The Government of Malta and Microsoft agreed to cooperate in establishing Malta as a regional ICT-Hub. Government secured a long-term agreement with the multi-national software giant Microsoft Corporation. This agreement allowed thousands of students to be eligible for the three software initiatives that have been launched to date since 2003. Through the agreement, the Maltese government was one of the first governments in Europe to enrol in the Government Security Programme.
eAccessibility is one of the focuses of e-Inclusion. While accessibility is a wide concept, e-Accessibility deals mainly with aspects linked to the Information Society. It encompasses the practices that empower people to fully benefit from ICT and information society.
Description of target users and groups
All software initiatives target Maltese students, teachers and persons with disability.
Description of the way to implement the initiative
Agreements were struck to manage this initiative jointly.
Technology choice: Proprietary technology
Main results, benefits and impacts
In order to eliminate the digital divide and boost the information and communication technology skills, Maltese students, teachers and persons with disability benefited from the 98% subsidies of the cost of the Microsoft Office XP Professional, Visual Basic Studio and Office Professional. This was the first launch of software at a reduced price. This alone constituted an investment of about â‚¬46.59m.
In 2005, students, teachers and persons with disability were again offered a new discounted software package. This time round it consisted of the HelloIT-pack which was being sold for a reduced price of â‚¬32.59. The software package consisted of Microsoft-Office-Professional 2003, Visual-Studio.Net 2003, Encarta-Reference-Library-Premium Suite 2005 and the Class Server License.
As part of the Vertical Strategic Alliance between the MITC and Microsoft students and teachers are now taking advantage of the third software initiative. The package includes Windows-Vista-Ultimate-Upgrade and Office-2007-Enterprise at the price â‚¬107.15 which is much cheaper than the original price sold in retail outlets. The version offered is the most extensive as the software offers a number of facilities beyond what is normally found in software provided for home use.
The Governmentâ€™s drive towards the information society and economy wants to prevent the risk of leaving a minority of individuals lagging behind those who are in a position to harness technology and use it in their social and economical activities.
The impact was thousands of students benefiting from software at a significantly discounted price overcoming the financial barriers generally latched to technology.
Offering the latest software available on the market is an advantage for people to keep themselves up to date.
Return on investment
Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available
Track record of sharing
An education and awareness campaign was developed encouraging students, teachers and persons with disability to take the opportunity and purchase the software package at a reduced price.
Lesson 1 - Interest in technology is high, especially when it is affordable.
Lesson 2 - Critical to partner with the private sector, as most initiatives wouldnâ€™t be possible with Government funding alone.