Three and a half years ago All Digital member association LANGAS Į ATEITĮ and partners launched the project “Connected Lithuania: an Efficient, Secure and Responsible Lithuanian Digital Community” (Connected Lithuania) and set an ambitious goal - to help the LT population to improve their digital skills and learn to use ICT and the Internet efficiently, safely and responsibly. At the finish line the project achieved delightful results - more than 104 thousand adults of LT voluntarily attended the courses to improve their digital skills. Overall, over 500 thousand people participated in all project activities.
The number of people involved exceeded expectations
Fast communication and constantly evolving smart technologies are everyday life these days. We can enjoy a well-developed ICT infrastructure and the opportunity to use high-speed Internet in almost every place of Lithuania. According to the 2020 results of the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI), the level of use of Internet services in Lithuania is similar to the EU average. The number of people who have never used the internet is also declining, but their share is still higher than the EU average (15% compared to 9% in the EU). It is observed that digital knowledge is mostly lacking for people living in rural areas, those on lower incomes, those with lower education, as well as the elderly, the disabled and the unemployed.
The project CONNECTED LITHUANIA in three and a half years has successfully added to the reduction of the digital divide and promoted the domestication of smart technologies - not only to start using the Internet, but also to improve one's digital skills. The project offered the opportunity to meet celebrities and experts, participate in the motivational events, national campaigns, creative workshops, as well as face to face and online training. All activities were free.
"The project pursued ambitious goals, so it is great that we managed to achieve and even surpass them - more than 104 thousand people took part in the digital skills trainings, 691 local communities were involved and over 500 thousand people participated in the activities during the whole project implementation period. people,” says Rita Šukytė, director of the association Langas į ateitį, which is the main project implementer.
The need to improve digital skills is growing
The community representative survey conducted by the project CONNECTED LITHUANIA revealed that there is a significant increase in the motivation desire to improve digital skills. At the end of the project 77.5 % respondents felt the need to improve digital skills, while in 2019 – only 64.5% respondents.
“It is gratifying that the perception of the Lithuanian population is changing. It is understood that digital technologies are an integral part of the modern way of life, they help not only to improve the quality of life, significantly affect a person's emotional state, increase self-confidence, but also reduce social exclusion”, R. Šukytė notes.
The study also showed that more than four-fifths of the participants in the CONNECTED LITHUANIA project indicated that they had learned to share information securely online (84.7%), to evaluate the information more critically (81.6%) and to recognize secure websites (80.7%).
The competencies of the project participants improved significantly
Country residents involved in the digital skills trainings of the project CONNECTED LITHUANIA expressed their will to learn programs that are necessary for creative purposes, deepen their knowledge or learn to work with applications, be more competent in e. services usage as well as teleworking tools and social networks.
Compared to 2019 and last year of the project surveys, a significant increase in the ability to use the a computer and a smartphone was observed among the project participants, as well as an improved ability to use the smart devices . According to the 2nd study results the participants were more confident and willing to read knowledge and news online, as well as watch videos, movies, shows, search for necessary information, use e-mail, have more online activities using mobile apps on their smart phone compared to 2019. study participants. As far as e-services are concerned the project participants have successfully acquired skills to declare online their income or assets, register with a doctor, shop online or use other e-government services.
Digital skills need to be developed throughout life
“The results and activities of the project show that the development of digital skills is becoming more and more relevant in Lithuania, and the acquired knowledge helps to make life easier. Although the growing need of the population to learn new things is delighting, it is still not enough as a significant part of the Lithuanian population is still experiencing the digital divide. Therefore, Langas į ateitį team urges the active participants not to stop after the project and continue the activities started during the project – motivating their local communities constantly improve the digital skills, ”says R. Šukytė.
All the partners of the project Lithuania Connected hope that thousands of digital leaders and e-Scouts will continue their activities started during the project in further cooperation with a broad net of 1200 Public Internet access Points in the Lithuanian public libraries and invite everybody to go on improving their digital knowledge online on the project website www.prisijungusi.lt.