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Gov’t targets digital illiteracy

The greatest challenges facing the Hungarian government in the digital realm are the reduction of tech illiteracy and expanding the availability of broadband access, state secretary Zsolt Nyitrai told weekly HVG in an interview.

Hungary is faced with the dual problem of its population still struggling with the fundamentals of using modern technologies, while others are lacking better infrastructure of access, Nyitrai said.

“There are four million of our compatriots who cannot use the internet at all. At the same time, the spread of applications requiring bigger bandwidth is hindered by the lack of capacity in modern local networks,” he said.

In order to address the matter, the government is aiming to mobilize some HUF 100 billion, added up by the state budget, the New Széchenyi Plan support scheme and EU grants, but is also counting on the involvement of the private sector. This is all crucial to improving the employment options in disadvantage regions, boosting the competitiveness of Hungarian businesses and streamlining state bureaucracy, Nyitrai said.

The official said that IT will also play a major part in the country’s new education strategy given that “90 to 95% of all job opportunities in the future will require familiarity and daily use” of online applications. To that end, teachers will be required to utilize various devices in presenting the curriculum.

Involved measures will likewise target the operation of the state. Nyitrai said the government has already renegotiated valid contracts with major IT players and achieved considerable savings. The government is looking to further reduce costs by switching to open-source alternatives, he added. (BBJ)