Pilot programme in Slovenia to enhance migrants’ digital skills and inclusion
On the International Day of Education, the Adult Education Centre Jesenice launched its integration pilot project.
As we mark the International Day of Education (24.01.2022), IOM Slovenia’s partner in the Includ-EU project – the Adult Education Centre Jesenice, launched a pilot programme to enhance migrants’ digital skills and inclusion. As enshrined in the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Quality Education strives to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all, including migrants. Lifelong learning opportunities importantly contribute to inclusion of migrants in the local community and social cohesion.
In Slovenia, the majority of Third-Country Nationals are entitled to the participation in a free-of-charge Slovenian language course in the duration of 180 hours (beneficiaries of international protection are ensured a broader scope of integration support), and targeted and tailored integration support for immigrant communities, including orientation in the local community, remains a need. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of social exclusion among vulnerable groups. In migrant communities especially, the pandemic underscored the need to enhance the digital skills of migrants to support their inclusion into the local community and strengthen social cohesion. This has become particularly vital in times of adaptation and transition of many public services to the online environment. The pandemic further exacerbated the risk of exclusion or poor integration prospects of migrants who lack or have limited digital skills. As identified in the European Commission Action plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021–2027, “migrants and EU citizens with a migrant background often face obstacles in accessing digital courses and services because of lack of infrastructure, language barriers, lack of electronic identification means and digital trust services (such as electronic signature) or lack of the digital skills to use these services”.
To address the identified needs, the IOM Slovenia’s partner in the Includ-EU project – the Adult Education Centre Jesenice will develop and implement a tailored capacity-building programme to enhance the digital skills of migrant communities in the local environment while equipping them with practical knowledge about orientation in the local community and improving their language skills. Activities will aim at enhancing the migrants’ digital skills needed for their participation and inclusion in the society, while equipping them with practical knowledge on how to use digital services related to social security, health protection, educational system, administrative matters etc.
The European Commission Action plan on Integration and Inclusion 2021–2027 recognizes the importance of learning the language of the host country for successful integration. Throughout the programme, the participants will improve their Slovenian language skills, thus the programme will significantly contribute to their participation and inclusion in the society. Furthermore, ex-ante and ex-post assessment of digital skills of participating migrants will provide an insight and evidence of the needs of enhancing the digital skills of migrants, as such assessments have not been conducted in Slovenia, especially not on a local level.
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