IGF 2019 WS #357 Digital Equity in Schools: Digital Literacy to Inclusion

Organizer 1: Omar Mansoor Ansari, TechNation

Speaker 1: Omar Mansoor Ansari, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Maria Beebe, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Amrita Choudhury, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Policy Question(s): 

(a) What is the rationale for addressing digital equity in schools in Afghanistan? Should there be a focus on girls?
(b) What are the existing policies that address digital equity in primary, secondary, and tertiary schools in Afghanistan? What are the policy gaps?
(c) How can government and the private sector improve access to digital infrastructure and sufficient speeds for the underserved schools?
(d) How can government and the private sector improve access to digital services and digital literacy to students?
(e) How can government and the private sector improve the quality of technical support and applications and online content for schools?
(f) How can government and private sector utilize primary and secondary schools and tertiary education facilities to promote and deliver digital literacy to their families and communities?

Relevance to Theme: Digital equity in schools refers to whether Afghan students can access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society. Digital inclusion are efforts to remedy deficits in digital equity.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Internet governance is about ensuring digital equity through multi-stakeholder conversations. Digital equity, digital inclusion, and digital literacy require intentional strategies and resources to reduce and eliminate historical, institutional and structural barriers to access and use technology. To achieve digital equity requires a collaborative effort among government and private sector players, including policy makers, academics, for profit and, not for profit entities. These are the very same stakeholders that the IGF has been bringing to the table as equals to exchange information and share good policies and practices relating to the Internet and digital technologies.

Format: 

Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Description: Digital equity refers to whether Afghan students, especially girls, can access and effectively use the technology necessary to participate in modern society. Digital inclusion are efforts to remedy deficits in digital equity. Digital equity is what the country of Afghanistan wants, and digital inclusion is the work Afghan stakeholders and their partners are doing to create digital equity. Effective use and benefit from technology requires digital literacy which is the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills. According to the American Library Association, a Digitally Literate Person:
Possesses the variety of skills – technical and cognitive – required to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information in a wide variety of formats;
Is able to use diverse technologies appropriately and effectively to retrieve information, interpret results, and judge the quality of that information;
Understands the relationship between technology, life-long learning, personal privacy, and stewardship of information;
Uses these skills and the appropriate technology to communicate and collaborate with peers, colleagues, family, and on occasion, the general public; and
Uses these skills to actively participate in civic society and contribute to a vibrant, informed, and engaged community.

To achieve digital equity in schools requires a collaborative effort among government and private sector players, including policy makers, academics, for profit and, not for profit entities. These are the very same stakeholders that the IGF has been bringing to the table as equals to exchange information and share good policies and practices relating to the Internet and digital technologies.

Population and economic indicators in Digital 2019 (Afghanistan) help explain the digital in-equity in Afghanistan. The data shows a total population of 36.79 population, with 48.5 % female and 51.5% male; 18% female literacy and 45% male literacy; median age of 18.6; GDP per capita of $1,981. Internet users as a percentage of the total population is only 26%. Mobile Internet as a percentage of the total population is 25%. There is some good news: Internet users showed a 142% increase from January 2018-January 2019. However, data is not disaggregated by gender.

TechNation Afghanistan, a private sector entity, has been working closely with the Ministries of Information and Communication Technology, Education, and Higher Education on Internet governance, digital security, digital inclusion, and digital literacy for girls and women. TechNation launched TechWomen.Asia as a result of the IGF in Mexico, Geneva, and Paris.

The participants will break out into small groups as outlined in the agenda below. The workshop organizers will reach out to local German organizations to share their experiences and lessons learned with digital equity in Germany and in their international development work.

AGENDA
(a) Introduction to all participants: What is Digital Equity? Digital Literary. Digital Inclusion.
(b) Break out into five small groups and discuss aspects of the policy questions outlined in (5) above: (b.a) Rationale, (b.b) Existing policies and policy gaps, (b.c) Access to digital infrastructure and speeds, (b.d) Access to digital services, (b.e) technical support and applications and online content., and (b.f) Promote and deliver digital literacy. Small groups will choose or be assigned a facilitator.
(c) Groups come back together to summarize their discussions for everyone and any suggestions for possible next steps.

Expected Outcomes: Digital Inclusion for Girls in Schools: Policy Roadmap and Implementation Guidelines

Onsite Moderator: 

Maria Beebe, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Online Moderator: 

Omar Mansoor Ansari, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Rapporteur: 

Maria Beebe, Private Sector, Asia-Pacific Group

Discussion Facilitation: 

The moderator begins by introducing herself. Get everyone to introduce themselves. Ask the person on my left or right to say who they are, who they work for and what their biggest challenge concerning the roundtable topic – Digital Equity, Inclusion, and Literacy. The person next to them then does the same, and so it follows until everyone has introduced themselves. (15 minutes).

Once the introductions are finished, kick off the agenda by introducing the key terms and the policy questions to be discussed during the break-out roundtable discussions. (5 minutes)

Each break out group will choose a facilitator and a rapporteur (30 minutes). Poster paper will be provided, as well as post-its for visualizing key challenges and potential solutions.

Report back to the group (5 minutes each x 5= 25 minutes).

Key Takeaways and Possible Way Forward from the roundtable participants (15 minutes).

Online Participation: 

We will use Webex provided by the IGF secretariat. The online moderator will participate in the training to be provided by IGF and facilitate remote participation. Prior to the actual session at IGF, we will host online sessions and promote the workshop via social media so additional people can join in. We will ask the remote participants to add to the knowledge base. We will select a few venues in different countries to host remote hubs, the hubs will be hosted by organizations are working on digital literacy in countries where people can have access and connect with the session online in real time.

The illustrative venues are: Kabul at TechNation’s office, Pakistan’s Code for Pakistan facility, Tajikistan Open Society Initiative Office, Kyrgyzstan at the Soros Foundation office. At each of these venues, the participants will be provided with a moderator who can set the stage and facilitate the group’s remote participation, including their own break- out session or remote participation in one of the break-out groups. The remote participants will share the recommendations arising out of their break-out session for inclusion in the action planning discussion.

Proposed Additional Tools: Base on our past experience Online Participation Platform does not work well for synchronous break out small groups. An alternative is to open a facebook group and ask remote participants to provide their comments to the policy questions and issues to be discussed. We will also have Zoom.us as a backup, in case the other tools/ platforms had issues.

SDGs: 

GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals