The digital transformation of the society is a very important topic. Resistance to change must be worked on, institutions should implement digital processes on a daily basis. Everyone in the society should have the necessary skills to use the services that the institutions (will) offer. These are the main conclusions of the speakers at the opening of the international conference “Digital Transformation for Citizens”, which is being held today and tomorrow at the “Marriott” Hotel in Skopje.
The event was opened by Slavica Grkovska, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Good Governance Policies, Azir Aliu, Minister of Information Society and Administration, as well as Bardhyl Jashari, Executive Director of the Metamorphosis Foundation.
Grkovska congratulated the Metamorphosis Foundation because, as she said, it manages to keep the attention on the importance of this issue and emphasizes the importance of the digitalization topics.
“We are facing the same challenges we faced a few years ago. As a society, we could not keep up with that speed of development. We also have matters that we inherited 10-20 years ago. All this requires more dedicated work, it requires cooperation between the Government, the businesses and the civil sector. It is the only way to cope with the challenges”, said Jashari.
With this project, he clarified, it was noted that the main challenge is cyber security not only as technology, but also as standards and protocols.
“The other challenge is the digital divide in terms of skills. Everyone in the society should have the necessary skills to use the services offered by the Government. Another challenge is resistance to change. Here, I refer to the multi-level resistance. First of all, we have the fear of change, which is sometimes based on the fear that artificial intelligence will take over our jobs, but also the resistance of institutions to integrate new technologies”, added Jashari.
Without an inclusive approach, we cannot hope that the digital transformation will bring the useful things, he emphasized.
“We cannot just implement the technology. This requires very thorough planning, acceptance of change and collaboration, capacity building. As a foundation, we always consider human rights and human dignity. Being aware of the privacy, educating citizens is an activity we can do together in order to reduce challenges and protect our personal data. This is a complex process, especially the resistance to change, but if we cooperate with the partners in the region, if we talk about this, we hope that this is the only way to join the rest of Europe already using the positive things deriving from the digital transformation”, concluded Jashari.
Estonian civil organizations offer public services
Kristina Mänd, Senior Expert on e-Democracy at the e-Governance Academy in Estonia, spoke in a video address about the role of civil society organizations in the formation of politics and electronic services.
“Working with civil society organizations means that the decisions made will be more socially inclusive. In Estonia, we now want to legalize marriage for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation. If citizens become more involved in the decision-making process, they will make decisions in favour of their needs. In Estonia, civil society organizations can offer public services. For example, when filing a tax return, an individual can donate the refund to an NGO that raises money for charity. That’s useful, if you have a tax refund, you can donate it right away. We have e-services related to healthcare, i.e. electronic appointment of a medical examination, issuance of an electronic prescription”, said Mand.
The conference is organized in a hybrid format. Some of the participants physically attend the event, and the rest follow the sessions online, through the Zoom platform and Facebook Live. The conference is organized within the project “Increasing Civic Engagement in the Digital Agenda – ICEDA”, co-financed by the European Union. The goal is to increase the engagement of the citizens in the creation of the digital agenda.
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