The Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA), in cooperation with the Latvian Digital Skills Coalition Partners, was organising the Digital Week in Latvia from 24 to 28 April 2023. National annual informative education campaign was launched on April 24 with the discussion “What will be the Year of Digital Skills in Latvia?”. The discussion was broadcasted live on TVNET and LIKTA’s Facebook account, and it was viewed by 4,487 visitors from all over Latvia.
The European Union has declared 2023 as the “Year of Skills”, with digital skills at the heart of both the EU and Latvia. This places businesses and individuals at the forefront of digital skills for employment and entrepreneurship. While advocating for more active use of digital technologies and services, attention is also given to digital identity, security, and critical thinking.
The Digital Week 2023 program offered a wide range of information and educational activities, online seminars, and master classes across Latvia. The activities were thematically spread over five days and covered relevant issues for entrepreneurs, teachers, school youth, and ICT professionals.
The opening discussion of the Digital Week focused on various aspects of digital development, including:
- Which digital skills will become particularly important in the future?
- What is the role and competence of public administration in developing digital skills?
- How successful is cross-sectoral cooperation?
- How can we achieve the digital skills objectives outlined in the Digital Transformation Guidelines 2021-2027?
The discussion also covered ongoing and planned projects for the development of digital skills in Latvia. Additionally, general cybersecurity was addressed for both society as a whole and for businesses.
- Signe Bāliņa, President of the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA);
- Gatis Ozols, Deputy State Secretary for Digital Transformation, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development (VARAM);
- Gunta Arāja, Deputy Director of the Structural Funds Department of the Ministry of Education and Science in the field of vocational training and lifelong learning development;
- Uldis Tatarčuks, Chairman of Board of the Tet;
- Girts Ozols, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian National Radio and Television Centre (LVRTC);
- Janis Ziediņš, Deputy Director of the Centre for Cultural Information Systems (KISC).
“Digital technologies are constantly evolving, and to remain successful and competitive, we must continuously develop our digital skills. This year, we will pay particular attention to digital identity, cybersecurity, critical thinking, and data analytics. During the Digital Week, everyone has the opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge and to hear expert views through discussions with representatives from businesses and public and private organizations. These discussions will address the opportunities and challenges that technology currently presents to us,” said Signe Bāliņa, president of the LIKTA.
“Digital skills must be universally accessible to every citizen, encompassing both formal and continuing education and professional development programs. To fully utilize everyday services, engage in public activities, and use technology to grow as a society, we must continuously strengthen digital skills at all levels, from basic to high-level specialized skills. Our goal is to have 80% of the population equipped with basic digital skills by 2030. Therefore, I am pleased that we are revisiting this topic as part of the European Year of Digital Skills and Latvian Digital Week. Citizens across Latvia are provided with diverse and attractive opportunities to familiarize themselves with digital skills at all levels,” said VARAM Deputy State Secretary for Digital Transformation Gatis Ozols.
“2022 has been a year of great dynamism for digital security experts in Latvia’s digital space. The first quarter of 2023 suggests that there will be no respite from permanent cyber-attacks this year. As the number and intensity of threats increase at individual, corporate, and national levels, the challenges of digital security and cyber hygiene are at the forefront of all sectors of the economy. The ICT sector is a reliable partner in addressing these challenges,” summed up by Girts Ozols, chairman of the LVRTC board.
Gunta Arāja, deputy director of the Structural Funds Department of the Ministry of Education and Science in the field of vocational training and lifelong learning development, highlighted the situation: “Life in Latvia, Europe and the world in the 21st century does not call into question the great importance and role of technology in our daily lives. Technological developments and increasing digital connectivity are creating a demand for new skills and knowledge. Today, digital skills are becoming as important and self-evident as reading and writing skills: they allow access to knowledge and information, communication and full participation in public processes and influence their own quality of life and the quality of life of society. The Ministry of Education and Science therefore focuses on equipping people with up-to-date digital skills at every stage of life, strengthening the role of science and research, and creating high added value for business.”
Jānis Ziediņš, deputy director of the KISC, looked at public-private cooperation: “When it comes to the development of citizens’ digital skills in the near future, it is important to note the role of public libraries in putting these skills into society. Libraries have always been an important partner for both the public administration and the private sector, offering training and advice to citizens on the opportunities and resources available in the digital environment. In this direction, the role of libraries will only grow with the rapid development of the digital environment itself. As AI and various technological tools develop, many new e-services will enter society’s daily lives and we need to be ready to pass on new information and skills to citizens quickly enough. Libraries’ support in this respect will be indispensable.”
“The knowledge that Latvians have so far in digital security and the growing creativity of cybercriminals is not about whether I will be attacked in the digital environment, but when. To make this statement unrealized, we need to work together not only to talk, but also to improve our digital security skills. This can best be done by regularly developing knowledge in this field, so social education initiatives are one of the Tet’s priorities. During the Digital Security Week, let us tell and explain the trends in phishing and other cybercrimes and the practical ways to protect yourself proactively,” said Uldis Tatarčuks, chairman of the Tet board.
The recording of the opening seminar is available on the LIKTA Facebook account.
More than 200 partners, including the ICT industry, public authorities, municipalities, libraries, and non-governmental organizations, participated in the organization of the Digital Week 2023 events. Its main partners, along with LIKTA, are the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the Cultural Information Systems Centre, Tet, and the Latvian National Radio and Television Centre. They offer around 450 different information and educational events, online seminars, and workshops throughout Latvia.
More information on Digital Week events can be found at: www.eprasmes.lv, also marked with hashtags #eprasmes23 #ADweeks23 and #EuropeanYearOfSkills.
The launch event of the Digital Week 2023 was funded under the European Commission Order 2020-LV-IA-0217 European Platform for Digital Skills and Jobs in Latvia.