Goals and objectives: In Azerbaijan, the level of computerization was 8 computers per 100 people in 2009. The "National Computer" nationwide project was implemented in order to reduce the digital divide in society, to bring the level of computerization to the world average and increase the adoption of ICT in the regions, as well as the development of the information society and e-government by creating conditions to purchase modern computers and licensed software by different social strata of the population.
Implementation: The project was launched in 2009 by the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies with support of the Ministry of Education and participation of leading international companies. It serves as an example of successful cooperation between the government and private sector in Azerbaijan with the world`s leading companies. It was aimed at improving education through ensuring access to computers and the Internet, and primarily covered secondary-school teachers.
The project provided the opportunity to purchase new computers for interest-free loans without a down payment, at the cost 25-30 percent below market price; the installed licensed software provided for customers; the educational materials to increase computer knowledge.
Under the terms of the project, the target audience was offered minilaptops, notebooks and desktop computers with licensed software installed. Teachers bought all the equipment, benefiting from concessional credit for 12 months and got the computers by mail. In addition, participants of the project were provided Internet connection. The greatest activity was shown by teachers in cities and regions around Baku, Salyan and Guba.
Project management was implemented by using a specific automated system; an online system paid for the loans as part of the project. This initiative has contributed to the elimination of the digital divide; and has enabled teachers, including those living in the remote regions, to acquire PCs through a network of "Azerpocht" (National Post Company). Participants of the project acquired more than 25,000 computers.
The second phase of the project aims to increase the opportunities for pupils, students and lecturers of higher-education institutions, as well as employees of medical institutions.
Achievements: Overall, the project contributed by:
- Creating conditions for low-income segments of the population living in the regions to purchase modern computers and licensed software on favorable terms;
- improving the calibre of education and promoting involvement of the public in the global information space;
- protecting intellectual property;
- improving the ICT skills of the population.
Replication: The solution can replicated in other countries to improve access to education through public-private partnership.
Deputy Head, Division for Information Society Development, Ministry of Communication and Information
Tel: (+99412) 498 58 38; 598-19-77