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The Context
Digital has become an essential tool in people’s lives around the globe. And this is particularly true nowadays, two years after the pandemic’s beginning. However, this transition to a more digital life hasn’t been smooth or possible everywhere because not all households have the same tools and competencies.

The digital divide is still a reality, faced by over 9 million[1] people in Italy, as they are not connected to the Internet. In 2022, Italy was ranked 18th out of the 27 states belonging to the European Union, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). From last year’s indicators, Italy is working hard to close the gap in basic digital skills on one side. However, the global situation is not favorable from the point of view of human capital, where Italy ranks 25th as” more than half of Italian citizens do not even have basic digital skills,” according to DESI data.

The ST Foundation’s Presence
The DU Program was started with the support of the Italian ST volunteers in 2003. They helped the Foundation reach at-risk communities living near the premises of the ST plant of Agrate to help them familiarize themselves with computers.

Over the years, the Program has evolved, reaching new beneficiaries and at-risk contexts, giving the Foundation a strong experience and expertise on specific audiences such as children, migrants, the elderly, and inmates.

As the pandemic ravaged the world, hitting Italy hard, all standard activities were gradually suspended. New initiatives were launched to address the needs generated by COVID-19 among those populations who were put at risk the most:  the education world and the elderly, who both found themselves fighting against the same enemies, i.e., isolation and lack of digital competencies.

In this direction, the Foundation dedicated its efforts to strengthen the Society Digitalisazion Activities by:

  1. Developing new initiatives to assist the formal education system in better managing distance learning activities. Please visit the dedicated section for all the details;
  2. Partnering with CREMIT(Research Center on Media Education, Innovation and Technology) to create a new course on computational thinking to help children apply fundamental concepts and reasoning derived from computing and computer science to solve problems in all areas.
  3. Starting the testing and the regular cascading of the available versions of the Tablet for Senior courses: the online and the onsite options. All details are available in the dedicated section.

In parallel, in the second part of the year, along with the improvement of the sanitary crisis, the Foundation, with the support of its volunteers, was able to resume standard activities reaching over 6,000 beneficiaries since the Program’s inception.

[1] For further insights please visit: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-italy