John von Neumann Computer Society for and Migrants

II. ECDL for Migrants in Hungary

MIGHelp collaborates with ECDL (NJSZT) Hungary

 

 

1.      Case abstract:

 

It is always challenging for people arriving in a new country to adjust and settle down. Migrants are very often exposed to new social and economic challenges such as finding a job. International Data Corporation’s (IDC) report issued in 2009 showed that an increasing number of jobs available in the future will require well developed e-skills. It is therefore necessary for governments to equip immigrants with such knowledge so that they can fully integrate themselves into a new environment. In this way, ECDL Hungary and the Migrants Help Hungary Association (MIGHELP) have recently signed an agreement that aims to set up an ECDL test centre in the Camp for Refugees in Bicske, Hungary. According to the agreement, MIGHELP will ensure adherence to the ECDL standards (technical, infrastructural, personal conditions, etc.), and ECDL Hungary will offer the accreditation and the running of the test centre for free, offering also a certain amount of free Skills Cards each year for refugees who intend to gain ECDL certification.

 

ECDL Hungary and MIGHELP believe that the benefits of the digital society should be available to all citizens regardless of their educational and social background. Thanks to this project, migrants will be able to adjust more quickly to their new surroundings and fully adapt within Hungarian society.

 

This project is in line with the numerous EU initiatives such as the European Commission’s ‘Communication on immigration, integration and employment’ (2003), ‘A Common Agenda for Integration - Framework for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals in the European Union’ (2005) and the Council of Europe’s conclusions on the strengthening of integration policies in the EU by promoting unity in diversity (2007). All these documents call on EU member states to promote inclusion and cultural diversity as well as empower newcomers to fully integrate into European society. In addition , this project supports the European Commission’s ‘Digital Agenda for Europe’, especially its provisions on ‘helping members of disadvantaged social groups to participate on a more equal footing in digital society’, addressing ‘their disadvantage through increased employability’ and promoting ‘effective ICT training and certification outside formal education systems, including the use of online tools and digital media for re-skilling and continuing professional development’ (p. 25).

 

In Hungary this projects corresponds very well to the Digital Equal Opportunities Program launched by the John von Neumann Computer Society (NJSZT) in 2007 according to the initiatives of the government. Hungary, having a central geographical position in Europe, has always dealt with refugees and migrants from all over the world. With most of these cases people have no (or a very low) level of school-education, and those who apply for citizenship cannot find a job (90% of jobs require computer knowledge). An international digital literacy certificate may convince employers to give more respectful jobs to immigrants.

2.      Target group

 

The project specifically targets migrants who plan to settle down in Hungary. ICT is one of the most effective tools in enabling integration into a new society. Immigrants will have better life and job prospects if they are equipped with the right skills.

 

 

 

 

3.      The way we implement and manage our initiative:

ECDL Hungary (NJSZT) in collaboration with the Migrants Help Association is now setting up an ECDL Test Center in the Refugees Camp in Bicske. ECDL Hungary funds the accreditation process, it ensures the functioning of the Test Centre and Quality Assurance free of charge and offers 20 free registrations per year.

 

4.      Track record of sharing:

 

A similar project should be advised for other refugee camps within Europe in order to defend human rights and to avoid increasing crime levels because of the rising number of unemployed people. We shared the idea with the community of all ECDL/ICDL countries as an example of best practice to be replicated elsewhere.

5.      Lessons learnt:

 

1. Digital Literacy should be available for everyone and it cannot be an exclusive right. It is especially useful for newcomers to a country since it helps them to settle down and find a decent job. Digital literacy also can assist in fully integrating into the Information Society.

2. ECDL certification is a very good tool to give refugees the necessary knowledge to increase their quality of life and to help them successfully integrate into society.

3. Good will and effective cooperation among stakeholders makes it is easier to help marginalized social groups such as immigrants settle down in a new country and adjust to a new environment.