Monday, June 20, 2016

Estonia: More young people studying e-governance every day

Estonia is today a world reference when talking about digital democracy. The government offers a vast array of online services, which its citizens access through a digital ID card. It is also worth noting that the online voting technology they have developed has been used in several processes in different countries.   

To keep developing these platforms that have improved the quality of life of millions, several of the country’s public and private universities are offering top-of-the-line courses to young people interested in innovation and e-governance.  

One of these institutions is the Tallinn University of Technology  (TUT), which offers a MSc in technology and e-governance services to native and foreign students. This degree, driven by the public and private sectors, is a priority for the country, and the subject is openly promoted by president Toomas Hendrik Ilves, a confessed lover of innovative technology. 
At TUT, students with ideas for first-level startups want to be ambassadors for Estonia’s electoral technology and make it known worldwide. One of them is Crystal LaGrone from Oklahoma, USA, who is halfway through the masters program and wants to bring e-voting technology back home.   

LaGrone came to Estonia as a visitor and quickly became interested in innovation. “I’ve discovered great advances in IT, particularly Internet voting”. 

This student, who had no previous IT experience, thinks that Internet voting could strengthen democracy and increase turnout in the United States. In her opinion, the masters program offers extensive knowledge on how to found a modern statethe transition to e-government, its development and management. 

Her objective is clear: returning to the United States to improve e-voting systems, a tool designed to strengthen democracy by preventing paper-based fraud.  “If we managed to take a man to the moon and bring him back, Internet voting couldn’t possibly be as hard”.