ŠAVŠ/TAČR Digital Czechia in a Digital Europe
product searches, visiting social media platforms, searches for cultural events, purchases of goods and services or transport information. A report from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs 3 further states that the Czech Republic, with 36% of the population (according to other findings of the MEDIAN agency it is only 19%), is well below the European Union average (48% of the population) with regard to using e-government (similar to internet banking and cloud services). The cited report from the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs also examines the issue of digital exclusion. In terms of age, the percentage of people who do not use the Internet at all begins to increase after the age of 50 – among 50–59 year-olds it is 21%, for 60–69 year-olds 27% and for the over 70s 62%. (Most often because they are unable to understand and/ or simply do not know what purpose the Internet serves.) OSTEU published a study in 2017 3 comparing digital strategies in selected countries. It also included the identification of weaknesses and threats concerning the Czech Republic in this regard. The main weakness was the lack of qualified staff in the ICT sector – workforce requires approximately 20,000 ICT professionals. The key threat was posed by slow changes in education – the lack of students in ICT fields and inappropriately set-up educational programs. It should be noted that the development of digital skills and the provision of a sufficient number of ICT professionals are not the exclusive problem of the Czech Republic but concern all countries of the European Union. Individual countries tackle these problems in different, more or less successful, ways. The aim of this study is to identify and characterize successful/promising strategies and procedures (so-called “best practices”) in both of these interrelated problem areas and to find ideas and recommendation appropriate for the Czech Republic’s situation and economy. The following countries were selected for comparative analysis: the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Estonia and Denmark. In general, these countries score high on the so-called Digital Economy and Society Index, as well as being countries that in some respects (size, economy, historical ties, culture, etc.) are comparable to the Czech Republic.
DEVELOPMENT OF DIGITAL AND ICT SKILLS
Various studies, projects, strategies and reports on digital skills development suggest that different groups of the adult population remain relatively neglected. While the Ministries of Education/Schools of different countries are gradually, more or less emphatically, and systematically introducing new technologies and ICT-focused subjects or disciplines in primary, secondary and higher education,
3 Porovnání digitálních strategií ve vybraných zemích, OSTEU, Úřad vlády ČR, 12/2017, see https:// www. vlada.cz/scripts/detail.php?pgid=384.
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