A few days ago the 3-year project Your Course: Digital Literacy was completed in the Volgograd region, Russia. The project included not only Volgograd, a city with 2.5+ million inhabitants, but also small towns and remote villages.
Villages of the Uryupinsk district actively participated in the project, according to Ludmila Nikolayevna Pastukhova, a department manager from the Uryupinsk Central District Library. Among participants of the project were both young and older people, educated ones and less educated. Everybody was welcome into the program to fill the gap of the digital divide.
The "Your Course" program arrived at the rural area and helped overcome the complex psychology of total absence of IT competency at the village. Adult people came to the classroom, saying, “I am a zero in computer technologies” and after a while they left saying they got confidence and acquired a new level of self-esteem.
These people opened a new door in their lives. Their eyes had opened and saw the world through the World Wide Web. New job opportunities, new goods and services, new customers for small businesses – the list may be never-ending.
The major advertising in this area is word-of-mouth. People tell their stories to relatives and neighbours. There are 28,000+ individuals in the Uryupinsk district and there are more potential students than those who have already completed the course (about 100 students).
Some alumni of the program claim that they are now more respected by their neighbours, because they have discovered new knowledge. Four local libraries – Mikhaylovskaya, Olshanskaya, Dobrinskaya and Petrovskaya created their blogs. One of the librarians used the Internet to help her friends find a hospital and help a patient to get an eye surgery.
This year, the Your Course project will focus on young people and on delivering ICT skills to this target audience.
Let’s wish good luck to our colleagues!
I will inform you with their progress when I get more information.
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