Regional Disparities in Digital Literacy and their Impact on Digital Economy - the Case of Poland.

Monika Rozkrut 

Abstract

This paper presents recent statistical data on several aspects of the e-skills of individuals in Poland. Concerning significant  differences in the development level of regions in Poland, especially with some eastern regions assumed to be lagging behind in terms of regional value added statistics, regional differences in digital literacy are analyzed. Skills related to information, media, ICT, data, network literacy, digital citizenship, e-health  play an important role in a person’s ability to perform tasks related to education, work, culture, life. These competency areas are related to the cognitive abilities necessary in critical thinking. Unfortunately, research indicates many people are at a disadvantage across these skills, and thus it makes it an important policy issue.

In May 2010, in the European Commission Communication concerning A Digital Agenda for Europe (COM(2010) 245 final), a strategy designed to develop a digital single market in EU, in order to generate smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. The strategy focuses on seven priority areas: creating a digital single market, greater interoperability, boosting internet trust and security, providing much faster internet access, encouraging investment in research and development, enhancing digital literacy skills and inclusion, and applying ICT to address challenges facing society like climate change and the aging population. Following the strategy are next related Communication documents, i.e. “Unleashing the potential of cloud computing” (COM(2012) 529), and “A digital single market strategy (COM(2015) 192)”. The last two point to the need of faster adoption of cloud computing across all sectors of the economy, promoting better online access to goods and services across Europe, designing an optimal environment for digital networks and services to develop, ensuring that the European economy and industry takes full advantage of the digital economy as a potential driver for growth. All aforementioned policies assume that the the development of the information society is regarded as critical to meet the demands of society and the economy in general.

Information and communication technologies (ICT) affect people’s everyday lives in many ways. More and more skills are however needed and related to important activities both at work and in the home. The situation varies across the countries. Generally the statistics concerning issues of access and adoption are rather high, those concerning e-skills are lower and more diversified.  For example, as of the beginning of 2014, 78 % of all individuals in the EU-28, aged between 16 and 74 years, used the internet at least once within three months prior to the survey date. However, when testing some more advanced usage cases, e.g. aforementioned services based on cloud computing technology, which are a relatively new phenomenon, in the leading countries more than one third of individuals used internet storage space, while in lagging countries, these services were used by less than 1 in 10 individuals. These differences point out to important research questions, whether the regional differentiation in digital literacy is significant,  and related to other aspects of development, possibly impeding economic growth and social inclusion, i.e. the pillars of EU 2020 Strategy. 

Information society statistics is a part of the European Statistical System. Community surveys on the use of ICT are carried out in the EU since 2002. The harmonization work is led by Eurostat, facilitating the preparation of the model questionnaires and methodological manuals. The common objectives, assumptions, concepts and definitions are determined jointly by member states, on the basis of their needs and experiences, taking into account the needs of the European Commission and OECD recommendations. Statistics on ICT  are carried out in all EU countries on the basis of Regulation 808/2004 of 21 April 2004 concerning Community statistics on the information society, which aims to create a system of international statistics to enable characterizing the key areas of ICT usage in enterprises, households and by individuals. Specifically, the annual survey on ICT usage in households and by individuals is used to follow developments for core variables over time and to look in greater depth at other aspects of more advanced ICT usage cases. The survey covers those households having at least one member in the age group 16 to 74 years old. 

Literature

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Presentation: Poster at Current Economic and Social Topics 2015, by Monika Rozkrut
See On-line Journal of Current Economic and Social Topics 2015

Submitted: 2015-11-30 01:13
Revised:   2015-12-10 11:30
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