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Centre for Computing for Social Good & Philanthropy Launched in Singapore

Image credits: www.mci.gov.sg

The National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing (NUS Computing) has launched the Centre for Computing for Social Good & Philanthropy (CCSGP) to further encourage students to serve the community and to cultivate a philanthropic ethos among future generations of tech leaders. Over time, the school aims to have one in eight students participate in programmes or projects under this new centre.

The momentum of digital disruptions is gaining pace. As Singapore harnesses the power of digital technology to create new opportunities, it must also ensure that this does not result in a digital divide. Enabling everyone to progress together in a more digital future, requires all to play a part, said Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, who launched the new centre as the Guest-of-Honour.

This new centre will groom a new generation of technology leaders to make a difference in the lives of those around them. As Singapore becomes more advanced as an economy and develops as a society, it can also be a more caring and inclusive society. This spirit of solidarity and unity, at a time when the world is becoming more uncertain and complex, will enable the country to thrive in a more digital post-COVID-19 world, he added.

The CCSGP seeks to encourage students to serve the community even before they leave school, by widening opportunities for students to participate in community projects. It will also better coordinate the school’s efforts in leveraging technology to serve the community, especially the less privileged, in meaningful ways, said the NUS President.

The Centre will directly engage with students who will be tomorrow’s leaders in technology and will influence continuing digital transformation nationally and globally.

The Centre brings together three existing community programmes under NUS Computing and will introduce two new ones this year. CCSGP will play a key role in the technology and digital transformation that will help Singapore emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis. CCSGP will work closely with the community and corporate partners to inspire and groom tech leaders who are passionate to own, shape and act on initiatives that will lead to a digitally inclusive society.

Among its existing programmes, the centre will firstly continue running the Computing for Voluntary Welfare Organisations (CVWO) project, which is a summer attachment programme that started in 2007 and has grown to take in 32 NUS Computing students annually. Under this programme, students gain practical experience in building industry-standard IT systems that help local Social Service Agencies better serve their communities and beneficiaries.

The second programme under the CCSGP is the Code for the Community Project, first introduced in 2017. Under the programme, NUS Computing students serve as volunteers to teach and upskill beneficiaries from the underserved and special needs communities. CCSGP plans to develop a new comprehensive training programme for children from low-income families and to offer the programme to more low-income estates.

The third programme involves NUS Computing students collaborating with the Autism Resource Centre and Pathlight School to set up a new “Nurturing Neurodiverse Talent” programme, following a successful pilot programme in 2019. Here, persons with autism will acquire practical IT skills to improve their employment prospects and be more aware of employment opportunities in the tech industry.

Also, two new programmes will be started under the auspices of the new centre.

The first is a new experiential programme to help students learn the principles of leadership in a formal setting and subsequently apply those principles in a practical setting, for example through community projects with a VWO. Some 30 students are planned for the inaugural annual intake.

The second new initiative, called the Public Service Fellowship Programme, aims to encourage students to propose and undertake independent community projects. Students can apply for funding of up to S$ 3,000 to develop new independent projects or seek support for existing projects. CCSGP hopes to fund up to 30 projects a year and may consider expanding the programme if there is demand.

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