PC literacy in GCC still behind west

The ICDL GCC Foundation is calling on governments in the GCC to work together to boost digital literacy levels.

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By  Administrator Published  January 25, 2007

The ICDL GCC Foundation is calling on governments in the GCC to work together to boost digital literacy levels.

Despite an increase in the general level of digital literacy in the region, particularly in the UAE, the Middle East still lags behind the US and Europe on literacy levels, according to the body, which promotes the ICDL (International Computer Driving Licence) standard in the region.

"We have been working closely with the concerned authorities in various countries in the region to widen the reach of digital literacy to all sections of society. It is encouraging to see that there is such recognition from governments in the region of the importance of IT skills in modernising their societies and the services they provide to the public. However, more needs to be done to establish a digitally literate population," said Jamil Ezzo, ICDL GCC CEO.

While some governments in the GCC have taken initiatives to ensure that employees have IT competency, others could be doing more, according to Ezzo.

"We have individual ministries that have taken initiatives on their own but there has to be a nationwide decree that requires everyone to become digitally literate at a certain benchmark and right now there is no such decree," Ezzo said.

Ezzo is also calling for more general support to raise awareness.

"We're calling on a nationwide effort not only by creating the decree for their employees but also for governments to support other initiatives that will support digital awareness," he added.

A lack of digital skills could hamper economic development, Ezzo said, by deterring companies and events from investing in the region.

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