Rostelecom and the Russian Pension Fund have summed up 2020 results of the Internet ABC project. Despite the pandemic and related restrictions, the project that teaches senior citizens how to use a computer has been successful.

More than 38,000 pensioners in half of Russian regions were trained within the program framework in 2020.

Computer skills were taught to 18,000 pensioners at 609 sites opened by PFR divisions in 47 constituent territories, while 3,400 pensioners attended courses at Rostelecom branches either online or offline. Twenty-six regions offered training on the premises of social protection institutions, the Union of Pensioners, the Union of Veterans, employment services, non-profit organizations and libraries. Those courses were attended by 17,000 pensioners.

Caring teachers and a creative approach to the new teaching methods amid epidemiological problems were distinctive features of last year’s classes. Besides traditional classes, pensioners were invited to new formats:

  • There were 19 temporary Internet clubs for people with limited mobility and consultations at home in the Ivanovo region.
  • Social workers taught computer skills at home via the Mobile Brigade service in the Murmansk region.
  • There were stationary, semi-stationary, at-home, and online consultations on the most essential issues, such as the opening of an account, the filing of a request for a certificate, and the use of email, in the Republic of Karelia.
  • The Ulyanovsk region opened the “Digital MFC” offering offline classes, in addition to the “Information Society Helpers” project that trained about 2,500 pensioners.Social protection institutions of the Samara region provided pensioners with training and notebook computer rentals for the self-isolation period.
  • Social protection institutions of Kuzbass provided online training and recorded tutorials specially for pensioners.Given the impossibility of offline courses in the Nizhny Novgorod region, where the Internet ABC project is traditionally very active, social protection institutions arranged webinars and offered classes at libraries when quarantines were eased.
  • Online training was provided to 190 railroad retirees in Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Omsk, Kemerovo, and Altai.
  • Regional branches of Rostelecom in Arkhangelsk, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod and other cities actively supported those who wished to train pensioners and supplied textbooks to libraries, non-profit organizations, and social protection institutions.
  • The Sakhalin Regional Science Library actively worked with pensioners and disabled persons in the Far East with Rostelecom’s support, and 750 persons were trained in all.

The pandemic hit pensioners and disabled persons most, as they were subject to self-isolation in the first turn. Under those circumstances, the ability to use a computer and to browse the Internet was vital as never before.

Please note that the Internet ABC is a charity project of Rostelecom and the PFR. All teaching materials are in public access and can be used by any entities and individuals to teach computer and Internet skills to pensioners.

The project is popular thanks to the materials well considered and adapted for elderly people. The materials are available on the website Azbukainterneta.ru and include a beginner course and an advanced course, as well as guidelines for organizers of Internet ABC lessons. All materials can be downloaded.

The Internet ABC continues to develop. New teaching materials and webinars for teachers are regularly published on the program website.

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