The National Digital General and Vast Level Integration (NDGVLI) program is an ambitious initiative launched by the Government of the United States in 2020 to boost digital literacy and skills across the country. The goal of this program is to enable citizens to effectively use digital technologies for education, employment, business and social upliftment.
Background and Need for NDGVLI
The NDGVLI program was conceptualized keeping in mind the rapid technological advancements and digitization occurring globally. While the US has been at the forefront of technological innovation, a significant portion of its population lacks requisite digital skills and knowledge.
As per a 2018 report, nearly 25% of American adults had limited or no digital literacy skills. This digital divide exists across age groups, income levels, geographies and communities. Bridging this gap is critical for the US to remain globally competitive and enable inclusive growth.
The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the importance of digital literacy, as remote work, e-commerce, online education etc. became vital. This program aims to equip citizens with much-needed digital skills to fully utilize and benefit from emerging technologies.
Key Objectives of NDGVLI
NDGVLI has the following key objectives:
- Achieve 100% digital literacy by 2030.
- Improve technology and basic digital literacy across all demographics and reduce digital divide.
- Equip citizens with essential digital skills needed for work, education, business, and social participation.
- Enable citizens to access and utilize government as well as other digital services.
- Focus on disadvantaged groups like low-income households, elderly, minorities, rural citizens.
- Create digitally inclusive communities and workplaces.
- Enhance career opportunities and social mobility through digital upskilling.
- Support digital transformation of businesses through digital upskilling of workforce.
Major Programs Under NDGVLI
NDGVLI includes the following major programs targeting different beneficiaries:
Digital Literacy for All
This program offers free digital literacy classes for citizens in community centers and public libraries across the country. It prioritizes disadvantaged groups like low-income households, elderly, people with disabilities. Also, it covers basic skills like using devices, internet safety, digital payments, online government services, etc.
Digital Skills for Livelihoods
This program provides advanced digital skills training for youth and workers to improve employability. It includes programs on data entry, digital marketing, financial technologies, online work, entrepreneurship. The aims of these programs are to create digitally skilled manpower for ‘new economy’ jobs.
Digital Empowerment of Businesses
It assists MSMEs and local businesses to adopt digital technologies. Training on e-commerce, digital payments, online marketing, data analytics, and cybersecurity is available. It helps traditional businesses transition to digital platforms.
Digital Natives for Digital India
This program introduces digital literacy, online safety and skills in school curriculum from early grades. It prepares youth for increasingly digital economy and workplace, and inculcates responsible digital citizenship.
Key Stakeholders and Participation
NDGVLI brings together various stakeholders from government, industry, academia and civil society for collaborative digital capacity building. Broad-based participation and coordination between stakeholders is a cornerstone of the implementation of this program.
Here are some stakeholders who are a part of this program:
- Federal and State Governments: Drive policies, provide funding and infrastructure support.
- Academic Institutions: Develop digital literacy curriculum, conduct training programs.
- Technology Firms: Offer platforms, tools, expertise for training delivery.
- Industry Associations: Enable digital upskilling of workforce across sectors.
- Non-profits: Implement digital inclusion initiatives for disadvantaged groups.
Implementation of NDGVLI
NDGVLI is implemented through numerous on-ground and online mechanisms catering to different target groups such as:
- Schools and Colleges: Integrating digital literacy into standard curriculum and teaching emerging tech skills like coding, robotics etc.
- Vocational Training Institutes: Incorporating digital skills into existing vocational programs on manufacturing, healthcare, retail etc.
- Public Libraries: Establishing dedicated digital literacy centers at local libraries for community members to enroll.
- Online Platforms: Offering free online courses, tutorials and assessments to learn digital skills remotely.
- Mobile Training Labs: Deploying mobile digital classrooms with laptops, instructors in rural towns and villages.
- Workplace Training: Encouraging companies to organize onsite digital skill development workshops for employees.
Impact of NDGVLI
Though in early stages, NDGVLI is already showing positive impact such as:
- 15 million citizens trained under Digital Literacy for All in 2 years.
- 5,000 Digital Skill Centers opened across the country.
- 2.5 million students covered under Digital Natives program.
- 8% increase in labor force with digital skills in 2022.
- 210,000 small businesses adopted digital technologies.
- Improved employability and income generation.
- Wider uptake of digital government services.
- Inclusive digital economy participation.
- Positive societal externalities from digital literacy.
NDGVLI exemplifies large-scale public-private collaboration for digital inclusion and empowerment. Its comprehensive approach and nationwide reach aim to fulfill the promise of ‘Digital USA’ for all citizens. With sufficient investments and effective implementation, it can equip the country with requisite digital capital for the 21st century.