Kyrgyzstan: guiding young students through a digital landscape

Thanks to his participation in the Digital Literacy Lessons programme, 16-year-old Hassan now feels confident in his ability to navigate the online world safely and securely. “It was interesting to learn about security in IT, about the proper use of the internet and about mobile etiquette,” says the 11th-grader, who is at high school in Jalal-Abad. “In addition, it’s great to now know how to avoid things like mobile fraud and choose the right tariff proposal.”

For Kyrgyzstani students like Hassan, these types of trainings are vital in an environment where low-levels of digital skills among schoolchildren expose them to online risk, while leaving them under-equipped for an increasingly digitised economy.

Funded by VEON operating company Beeline Kyrgyzstan, and launched in partnership with international youth NGO Aiesec, the programme offers carefully tailored classes (online and classroom-based) for different age groups. Reaching more than 16,000 pupils across 80 schools nationwide, classes focus on mobile etiquette, virtual security, educational and personal development apps, and media literacy.

In promoting digital learning through an innovative solution, the programme supports two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), SDG4 (Quality Education) and SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure).

And while providing invaluable social and life skills to young Kyrgyzstanis, the programme will also benefit Beeline Kyrgyzstan in future, generating demand from a new generation of mobile-savvy young people.

“Due to the fact that Beeline is transforming from a telecommunications operator into a modern digital company, we strive not only to provide services, but also to contribute to the development of a digital eco-environment, educating young people and creating specialised platforms for them where they can apply their knowledge,”says Galina Kucheryavaya, Director for Legal Affairs and Cooperation with the State, Beeline Kyrgyzstan.

Aiesec representative Venera Kanybekova adds: “In an age of fast-moving digital technology, it is difficult for the younger generation to navigate the information space, to protect themselves, to benefit from the internet and to distinguish truth from lies. Through our trainings, we guide children and teach them digital skills and security.”

It’s great to now know how to avoid things like mobile fraud

Digital Literacy Lessons participant