On September 29th 2022, IHF joined the Kick-Off Meeting of BOOMER, a Project co-funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Commission, which brings together 8 Partners from 5 countries (Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Italy, and Spain). The KOM was held in hybrid mode in Brussels.
Over recent years social inclusion of seniors emerged as one of the most pressing priorities for EU policy makers. Negative demographic trends along with rapidly increasing penetration of digital technologies in virtually every aspect of human living have promoted elderly population (seniors) into one of most vulnerable and disadvantaged societal group. Recent COVID emergency made this even clearer. In conditions of lock-down, the sad reality of generational digital divide has become clearly exposed. Adults in general, and among them particularly seniors, are more than ever exposed to the digital isolation. This is even more worrisome as it happens in a time of emergency when the use of digital technologies is a must for even the most essential activities such as online shopping, banking and access to information (including the crucial and reliable health information). Low levels of digital literacy make seniors more vulnerable to cyber-threats ranging from fake news to cyber-financial crimes than the rest of population. In this context, digital literacy can no longer be considered an advantage but necessity for elderly population.
In this context, the project addresses the evident and urgent pan-European need for rapid and concrete upskiling of seniors in digital competencies. More specifically, BOOMER project responds to the following priorities of the Erasmus+ Cooperation partnerships in adult education:
- Creating upskilling pathways, improving accessibility and increasing take-up of adult education;
- Addressing digital transformation through development of digital readiness, resilience and capacity;
- Improving the availability of high quality learning opportunities for adults.
The BOOMER consortium will achieve the project goals thanks to the following results:
- Developing the BOOMER virtual corner, a multilanguage open educational resource containing all the project results,
- BOOMER skills and competences audit, an analysis on the learning needs of elderly population in the countries of the project consortium and at EU level,
- Developing the BOOMER training material, which will be tested and validated on the target group.
During the meeting, the consortium as a whole discussed about the overall project implementation schedule, defining timelines and respective duties in the following months. In particular, the partnership will upload the OER platform by the end of 2022: the BOOMER official website will represent a repository of project’s outputs, results, news and contacts. A mapping activity will follow in order to identify the main trends, issues, best practices and policy support systems in the countries represented in the Consortium. This mapping activity will culminate in the skills audit report report on the state of the art about digital isolation of seniors in Europe and will represent the basis for the development of training courses and tools.