Doha: Within the framework of its digital inclusion programmes, the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology yesterday launched ‘Better Connections Programme’ at the QITCOM 2014.
“The programme has been established to create a framework towards realisation of digital inclusion across our transient labour force. It is a low-cost, sustainable programme to implement ICT access within transient labour accommodation that helps improve employees’ basic ICT skills,” said Reem Al Mansoori, Executive Director, ICT and Society at the ministry.
“To ensure that we provide a holistic programme, we worked in partnership with stakeholders so that we could support workers at their accommodation; ensure that they have access to the Internet, computers and digital content. The programme provides content that is relevant to their needs and available in their languages, English, Arabic and some of it in other languages such as Hindi, Bengali and Nepali,” she added.
The programme will help deliver a room or area to be dedicated to computer access and ICT training at labour accommodation; source low-cost computers through a recycling scheme to keep any outgoings to a minimum; fixed or wireless Internet connection; and appropriate content and training to help deliver ICT-based training to meet the needs of the transient labour force.
The ministry also announced the release and roll out of its Digital Inclusion Strategy. It identifies key areas that require improvement and details initiatives to improve technology usage and accessibility to ensure that everyone advances together in the technology race.
The strategy was developed in support of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Plan, and the recently launched National Broadband Plan.
Despite being a global leader in mobile and Internet penetration, a gap in understanding and accessibility to technology among many segments of Qatar’s population has been identified as a priority to address.
Those identified at risk of exclusion were due to old age, special needs or disabilities, low-skilled migrant workers with limited Internet access, those who live in remote areas, non-working Qatari women and young people who did not progress to higher education.
The strategy outlines initiatives that have been and will be implemented to enhance the adoption of technology in each sub-group. Among younger users who are digitally savvy, the ministry has identified a need for further guidance to ensure they get the most from ICT tools available to them.