6 weeks, is conducted by qualified instructors, and prepared by the BCC. Participants receive a professionally prepared and printed 50-page textbook with examples, exercises and additional information. The practice-oriented e-skills learning and training courses developed by BCC are specially designed for and targeted to meet the special needs of senior citizens, and are also compliant to the laws on adult education. Participants learn step by step about computers and internet in general, how to find relevant and useful information on the web, how to send emails and use chat, forums, discussion groups, share pictures etc. Practical courses provide a solid base of knowledge and skills that can be deepened by further practices. For this purpose, the sites of the courses (cultural and community centers, libraries, telehouses) provide internet access points free of charge during and after the courses.
In addition to the courses, Click ON It Grandma has formed â€˜self-teaching circlesâ€™ in every city. Click On It Grandma Clubs have been created, where current and former participants and others citizens get together to further talk, learn and share ICT experiences and knowledge.
Return on investment
Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available
Track record of sharing
Click On It Grandma has been presented as a best practice in the first ever e-Inclusion report from Hungary, made by BME-UNESCO Center for Research on Information Society and Trends (ITTK: www.ittk.hu
) and the Forum of the Hungarian IT Organizations for Information Society (INFORUM: http://www.inforum.org.hu/
Presented to the Ministry of Equal Opportunities, the report describes Click On It Grandma has the only one of its kind in Hungary and makes specific recommendations regarding ICT and the elderly in preparation for the e-Inclusion Initiative 2008.
Key conclusions include the need to: (1) improve the motivation regarding information society, (2) introduce new tools for the propagation of knowledge on the Internet and (3) prepare and educate disadvantaged groups. The study reports that the senior education structure in Hungary needs to be further developed and the central and local educational initiatives need to be further supported.
In the best practices section the study presents 9 different types of initiatives, including the Click On It Grandma programme (p. 40). In addition to a short description of the programme, the report emphasizes that seniors are a target group with unique needs since they tend to be more inflexible, less open to new knowledge and technical novelties, and have significant fears regarding innovations. Therefore, ICT educational programmes targeted at seniors should surmount these fears and disadvantages to achieve successes.
Lesson 1 - There is a strong need and demand to support seniors in their e-inclusion. Seniors, contrary to adopted stereotypes, want to learn about ICT and use it in a daily basis. They key is to provide them with the opportunity. Seniors are active and do not want to be left behind. They appreciate the role of technology, and are extremely grateful for the support offered to them.
Lesson 2 - Great value of the courses for participants and society. The courses stimulate personal development, build self-esteem, allow for more efficient communication, and reduce loneliness.
Lesson 3 - Internet is a great tool for linking generations, through (1) bringing seniors together, (2) building bridges and relationships, (3) strengthening the role of seniors in families (seniors are slowly loosing their positions in todayâ€™s world of technology), (4) helping form vibrant communities and (5) to find stimulate a meaningful and productive time during retirement.
Lesson 4 - Effective example of public private partnership between a commercial company - UPC - and the Budapest Cultural Center as well as community centres. This PPP gives an additional value to the program and makes it more professional and credible.