The Armenian-Indian Center for Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (AITC) has been teaching basic computer skills to elderly people in Armenia for 10 years.

The Center runs a comprehensive course “Basic Computer Skills for Elderly People” social program, which covers everything the elderly need to do on smartphones and computers in their daily life. The participants start from learning to use computers and smartphones independently. The Center’s instructors teach them how to browse the web, open an email account, use social media and Microsoft Office.

As the Center’s Program Coordinators Ani Asatryan and Siranush Misakyan said at the “Aravot Luso” morning program of the Armenian Public TV Channel, the courses include topics such as the different between making a comment and sending a private message and the rules of conduct in the comment section. The elderly are also taught how to use messenger chats such as WhatsApp, so that they can send messages and pictures, make voice and video calls without asking anyone for help.

The program is open to everyone aged 50 and older. The age threshold has actually been lowered because of the high demand for the program.

A new and particularly important topic in the program is media literacy. According to Ani and Siranush, elderly people often become victims of fraud and cyber crime because they do not know how those criminals operate online. Now the program teaches the elderly how to determine if a message is suspicious and what to do in that case. The program participants also learn how to find reliable information online and avoid fake news.

Participation is free of charge. AITC holds the courses twice a year, and so far, it has educated over 200 elderly people.

Participants of the previous trainings

For now, the courses are only available in Yerevan, the classes are held in the AITC building. As Ani and Siranush noted, it is impossible to hold the classes online because the elderly students often need the instructors to demonstrate everything on their own devices.

To apply for the program, the elderly people only need to call the Center, and the Center employee will complete their registration.

Lilit Simonyan, who has completed the courses recently, said: “I feel grateful for this initiative. The course helped me overcome the fear of using the computer on my own. I will definitely use everything I have learned.” Another participant, Narina Verdyan, had been struggling to use her smartphone before. “Now, I am very calm and confident when I use it. Thanks to this program, I learned how to talk to my daughter on Skype.”

The Armenian-Indian Center for Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (AITC) is a joint initiative of the governments of Armenia and India, implemented by the Enterprise Incubator Foundation (from Armenian side) and C-DAC center (from Indian side).  The Center is located at Yerevan State University, faculty of Mathematics and Mechanics, 1st floor.

The main mission of the Center is delivers both short-term and long-term courses designed to fit a wide variety of audiences and to develop and boost the IT sector in Armenia.