The increasing use of computers at practically all levels, whether personal or professional has intensified the need to increase computer literacy amongst developing nations as it couldbe a key to reducing poverty.
As more and more employers list basic computer skills, training in this field has gained momentum.
Workers are trying to update their skills or risk becoming obsolete in this age of information technology, as every industry is relying on the use of computers to decrease costs and increase efficiency.
The Government’s Dilemma:
Governments often fail to address low rates of computer literacy as mostly departments are focused on developing the infrastructure on a macro level versus tackling it in small amounts.
In countries where literacy levels are in single digits, providing basic computer skills training is a conundrum in itself as resources have to be allocated to mutually exclusive projects such as amongst building schools in an entire province or building a few schools equipped with computer labs.
Although seemingly unfair, economists argue that the latter objective should be pursued, as it will allow the qualified students to become productive citizens and contribute to state resources and form a chain.
Otherwise, children with only basic education would be marginalized and the state would lose out on potential taxes.
Solution:As a result, many organizations including NGO’s and the corporate sector are providing basic computer skills training to the impoverished people so they are not further sidelined by those more competitive than them. In order to break this vicious cycle, Microsoft initiated such a Corporate Social Responsibility project in South Africa. As a part of the campus licensing agreement, Microsoft will provide training to tertiary students free of cost.
This was received with skepticism amongst critics, and was called out as a shrewd marketing strategy, but the company defended itself and defended that the move was to improve computer literacy rates in the country.
India, a country where almost 400 million people live on less than $1 per day, has also seen an increase in its IT sector. The wealthy entrepreneurs of this country have resolved to introduce their poverty stricken country men to basic computer skills training as a means to empower them and improve their lifestyles.
Thus an increase in investment in this sector by wealthy residents and expatriates is often a more successful way of alleviating this problem.
When people acquire basic computer skills training, it makes them more competent not only amongst their peers in their local environment, but also by using the computer and the internet to gain information and seek better job opportunities.
A person who has well-developed computer skills is often able to add more value to his employing organization and thus increases his self worth.
At a time when resources are scarce and expensive, all businesses are seeking to reduce costs, and therefore computerizing their processes is the best way to increase efficiency. As more invest is made in computerized equipment, the demand for computer literate people will increase, making this a lucrative skill to possess.