In today’s world, it’s hard to imagine a life without digital tools. The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of digital technology, making it an essential tool in people’s lives worldwide. However, not everyone has been able to embrace this change due to the digital divide. And in Italy, over 9 million people are still not connected to the Internet, highlighting the severity of this issue.
According to the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), Italy ranks 18th out of the 27 states belonging to the European Union in 2022. This ranking indicates that there is still much work to be done to bridge the digital divide and provide all access to digital tools and competencies.
The benefits of digital technology are vast, from improving education and healthcare to boosting the economy. Therefore, bridging the digital divide will not only improve the lives of those who are currently excluded but will also benefit society as a whole.
The ST Foundation’s Presence
In 2003, the DU Program was launched with the help of Italian ST volunteers. They assisted the Foundation in reaching out to vulnerable groups near the Agrate ST plant to help them become acquainted with computers.
The Program has developed over time, reaching new beneficiaries and at-risk contexts, providing the Foundation with extensive experience and expertise with specific audiences such as children, migrants, older people, and inmates.
As the pandemic ravaged the globe, all standard activities were gradually halted. And in parallel new initiatives were launched to address the needs created by COVID-19 among the most vulnerable groups: schools, families, and the elderly, who found themselves battling the same enemies, namely isolation and a lack of digital competencies.
The Foundation has devoted its efforts to strengthening the Society Digitalisation Activities in this direction by:
- Creating new initiatives to help the formal education system manage distance learning activities more effectively. Please see the dedicated area for more information.
- In collaboration with CREMIT (Research Center on Media Education, Innovation, and Technology), we created a new course on computational thinking to help children apply basic concepts and reasoning drawn from computing and computer science to solve problems in various contexts.
- Testing and regular cascading of the various versions of the Tablet for Senior courses (both online and onsite). All information is accessible in the dedicated section.
In parallel to the improvement of the sanitary crisis, the Foundation was able to recommence standard operations in the second half of the year, reaching over 6,200 beneficiaries since the Program’s inception as of March 2023.
 For further insights please visit: https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-italy