CAPITALISING ON DIGITAL LITERACY SKILLS FOR is a necessity to develop capacities of ... literacy skills programme is important for searching for job opportunities online. Results and Discussions

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    2nd Economic Research Advisory Network (ERAN)

    Annual Conference 2017 8 10 March 2017, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa


    Walter Matli (Vaal University of Technology) Prof Mpho Ngoepe (University of South Africa)

  • Road map

    Introduction Digital literacy skills advances in South Africa Research methodology Study results Conclusion and recommendations

  • Introduction to the study

    Most people from rural and townships areas continue to be

    left out from accessing and using ICT. The study by Schmidt and Stork (2008), discovered that

    there were only 4.8 percent of household with working internet connection and 14.8 percent of household with computers in South Africa.

    The situation is compounded by high cost of internet connection, ICT enabling infrastructure, and the know-how.

    This contributes to many people not to be sufficiently skilled to use ICT.

    The purpose of this study was to establish if digital literacy skills may serve as a catalyst to support in developing capacities of people who are unemployed.

  • Why the study?

    Individuals who are not digital literate find it challenging to actively participate in economic activities due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of digital platforms. The problem of people who are not digital literate is deteriorating as the current economy is ICT driven and expect individuals to have digital literacy skills. Failure to address the implications of digital literacy may affect people NEET to contribute to the countrys economic growth. There is a necessity to develop capacities of NEET people in order to fight poverty and the high rate of unemployment currently experienced.

    The set of what specific digital skills for NEET people is not understood as most policy documents and literature does not explain, and therefore, this is the research problem this paper attempts to address.

    The concerns of people who are NEET and also with not digital literate calls for interventions to strengthen digital literacy programmes. South Africa has acknowledged the significant role of digital literacy skills in building capacities of its citizens for growing the economy (PIAC, 2007).

  • Purpose and objectives of the study

    The general purpose of the study was to explore how digital literacy skills can capacitate people who are NEET. The specific objectives were to:

    Identify digital literacy programmes initiatives for NEET people in South Africa

    Assess digital literacy skills for people who are NEET Determine how having no digital literacy skills creates

    challenges for people who are NEET Understand the perception of people who are NEET

    on the importance of digital literacy skills to search for employment opportunities

  • Importance of digital literacy

    Digital literacy is defined as the ability to develop and use ICT to adequately participate in an environment increasingly dominated by access to electronically-enabled information (Inkamva National E-Skills Institute 2016).

    Digital literacy skills programmes are crucial in addressing development of people.

    Digital skills is one of the essential development skills people must invest in particularly that technology rapidly evolve.

  • Digital literacy advances in SA

    There is evidence that the government is spending larger

    amount of money into skills development, but the results do

    not reflect what was hoped for (Van der Westhuizen, 2016).

    There are numerous government projects that focuses on

    the development of people into entrepreneurship and digital

    literacy skills among others. It is important to note the great

    initiatives such as CoLab for e-Inclusion and Social

    Innovation that contribute to upskilling the nation with digital


  • Digital literacy advances in SA

    Roll-out of free Wi-Fi connectivity

    Most cities shows preference of providing free Wi-Fi

    internet connection to their communities, but following

    different implementation strategies (Alfreds, 2016). There

    are vast of reasons that influences a city with regard to

    increasing free Wi-Fi hot spots. As reflected in Table 1,

    Alfreds (2016) compared the implementation strategies of

    the city of Cape Town and the city of Tshwane.

  • Digital literacy advances in SA

    Table 1: Comparison of Wi-Fi implementation of two cities.

    (Source: Alfreds: 2016)

    Growing free Wi-Fi in SA City of Cape Town City of Tshwane

    Public Wi-Fi hotspots 206 780

    Annual budget R10 Million R180 Million

    Connection speed per user 30Mbps 15Mbps

    Free data allocation 100MB 500MB

    Wi-Fi infrastructure Own and manage Rental agreement

  • Digital literacy advances in SA

    Technology stations

    Technology is an important tool used to ease

    communication and strengthen the sharing of information

    (Lesame, Ratshinanga & Seti, 2014).

    The establishment of e-centres in communities is to provide

    training focused on ICT skills with the aim of empowering

    people. Lesame, Ratshinanga and Seti (2014), further state

    that the ICT skills provided by e-centres must help citizens

    to fight poverty and illiterate challenges.

  • Digital literacy advances in SA

    Technology stations The Jozi Skills Hub (JSH) is one of the training centres that focuses on skilling and preparing people to be employed by the slow growing markets (City of Johannesburg, 2011).

    Another significant initiative contributing to digital literacy is

    WeThinkCode let by private sector. The programme provides

    training for free with no educational prerequisites. The

    programme is targeting youth between the ages of 17 to 35

    years. Such initiatives may be beneficial to people with no digital

    literacy background but with interest to learn computer coding.

  • Digital literacy advances in SA

    Technology stations

    Other programmes that contribute to digital literacy skills

    include but are not limited to Khaya programme, Vodacom

    digital classroom and Tshimologong Precinct based in

    Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

  • Research methodology

    The study utilised qualitative research approach. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect primary

    data. Data were collected from nine people who are NEET and

    were chosen purposively. Study has obvious limitations, i.e. one being the limited

    sample size and sample selection. Therefore, future studies should cover a wider participants.

    Collected data were recorded and analysed thematically.

  • Results and Discussions



    Interviews with


    Age Participant


    Educational background

    P1 Interview 1 33 Tembisa Completed matric (grade 12)

    P2 Interview 2 30 Tembisa Dropout (grade 10)

    P3 Interview 3 32 Tembisa Dropout (grade 10)

    P4 Interview 4 22 Daveyton Completed matric (grade 12)

    P5 Interview 5 21 Daveyton Completed matric (grade 12)

    P6 Interview 6 26 Kempton Park Tertiary graduate

    P7 Interview 7 25 Daveyton Tertiary graduate

    P8 Interview 8 27 Daveyton Completed matric (grade 12)

    P9 Interview 9 22 Daveyton Completed matric (grade 12)

  • Results and Discussions

    Category: Digital literacy programmes for NEET people. Question: What kind of digital literacy skills programme would you have interest to be trained on? Majority of participants stated that they have interest in attending digital literacy programmes. During the interview various digital literacy programmes where highlighted. The researcher felt it was important to probe reasons by asking a follow up question of why the interviewee had interest is a specific digital literacy programme. The general believe was that digital literacy programme will better their chances of securing employment. P6, P1 and P2 illustrated in their statements above once a specific digital literacy skills programme is attained, it will be simple to secure employment.

  • Results and Discussions

    Category: Digital literacy programmes for NEET people. Question: What are some of the reasons for not attending digital literacy programmes? There were different reasons provided for not attending digital literacy programmes. This ranged from people who stated they have interest in attending but they are not aware of any, while others stated that they do attend digital literacy programmes. P8 states that I cant attend if I dont know about trainings. This important viewpoint by P8 suggest that not much is done to promote and make people aware of digital literacy programmes. Awareness is important, particularly about programmes that require no post school education as a prerequisite. Therefore, how information is disseminated to people in communities must be looked at. There are people who are currently seeking for employment and attending digital literacy skills programme to better their skills. P6 posits that I did the course recently for two months.

  • Results and Discussions

    Category: Assessment of digital literacy skills. Question: What digital literacy programme have you attended? P2: So far I havent attended any. But I would like to attend. It is evident that there are people who have never had the opportunity of receiving digital literacy skills. P2 continued to state that he would like to attend digital literacy programme. Therefore this it is important to note that some of the people who have not attended digital literacy skills have interest in such programmes. Awareness is crucial for people currently not employed to know about development programmes offered, especially those not carrying a cost fee.

  • Results and Discussions

    Category: Assessment of digital literacy skills Continues Question: What digital literacy programme have you attended? Finding: there is a need to strengthen digital literacy skills to people who are currently not in employment, and for training programmes to be visible in communities. It be formal or informal training on digital literacy skills. It is important to afford people currently looking for employment the opportunity to enhance their digital literacy skills. Fifty six percent of the participant haven attended digital literacy skills programme at some stage in their lives. Meanwhile, forty four percent indicated they have not attended any digital literacy programme. With the current economic meltdown in South Africa and the high number of unemployment, skills and development must be reinforced. Digital literacy skills programme is important for searching for job opportunities online.

  • Results and Discussions

    Category: Assessment of digital literacy skills Question: How did the programme contributed to you being digital literacy? During the interviews there was evidence that digital literacy skills programme has had an impact on the participant lives and development. P9 posits The programme introduced me to computer environment. P9 described how digital literacy skills acquainted him to the computing environment. P6 stated that digital literacy skills programme enabled him to have the capabilities to use online services. Digital literacy programme gave P9 the opportunity to utilise online services effectively, this may include searching job opportunities online.

  • Results and Discussions

    Other categories includes: Category: Challenges encountered when searching for employment. Category: Importance of digital literacy for employment seekers. Category: User experience NB: the above categories with questions are discussed in the full paper.

  • Conclusion and recommendations

    The study reveals that digital literacy skills are important in the

    development of people, especially employment seekers. Most

    organisation advertise career opportunities from digital

    platforms and require potential employees to submit online

    their applications. Digital illiterate is one of the major challenge

    faced by people looking for employment, as such this people

    are not able to effectively make use of digital platforms to

    search for employment opportunities.

  • Conclusion and recommendations

    The results obtained further shows that digital literacy skills are

    essential when looking for employment opportunities. Some of

    the stimulating findings from the results above (study results) was

    that (a) unemployed people with access to smart mobile phones

    with internet connection search for employment using their

    devices, (b) The is a need to make awareness of digital literacy

    programmes, especially those offered for free, (c) not everyone

    has the capabilities to search for employment using online

    services, and (d) Forty four percent indicated that they have not

    attended digital literacy programme so far.

  • Conclusion and recommendations

    Having emphasised the significant role of digital literacy skills, it is

    equally important for government to work with Non-Governmental

    Organisations (NGO) to establish policies that drive the nation to be

    skilled with digital skills. What the researchers intended to convey and

    highlight was that digital literacy plays a critical role in the development

    of unemployed people. The outcome of this study may serve as

    literature for other researchers intending to investigate the similar

    problem in the future.

    NB: Full paper of this summarised presentation is available.

  • End of presentation Thank You


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