Thursday, October 2, 2014

Society of Computer Skills and Knowledge Promotion in Georgia

Physical and financial accessibility for computer devices, Internet access and usability of modern technology still is very poor in rural areas of Georgia. Social economic factors and oldness group of population is the main cause of the problem. Geography of the country is very diverse; a lot of villages are spread in the high mountain areas where neither modern technology, nor social services are well developed and accessibility criteria are very modest.
Government of Georgia (GoG) initiated program “Laptop per child” in the frame of Education reform and was targeted for every elementary school child.  Thus, there was a technical and political support to develop knowledge and skills for new generation. Knowledge gap between generations was still very feasible, and another intervention was in the agenda of the government.
There were a lot of issues on the table for discussion: technical support, public relation, and financing questions were main challenges of new program development and implementation.
Official ceremony of establishment of “Society of Computer Skills and Knowledge Promotion” (SoCSKP) was held in May 10th of 2012. Society was officially supported and promoted by President Saakashvili and his personal involvement was stressed as an important accelerator of the process.
Establishment ceremony was held in a very extraordinary environment, the venue was  museum of famous Georgian public person Ilia Chavchavadze, who had a tremendous merit of country development and today he is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Georgia.
Society was established based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach. The GoG provided political and technical support through the local authority involvement (office area and physical infrastructure). Internet providers were participating in the process (voluntarily without any discrimination and business activity pressure) with the responsibility to provide and assure better Internet coverage and access countrywide.
Mission statement of SoCSKP was very comprehensive. The main target and focus was literacy and skills development, additionally free services were also provided (free printing, free access to Internet, free scanning, social networking opportunity and etc.,).
Should be underlined positive externalities of the initiative. 
  • During the fist stage of the project three hundred center were established, where 600 local people were employed
  • Computer skill development could serve to the result of employment problems improvement;
  • A lot of online serviced were developed by the governmental agencies  thus, internet accesses improvement together with developed skills of usability will improve public service eligibility for rural population;
  • Agriculture is the main source of income for rural population, thus Internet access is supportive instrument for product distribution, also farmers have opportunity to reach important information for their private business.
Facebook page is also very actively updated. Should be mentioned that, there are a lot of important materials and learning instruments not only about computer skills and knowledge development but for other interesting topics as well. For example, there are tutorial cartoons about "what is the project development"  and etc.

Summarizing topic, I would argue, that project idea and context is very productive and important. Supporter's network should be expanded. Project should be developed and should be mainly focused on service diversification, as far as not only targeted outcomes are feasible and tangible. Special attention should be provided to the positive externalities of the project, which  also takes important role in rural area development. 


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