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What is an e-Skill?

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Broad definition of e-skills

E-skills broadly refer to the ability to develop and use ICT to adequately participate in an environment increasingly dominated by access to alectronically-enabled information and a well-developed ability to synthesis this into effective and relevant knowledge.

E-skills scan also be referred to as the ability of people to use and create all forms of ICTs to adeqautely improve life opportunities in their personal and learning environment, their quality expression, social engagement and to participate in the economy.

A concept of e-skills forms a fundamental part of:

  • building capacity for a creative and innovative workforce
  • an engaged connected society
  • informing an academic infrastructure to meet the challenges of the emerging information and creative knowledge economies

South African definition

The term, e-skills, has been defined differently across the globe. Following is the definition that came out of the National e-Skills Plan of Action, a working document from the 2010 e-Skills Summit.
For South Africa, 'e-skills' means the ability to use and develop ICTs within the context of an emerging South African information society and global knowledge economy, and associated competencies that enable individuals to actively participate in the world in which ICT is a requirement for advancement in government, business, education and society in general.

Check out the e-Skills Summit 2010 website for more information.

In this context, e-skills encompass a broad skill set including the following:

  • e-literacy skills: aimed at employment readiness, particulary target unemployed and unskilled youth and rural society (including starting own small business).
  • e-participation and e-democracy skills: focusing on enhancing citizen interactive engagement with communities, local, provincial and national governance processes to increase participation, self reliance and equity.
  • e-government/governance skills: focusing on increasing efficiency and productivity interactive bimodal approaches to service delivery of governments and its agencies across all ICT platforms including new cell phone technology, community radio, and the like.
  • e-business skills: aimed at increasing organisational effiency productivity.
  • e-user skills: focusing on enhancing efficiency of public and private sector knowledge workers.
  • e-practitioner skills: aimed at enhancing capacity of public and private sector to manage, support and service ICT.
  • e-community skills: aimed at increasing self reliance, participation and community support in a socio-economic setting to build social cohesion in ways that can better build local solutions to societal matters such as crime, health, education and the like.