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Italy

The Context
The digital divide is still a reality, faced by over 7 million people in Italy, as they are not connected to the Internet. In 2021, Italy was ranked 20th out of the 27 states belonging to the European Union, according to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The research carried out by DESI shows the critical challenge Italy faces due to its population’s low level of digital skills, ranking the country among low performers.

This situation deteriorated as Covid 19 unfolded, revealing how over 30% of Italian households did not have the right tools and competencies to support their children in continuing studying during the e-learning transition.

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 fragile 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 very hard, all standard activities were gradually suspended. New initiatives were launched to quickly 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 enemy: 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.

With the improvement of the sanitary crisis, the last months of the years also see the resuming of standard activities reaching over 5,800 beneficiaries since the Program’s inception.