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Pim Dale calls for an end to 'digital illiteracy'

Dell VP and GM of emerging markets announces special educational initiatives at his Gitex 2008 keynote address

Pim Dale, vice president and general manager of Dell’s Emerging Markets, called for an end to ‘digital illiteracy’ at his keynote address for the 2008 Gitex Technology Week Global Conference.

“I’ve been coming to Gitex for the last eight years and it gets bigger and better every year. I know all the vendors complain but for the users it’s a phenomenal experience, especially in terms of all the technology that’s being dissipated out to the region. These are the people that are going to make a difference in the coming years.”

One of the key factors Dale brought up was the lack of skills needed to effectively harness the use of technology. “Here in the United Arab Emirates and Middle East, a lot of initiatives for education are going on but generally there’s a lack of skills in terms of knowing technology,” adding that this issue had to be addressed in order for the economies of emerging countries to grow.

“Today, there’s a real issue of digital illiteracy that has to be addressed over the next five to ten years,” he added.

Dell recently launched its YouthConnect program that aims to break down the digital divide and develop a generation of young people across the globe prepared to connect. “As of 2010, Dell will donate 1% of all our profits to the YouthConnect foundation,” Dale commented. “We’ll be funding initiatives with governments, schools and non-profit organizations to reach the lowest strata of communities and bring them to the twenty first century.”

Dale went on to announce the first educational initiative for the region, which will be launched next month in Egypt. As part of the program, Dell will work closely with the Ministry of Education to train young children in the country and equip them for the digital future.

Dell also plans to work with the Ministry of Education in different countries to extend special education programs to emerging countries, which will be announced towards the end of the year.