The Tasmu Smart Qatar Programme, a flagship initiative by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), is developing a refreshed national digital inclusion strategy, which aims to enhance digital access, skills, motivation and trust across the population, especially those at risk of digital exclusion.
This is to ensure that the people of Qatar are ready, willing and able to use digital services and adopt the upcoming digital transformation, the MoTC said in a statement on Monday to mark Qatar's participation in the fourth edition of the ITU-Unesco Regional Digital Inclusion Week for the Arab States.
The event is being held from October 25 to 31 under the theme 'Serving the underserved in times of crisis: No one left behind'.
HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti said, “The MoTC is committed to achieving digital inclusion for all, ensuring easy access to information and digital content so as to build an integrated digital society and enhancing people’s readiness digitally to be able to contribute to building up a knowledge-based economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030).”
Reem Mohamed al-Mansoori, Assistant Undersecretary for Digital Society Development at the MoTC, said Tasmu is at the heart of efforts that focus on bolstering digital inclusion and ensuring the adoption of smart services in the foreseeable future. “We conducted an extensive benchmarking exercise and focus group interviews to ensure our digital inclusion strategy and the programmes it will create will be implemented in line with best global practices.”
The benchmarking exercise was conducted to analyse the most impactful digital inclusion strategies and programmes and extract best practices that can be applied in the context of Qatar. The study also led to the identification of potential partners that can help in delivering projects to increase digital inclusion locally.
The focus group interviews centred on identifying the digital needs and motivations of all population segments in Qatar and determining their existing digital proficiency.
Four key areas to drive digital adoption in Qatar have emerged as a result - access to the Internet, smart devices and e-payment facilities; basic digital skills and knowhow to search for, download and use digital services; motivation needed to understand the benefits of digital services and encourage usage; and trust in using online services.
This research has led to the identification of several national digital inclusion programmes to be rolled out in the coming five years.
"Tasmu firmly believes that digital inclusion is a whole-of-society effort and will aim to partner with relevant organisations in Qatar to collectively ensure digital inclusion across the nation," the statement notes.
For example, Tasmu will work with social service organisations to ensure their beneficiaries are upskilled and ready to embrace up-and-coming digital services. This will be supported by e-learning modules that teach people basic digital skills and increase their usage of useful digital services available for them.
Tasmu is also planning to organise annual nationwide events promoting digital inclusion in Qatar and celebrating organisations and individuals who help improve digital adoption.
In addition, Tasmu is working on developing and enacting policies that ensure that all digital services in Qatar are intuitive and easily accessible by different population segments. It will monitor the progress of these programmes and prepare periodic reports to ensure digital needs are being met throughout Qatar's digital transformation journey.
These efforts will build upon current successful programmes launched by the MoTC and which have helped increase digital inclusion significantly: the 'Better Connections' Programme for the digital inclusion of expatriate workers, the 'Wasla' intergenerational ICT learning programme for the elderly; and the 'Cyber Safety' Programme that highlights and affirms a culture of cyber safety and security to empower people to have a safer cyberspace and being responsible online.
Created as the digital response to QNV2030 to achieve the aspired-after digital future and shape a smart Qatar, the Tasmu Smart Qatar Programme under the MoTC's patronage is one of the future-oriented programmes in relation to digital inclusion agenda.
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