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Graphic design of the publication: includes the title, authors and pictures of people looking into their cameras from a computer

Digital Wallonia, the digital development agency of the Walloon region of Belgium has published the 2021 Citizen Barometer on digital literacy and access, with a future program based on 4 main action lines: schools, training qualifications, lifelong learning and inclusion of vulnerable groups.

The survey analyses the situation in the Walloon region in light of the pandemic situation, and tackles a number of aspects, such as access to connectivity and remote working, and the overall digital maturity of the region’s population.

The Barometer’s findings deliver a positive message: the feeling of "digital competence" of the citizens has increased, and the maturity indicator is also progressing positively. More specifically, the feeling of “digital competence” has grown from the previous assessment, two years ago, from 56 to 59, while the percentage of the population estimated as having a weak digital maturity level has gone from 20,6% to 17,9%.

These positive signs are accompanied by a further positive effect: a growing part of the population considers that their skills are not sufficient and as a consequence more than a third of Walloons are requesting more training on digital skills. This is a sign that the pandemic has created a stronger demand for digital skills at all levels, and the regional administration is therefore called to respond. 
The fact that this year only 6% of the Walloon citizens has never connected to the internet, compared to the previous 12% two years before, makes it all the more urgent to empower all citizens on the use of technology in daily life and work.

Digital education for all citizens

More than ever, digital education is establishing itself as the main way to ensure that the population is better informed of the potential benefits, also of the pitfalls, and above all of the know-how necessary to make the most of these technologies for participating in economic and social life, and contributing to society and citizenship.
A strong focus is on the need to provide digital training for the weakest population groups and the need for a global digital inclusion plan, essential to train and support people in the working population who do not have the necessary basic skills, as well as all people who are not or no longer active (in particular especially seniors but also single women, refugees, etc.). 
The promotion of regional structures for digital skills must also be promoted more strongly, fundamental structures such as the Espaces Publics Numériques (EPN), which are public centres where citizens can learn how to use digital tools and have access to both tools and internet connection at a democratic price, and the PMTICs, public centres that support unemployed people in training on basic digital skills and job search. 

The actions outlined in the report highlight how both digital learning in schools should be further supported, but without forgetting Lifelong learning and VET, because digital technology is constantly changing and raises questions, even concerns, among many users, even among seasoned Internet users.

©  Digital Wallonia

Skills intelligence publication details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills in education.
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Geographic scope - Country
Industry - field of education and training
Generic programmes and qualifications not further defined
Geographical sphere
Regional initiative
Publication type