Reducing the social gap of the information age

The issue somehow came up again. What to do to reduce the social gap in Israel using technology or maybe how to avoid increasing the gap because of the technology.

Fact is that people with less income will be less likely to be able to afford Internet connection or a computer or even good education.

Children coming from such background have less chances to attend higher education, to get better job and unless they are lucky or exceptionnaly talented they are doomed to be left behind. Again.

So let's look at our small niche in improving their situation.

Financing computers and Internet connection might be a good idea though most of the computer software is still in English and the Hebrew content on the web is relatively limited.

So I guess - if I was the government - I would to such things as

  • Finance translation projects of Gnome and KDE via PERACH or other similar semi-volunteer organizations. That will ensure that future versions of systems using these GUIs will be fully available to people who don't know English on a high level.
    Actually I think the Israeli government should help not only the Hebrew translation but also to get involved Arabic and possibly in Amhari.
    Not only will that help the Arab minority and the immigrants respectively but that will also help bridging some political gaps.
  • Translate Open Source applications
    Finance translation of several Open Source applications including their help system. There are lots of them. I would probably look at the applications installed on Ubuntu and start with some of those.
  • Setup computer rooms in social clubs around the country, especially in areas with limited financial capabilities. These computer rooms should be connected to the Internet as well. Maintenance of such computer rooms could be done via the above mentioned semi-volunteer programs.
  • Training classes.
    In parallel I would setup classes to show people how to use computers in general and Linux in particular. The computer rooms mentioned above would work. People would learn basic skills in using a computer, accessing web sites (e.g. Wikipedia, news sites, e-mail. How to search for information. How to find jobs, how to contact government offices. How can they learn new stuff on the Internet.

None of these are especially bright or new ideas. They just need a decision to be made by the government officials and some financing. I am sure many university students will be glad to get a grant for some of this work.

Published on 2007-06-13 by Gabor Szabo
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