Closing the digital divide in Indigenous communities

UNDA’s Professor Selma Alliex and Illuminance Solutions chief Nilesh Makwana (The eRecord)

The University of Notre Dame Australia and a Perth-based ICT consultancy have joined forces to launch an initiative designed to increase digital literacy among Indigenous people in Broome. Source: The eRecord.

Training programs will be run by Illuminance Solutions staff from UNDA’s Broome campus and will be open to all adults in the community, not just students.

Illuminance Solutions chief Nilesh Makwana said the impact digital literacy has on so many areas of life – from using the internet and being able to use online banking, to receiving quality education, and securing employment – has made digital literacy essential for all Australians.

According to the 2016 Census, nearly half of Indigenous households in remote Australia have no access to the Internet at home, “resulting in increasingly low digital literacy rates among Aboriginals”.

“Unfortunately, there is a digital divide emerging in Australia, particularly among Aboriginal communities, with the problem compounded by the rapid rate of technological advancements,” Mr Makwana said.

“As Australia becomes increasingly digitised, it’s crucial that our nation’s first people have equal opportunities to participate in education and employment.”

The digital literacy training programs are focused on providing a basic understanding of Microsoft Office programs.

UNDA Chief Operation Officer Claire Stanford stated that Broome campus has a mission to support reconciliation and “therefore have an important role to play in overcoming the challenges that many Kimberley people have in accessing and using digital technologies.”

“Students in the Kimberley are geographically disadvantaged and digital literacy is a critical component of any effort to bring about educational equity to Aboriginal people in this region,” Ms Stanford said.

The joint initiative is anticipated to run four times in 2020, with training courses running up to two days, starting at a beginner’s level and then advancing to more intermediate concepts.

The first digital literacy-training program is expected to be held early next year.

FULL STORY

UNDA and Illuminance Solutions unite to advance digital literacy (The eRecord)  

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