Are there lessons for the UK in Finland’s ‘internet bus’?

Are there lessons for the UK in Finland’s ‘internet bus’?

internet bus

The Guardian recently carried an article about an ‘internet bus’, or Netti-Nyse in Finnish, which travels around the city of Tampere in Finald teaching citizens IT skills. It has been organized by the local government and since its inception in 2001 has taught 30,000 local residents essential online skills, given that Tampere is considered one of the country’s high-tech cities as it is home to companies like Nokia.

Given that the UK government is working on making its services Digital by Default and yet many people do not have the required IT skills to be able to make use of them, this is an idea that could be certainly looked into. The first bus, now out of use, cost £87,000 to convert – the money came from the city, as well as private firms who sponsored the initiative and provided computers and software.

According to the Guardian, the second bus “cost around £295,000 — about 70% of these costs were covered by the eTampere programme and the rest was shared between the Ministry of Education, regional funds and business partners.”

Elina Harju and Anne Kastarine, who work for the Learning Bridge Project Education Export Network in Tampere, Finland, and who wrote the article, have said that “the most important part of what we do is to create an informal atmosphere inside the bus. According to participant surveys, learners feel that they are getting the support they need; they are treated well and have a good time.” 

“Computers generally scare those who lack experience of using them, but once you relax you learn. And when you learn you get excited. According to the course reports from 2012, 93% of those attending the basic IT courses intend to continue using computers and the web afterwards,” they added.

The bright yellow bus is an example of how inventiveness, open-mindedness and teamwork can benefit the daily lives of people who, for whatever reason, don’t usually come and take advantage of these services. The range of services that the Netti-Nysse can provide is limited only by the imagination of its users,” the conclude.