The closely knit digital and traditional literacy
If women are able to have access to financial resources to purchase digital gadgets, they tend to quickly learn how to take advantage of their benefits. In Kosovo for example, even if initially technological gadgets are used by women for social and entertainment purposes, soon they learn how to use them for personal branding, marketing their interests, initiatives, projects, and businesses. Nonetheless, in line with the changing nature of digital media, it is important that women in Kosovo and around the world are taught how to use digital resources for improving their business processes, effectively and professionally market their products and services, as well as reach their desired goals.
One method that has been used to counteract the digital illiteracy in Kosovo has been to equip public high schools and universities with computer labs, with assistance from the government and international organizations. In this manner students would be able to practically implement their theoretical learning. This method seems to initially be sufficient for introducing them to a computer, though much needs to be done in terms of training and equipping students with the necessary skills and tech-savinness needed to fulfill local and international digital market needs.
According to IndexKosova, women in general in Kosovo have two years less of education than men; this seems to be more prevalent in more remote areas and traditional towns. Though, this may be an additional factor, which dims their chances of enhancing their digital literacy, and thus hinders their opportunities for finding an upper level management job, performing more efficiently in their jobs, expanding their realm of work or even launching their own initiatives.
To enhance digital literacy among women we need to improve our general education system, ensure that girls continue their studies, but also invest in up-to-date technological infrastructure in hand with training within schools. Rather than creating additional internet centers for women, we should direct those resources to public schools, where women of all backgrounds may make use of them, while also keeping them in school.
Another issue that Kosovo is working on is to change the teaching methodology of teachers and professors with additional training, which aims to equip students with practical skills needed for making the country self-sustainable. In lieu of only having theoretical lectures, Kosovo is striving to offer students a chance to implement their book-learning practically. This is showing to be somewhat more challenging, given that the current infrastructure in schools, together with the outdated teaching methodologies and infrastructure does not seem to have yet been able to make this happen...
With a combination of improvement of technological infrastructure in schools and enhancement of training of professors that is in line with international market needs, and the continuation of education for women, it seems that they may be able to learn how to truly make use of the internet for their own advancement and that of their society.
The discrepancy in resources between males and females in Kosovo remains a troubling issue and it portrays a bleaker image of the women’s possibilities to become literate digitally. This is why parallel to improving the education system in Kosovo, the technological infrastructure in schools, we need to also advocate for equal pay for women and greater employment opportunities for women. In this manner, rather than depending solely on the financial resources from their families, brothers or husbands, they can themselves purchase the necessary gadgets needed to advance, in this way directly contributing to their communities.
This article was written for the Women Weave the Web Campaign Digital Literacy phase.