Press Release

Minister Máire Hoctor Launches Intel’s “Log On, Learn” Programme in Castleknock Community College

Minister Máire Hoctor today, 1st October launched Intel’s “Log On, Learn” Programme in Castleknock Community College. This initiative will be launched publicly during Positive Ageing Week, which takes place from the 26th September to the 4th October 2008.

The “Log On, Learn” program will involve transition year students ‘buddying up’ with older people from their local communities to teach them how to use computers and the internet. In 8 weekly training sessions (of between one and two hours each), the student tutors share their knowledge of how to use a PC and mouse, basic Microsoft Word and the Internet. In addition to this, student tutors will also boost older peoples’ confidence to overcome the ‘fear factor’ surrounding ‘new’ technologies.

This programme began nationally this year in September in over 20 pilot schools. Michael O’ Leary, National Transition Year Coordinator, Department of Education and Science, is fully in support of the “Log On, Learn” program. If even 85% of schools introduce it, over 30,000 older people per annum could be trained. “Log On, Learn” is an Intel initiative, in collaboration with Microsoft and supported by An Post, as part of their National Literacy Promotion. An Post will be airing a national TV advertising campaign, to promote the initiative, from December this year.

Speaking after she launched the Programme, Minister Hoctor said that she was most impressed with such a progressive initiative, and that she was convinced that it would make a significant contribution to the empowerment of our senior citizens. She added that Intel’s “Log On, Learn” Programme also gives transition year students the opportunity to drive, and engage in, a unique, cross-generational learning experience. Minister Hoctor also said that“this would undoubtedly provide numerous benefits for the students, including the development of their research, marketing and teaching skills, as well as the chance to enhance their interpersonal communications”.

The Background to this Programme Through a variety of sources, Intel recently became more aware that the ‘digital divide’ was widening. A high proportion of older people are now excluded from many aspects of modern life, due to their lack of basic computer skills.

Research shows that computer training classes offered / delivered through the usual channels (i.e. adult education evening classes or training companies), are not successful in reaching this audience. Older people experience a ‘fear factor’ and often express the opinion that computers are ‘not for them’. However, experience shows that training which is delivered in a local setting, on a one-to-one basis, at a pace which is suited to each individual, proves most successful.

Intel and Microsoft, through their technical know-how, focus on corporate social responsibility and investment in education, were ideally placed to develop this initiative. Intel is celebrating 40 years in business, by donating 1 million volunteer hours in 2008. Microsoft has been promoting access to ICT skills, generally, through its “Unlimited Potential” program.

In making services for Older People a priority, this Government has underlined its commitment to older people by appointing a Minister of State for Older People, supported by the Office for Older People which was established earlier this year. The Minister advised that ‘One of the functions of the new Office is to develop a Strategy for Positive Ageing. My goal is to develop a meaningful and innovative Strategy that will result in real improvements in the lives of older people.’