Takeshi Odaira, Senior Research Associate
Currently, the digitalization of society is progressing to such a degree that ICT is penetrating every corner of life. In order to enjoy the benefits of digitalization, the ability to appropriately use ICT equipment, sift through information, and ensure the security of the information that you own, a minimum of IT literacy is evidently necessary. In other words, if such capabilities are not sufficient, this becomes an impediment at work and in everyday life.
In particular, for the poor who have few opportunities to come into contact with ICT equipment, it is challenging to acquire IT literacy, without which their work and life are affected negatively. It is necessary to deal with the IT literacy problem of poor individuals who cannot keep pace with society’s digitalization and are about to be left behind.
In this research, after grasping the current state of these areas of concern, current countermeasures and issues, breakthrough measures that can be implemented in the short term, reference cases and other information have been compiled which are relevant for the respective generations which face distinct problems. For that purpose, in addition to a literature analysis, interviews were conducted with poor individuals as well as representatives of vocational training schools and civil society groups that are implementing countermeasures.
Through these interviews, it was found that as regional and workplace communities weakened, and the norm of self-responsibility emerged, it is becoming difficult for poor people of all generations, who tend to be isolated due to inadequate IT literacy, to obtain jobs where they can capitalize on their strengths and experiences and to live their everyday life while avoiding social isolation. Current measures focus on acquiring technology literacy (computer literacy) for each generation, whereas measures towards strengthening information IT literacy (media literacy) and rule-related IT literacy (information security literacy) are lacking, which is problematic.
When considering solutions to these problems, it was found that short-term measures can be implemented at low cost. Specifically, in addition to face-to-face education that requires direct contact with people, self-study support that helps the poor to undergo training on their own, such as self-study educational material and e-learning, can be effective.
In the future, more studies are necessary on how to create social institutions and norms that promote the social inclusion of poor individuals who lack IT literacy as socially vulnerable people. In addition, measures for poor people with disabilities should also be studied in detail from the same point of view.
The full version of this report is available in PDF format below. This report is only available in Japanese.
Difficulties of the Poor Struggling to Adapt to the Digital Society:
IT Literacy Problems of Poor Individuals and Generation-specific Countermeasures