Digital Inclusion Program AcessaSP
Digital Inclusion Program AcessaSP
The Digital Inclusion Program of the State of São Paulo – AcessaSP— makes use of public wireless networks to expand opportunities among lower income and marginalized groups through improved digital literacy and participation in social networks. The program was created in 2000 through a partnership between the Government of the State of São Paulo and the Research Center for New Communication Technologies Applied to Education at the“School of the Future” of the University of Sao Paulo.
The government is responsible for the development of structuring actions of physical space and implementation of hardware, software and connectivity. The School of the Future at USP develops the virtual environment, communication strategies and mediation, as well as the training of monitors using blended learning: face meetings and distance monitoring. The partnership opens and maintains public spaces and free Internet access for the population of São Paulo, with the goal of encouraging, encouraging social involvement and mobility of the lower income classes.
The popularity of public wireless networks can decisively broaden access to the worldwide web, increase competition among telephone companies, and improve service quality and lower connectivity costs.
The emergence of digital inclusion programs are linked to the citizen’s right of access to the Internet and reflect the intention of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The Digital Inclusion Program AcessaSP is structured according to these standards.
The AcessaSP program is the biggest digital inclusion program in Latin America, with currently 737 stations in operation and 54 under implementation, accounting for more than 65 million people. Offering wireless services under the AcessaSP will have a great impact on the current and potential users in cities where there are service stations, increasing the levels of access and social integration of most local citizens. To achieve the goals of digital inclusion, the Acessa SP Program includes various service stations in restaurants, subway stations, bus terminals, in public spaces such as parks , libraries and beaches, in rural and remote communities, as well as special equipment for young children (aged 4 to 10 years).
In 2013 the program was the winner of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Award as the best program of digital inclusion in the world, competing with 300 entries from 56 countries.
Brazil has faced severe gaps in digital literacy; the digital divide is inevitably linked to social inequalities, and wide disparities in access to ICT exist between socio-economic levels. The Internet plays an important role in reducing the gap. In Brazil and around the world many digital inclusion programs have been implemented to address inequality, and to understand emerging digital literacies.
In Latin America, where the level of socioeconomic inequality, despite some progress, remains high, most programs have focused on disadvantaged sectors of the population: the unemployed, low-income families, public school teachers and students, indigenous groups, and the elderly. Digital inclusion programs such as AcessaSP have made significant contributions to promoting digital literacy and social inclusion.
AcessaSP is particularly concerned not only about access but also about what is accessed. The monitors who guide online activities are trained to instruct the new users how to navigate, use search engines, and how best to use government sites. They learn about completing and filing resumes, finding books and other materials that add value to classroom learning. They learn to use features to further their education and their professional development.
In addition to being a digital inclusion point, the AcessaSP can play an important role in social life. Internet surfers in disadvantaged regions can consult libraries, take public speaking courses, and get personal and professional assistance. Moreover, it is a place where people live, exchange ideas and discuss shared interests. A 'multiplier effect' constantly brings new people to the meetings. The workshops are open to all.
Another impact that must be highlighted is the research production of the program and the books published about it.
There are more than ten books published by School of the Future researchers that concern the development, solutions and attendance of the program.
The Acessa São Paulo Program is planning to focus on access for children (five to 11 years). It also has new projects such as Acessa Educa which promotes the recovery of government computers for deployment and improvements in computer labs in public schools, using science education technologies and tools to develop classes. Projeto Verde (the Green Project) encourages environmental projects and programs by the Acessa SP portal, as well as practical experience on environmental issues, with the inclusion of texts, short courses. Acessa + Incubadoras (Access + Incubators) promotes new partnerships with municipalities to act in the development of small, growing businesses.