The project aims at strengthening the cooperation and coordination among all the relevant stakeholders, decision-makers, government representatives, as well as representatives of the business, academic and nongovernmental sector in order to improve the quality and raise the level of usability and accessibility of electronic services provided by the public administration.
“Although the inclusion is characteristic for the countries with a more advanced degree of development of the information society, this does not mean that we should not discuss this topic in Macedonia and work on it, since our goal is becoming part of the European society”, said Goran Manchev, adviser in the Cabinet of the Minister without portfolio in charge of Information Society – Ivo Ivanovski.
In the field of inclusion, as Manchev outlined, the Government is conducting projects, such as “Computer for Every Child”, the vouchers for the students, intervals of free internet access etc., which, according to him, are an introduction into bridging the digital divide in society.
The executive director of the Foundation Open Society Institute – Macedonia, Vladimir Milchin, emphasized that the people working in the central and local administration should increase their knowledge and improve their skills in order to enable the users to increase their influence in society and in shaping the public policies by using ICT.
“This means reaching the goal of having an open government and citizens who have access, i.e. coming to a certain degree of inclusion, without which the democratic, nor open society could not be imagined”, said Milhcin in his address to the conference attendants.
Marjan Gushev, board member of the Metamorphosis foundation, emphasized that we should be aware that in the future, we will have inclusion not only of people, but also inclusion of machines that will be part of the society as well.
“Knowledge and skills are among the prerequisites for establishing an inclusive e-government into an information society. The digital divide is increasing. The gap between the people using ICT technology and the ones that are not is increasing. Therefore, we need to bridge the gap and enable inclusion. We are aware that if Macedonia does not perform well in this area, we will fall behind the European countries”, stressed Gushev.
According to him, the “e” in the term “e-Government” stands more for efficient rather than electronic Government, meaning that the Government’s activities should be reorganized in order to result in providing better services for the citizens and businesses.
More than 200 representatives of the governmental, nongovernmental, education and business sector from 15 countries participated at the conference.