Acer founder reveals plan to expand coverage of public e-learning project


TAIPEI — The founder of Taiwanese computer maker Acer Inc. said yesterday that he plans to give more elderly Taiwanese people access to the Internet via tablet computers by expanding the coverage of a public e-learning project.

The public e learning project has been promoted in eastern Taiwan for many years and will reach the country’s central and southern areas this year, Stan Shih said at a workshop on reducing the digital divide within member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Shih is looking for more participation of local suppliers in this project, especially tablet makers using Google Inc.’s Android and Microsoft Corp.’s Windows platforms.

“In addition to iPads, we are going to add more Android and Windows tablets to this project in a bid to help local companies,” Shih said.

In 2011, Acer and Asustek Computer Inc. each provided 100 tablets at discount prices for 200 project volunteers, who teach elderly people in parks, community centers and community colleges how to use mobile apps on tablets.

The project was launched as part of the second phase of the Taiwan-sponsored APEC Digital Opportunity Center (ADOC), established in 2004 to narrow the digital divide in the Asia-Pacific region.

The major goal of the ADOC project is to use information and communication technology to assist women, children, small and medium-sized enterprises, groups with special needs, and those living in remote areas. Some 101 ADOC centers have been established in the Asia-Pacific region so far, with around 500,000 people having received training as of June 2013.