As Singapore prepares for the progressive opening up of their borders in the coming months, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), supported by the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), have announced in a release that they will be issuing electronic devices from 10 August 2020 to all returning Singapore Citizens, Singapore Permanent Residents and Long-Term Pass holders who will be serving their Stay-Home Notices (SHNs) at their residences or self-paid accommodation.
HTX has said that the electronic devices will help ICA enforce strict compliance with SHN requirements more effectively, and mitigate the risk of imported COVID-19 cases contributing to local transmission. Persons serving Stay Home Notices will be issued an electronic wristband, a gateway device and a user guide after their arrival at immigration clearance. Work Pass holders will be monitored by the Ministry of Manpower using a different monitoring device.
Easy-to-use Technology Aids Stay Home Notice Monitoring
The device needs to be activated once the person serving their Stay Home Notice reaches their place of residence or accommodation.
Activation is straightforward and easy. First step is to download the StayHome@SG application onto their mobile phone, then register their profile by providing the required information through the mobile application, in order to activate the wristband and gateway device.
They can then proceed to plug the gateway device into a power supply source and don the wristband for the entire 14-day SHN period.
During the SHN period, users are required to check their mobile application periodically for notifications from ICA, and acknowledge the notifications in a timely manner through the mobile application. Upon completion of the SHN, users will be informed either by ICA or via the StayHome@SG application to cut the wristband and uninstall the application from their mobile phone.
“We wanted a solution that offers ease of use to PSHNs, but also ensures users’ compliance to SHN. After weighing multiple technical and practical considerations for reliable, efficient and secure operations, we found this e-wristband, paired with an IoT gateway device, to be an effective, self-service solution,” said Deputy Director Seah Swee Leng from HTX’s Sense-making & Surveillance Centre of Expertise. He is part of the cross-departmental team, made up of officers from ICA and HTX that were tasked to source for and customise the solution.
How the Wearable Tech Works
This electronic wristband solution enables ICA to ensure that PSHNs comply with the SHN requirements. It comes equipped with sufficient battery life to last the entire 14-day SHN duration.
Electronic monitoring to ensure the PSHNs do not leave their place of residence/accommodation during the SHN period is done in the following ways:
Bluetooth Low Energy communication between the gateway device and the wristband will enable ICA to determine if the person is within acceptable range of the gateway device.The gateway device establishes its own connection to ICA, which is not dependent on external network access.
When the wristband is detected to be out of range of the gateway device, tampered with, cut or loosened; or when the gateway device is removed from the power supply – ICA will be alerted and will conduct follow-up investigations.
Data Protection is Maintained
All information sent from the wristband to the ICA’s servers is encrypted. At the end of the SHN period, all data collection pertaining to the PSHN will cease and the mobile application will be locked from further usage.
Information collected will be stored and secured in the government database. Data protection measures are in place to prevent data loss or theft, unauthorised access and undue disclosure.
PHOTO CREDIT: www.htx.gov.sg
Covid-19 has dominated 2020. It has been the top priority for almost every nation across the globe, and while dealing with the pandemic, many governments have also had to tackle national natural disasters and severe weather incidents.
In the first half of 2020, the world experienced many major natural disasters. And Asia has experienced at least ten of them in the first six months. The continent has faced everything from earthquakes, floods, landslides, volcanoes, typhoons, bushfires, all while dealing with the pandemic.
This year really has kept governments on edge, waiting for what is to come next. And this is a key point – What will come next? And are governments prepared for all eventualities? Have they planned for what would happen if a natural disaster were to occur? And how would they deal with a severe weather event while also dealing with the ongoing global pandemic?
Major Natural Disasters that Occurred in the first 5 months of 2020 in Asia
At the end of 2019 and early 2020, the bushfires in Australia spread quickly across the country. A state of emergency was declared in Queensland and New South Wales in November 2019, and slowly all the other states followed as the fires continued to spread.
The Australian bushfires are considered one of the biggest natural disasters of the year. The extent of damage ranged from an estimated 18 million hectares burned, over 9000 buildings and homes destroyed, and 400 deaths directly or indirectly.
Flash Floods, Indonesia
Flash floods occurred throughout the Indonesian capital of Jakarta and its metropolitan area on the early hours of 1 January 2020, due to the overnight rain which experienced nearly 400 millimetres (15 in) of rainwater, causing the Ciliwung and Cisadane rivers to overflow. At least 66 people have been killed, and 60,000 displaced in the worst flooding in the area since 2007.
Volcano Eruption, Philippines
The second most active volcano in the Philippines, Taal Volcano erupted in January 2020. On 12th January. As a result, a large amount of ash dust was emitted and forced authorities to evacuate over 8,000 people close by and 3,00,000 people overall.
Cyclone Amphan, Bangladesh-India
Cyclone Amphan is classified as one of the most powerful, deadly tropical cyclones to ever impact Bangladesh and India. It was categorized as a category 5 hurricane and the havoc it wreaked was devastating. It caused landfalls, heavy rains and lightning causing major destruction and killing 12 people.
Forest Fires, Uttarakhand – India
In May, a forest fire that lasted for days caused Uttarakhand to burn. What may have started as a small fire has managed to engulf 51 hectares of forest land. 2 deaths and several others have been injured.
Assam Floods, India
Many parts of Assam have experienced heavy rains and as a result, have been negatively affected in the form of floods. 128 villages, 5 districts and many more have been affected.
Disaster and Emergency Management Agencies release figures showing the true extent of the cost of severe weather
As Governments throughout Asia release the figures relating to severe weather and natural disasters, it is evident how costly these events are in terms of lives, homes, economy and infrastructure.
Natural disasters continue to hit China, and the country lost 271 lives during the first half of 2020, an official report showed. Some 19,000 houses were destroyed and 785,000 houses damaged during the last six months across mainland China, causing an economic loss of $11.5 billion, Global Times quoted a report by the Ministry of Emergency Management.
Last month’s heavy floods in eight provinces and regions of southern and eastern China affected more than a million people. The June 8 floods affected at least 1.76 million people, with 120,000 evacuated, nine dying and five missing, according to the Centre of Disaster Reduction in China.
The National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) released numbers this week, they recorded 2,059 natural disasters that struck Indonesia during the period from January to September 20, with the number of deaths reaching 282.
Indonesia was hit by 771 incidents of floods, 534 whirlwinds, and 377 landslides. The natural disasters had affected and displaced a total of 4.2 million people, claimed 282 lives, and rendered 25 people missing while causing injuries to 427 others.
Furthermore, natural disasters damaged 30,655 homes and 1,419 public facilities. The country also recorded a total of 302 forest and land fires as well as five volcanic eruptions.
Governments Urge For Better Response to Severe Weather and Natural Disasters
Governments are quickly realising the need to act now to prevent, or rather, manage the events that they already know could happen at any time. This week saw governments in Asia review emergency planning and funding strategies as well as call on their technology institutes to work on preventing future disasters.
The Royal Commission in Australia, heard this week that more frequent natural disasters in Australia will become ‘a major strategic problem in its own right’. The commission is in its final week of hearings and is due to deliver its final report to the federal government on 28 October.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) was called in to help the bushfire response this summer, and have been integrated into health and police departments as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. Peter Jennings, the executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told the Royal Commission on Tuesday this week that the ADF would not be able to continue support with its actual defence responsibility without additional funding.
Peter Jennings added that more frequent and more severe national disasters, exacerbated by the climate crisis, would become “a major strategic problem in its own right”. And that the Pacific region, and south-east Asia, would be “the epicentre of natural disaster risk going forward”.
One of the initiatives that the Australian government is using to help with crises is a public warning system. In combination with Australia’s major telecommunications companies, the Everbridge Public Warning solution will be used to power Emergency Alert Australia, providing population-wide alerting to help reach the country’s over 25 million residents and approximately 9 million annual visitors.
Anyone in an area where a sudden, critical event occurs such as fire, extreme weather or a terror attack, residents and visitors to Australia will receive location-based SMS notifications on their mobile phones, in addition to smartphone mobile app notifications and fixed-line voice alerts, among other modes of communication.
Also, this week, speaking at the Indian Institute of Technology, on Tuesday 22nd of September, Prime Minister Modi, India urged the IIT to use this experience in helping the state governments of the Northeastern region to tackle the various natural and other disasters which have been having a negative impact on the development prospects of the region.
He called for the IIT to form a centre for disaster management and risk reduction for the region. The Prime Minister said “The North East is full of possibilities. But it has problems of floods, earthquakes, life slam hand industrial disasters also, and the governments have to spend their time tackling these.”
The Missing Puzzle Piece: An Integrated CEM Platform
Many governments and national, regional and state authorities rely on multiple, separate systems for their critical event management (CEM).
According to world experts in Critical Event Management – Everbridge, these silos can spell redundancies in information and processes, data contradictions, and, in worst-case scenarios, greater loss of life and damages.
Without an integrated CEM platform, command centres and security teams can’t respond as quickly and as thoroughly as situation warrants, which in turn negatively affects budgets, stakeholder confidence, and employee and customer trust.
With an integrated CEM platform, however, rapid, consolidated responses are more easily coordinated. Emergency response teams and command centres receive threat alerts ahead of time, so they can identify, assess, and locate the risks, affected assets, and appropriate responders.
A CEM platform can also automate communications and by using a public warning system, action plans, and SOPs, so your teams have immediate access to information and can act at lightning speed. Later, analytics pinpoint where bottlenecks and delays surfaced and where they might be avoided in the future.
As the pandemic looms over the world for the foreseeable future, planning responses to severe weather events will continue in tandem with coronavirus risk management. And, as natural disasters are occurring more frequently throughout the region – it’s more important than ever for governments to evaluate the processes, systems, tools, and platforms they have to respond to critical events.
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Authorities in the central city have put on trial the DaNang Smart City app for smartphone users to access public information services and connect with local authorities. The Deputy Director of the city’s Department of Information and Communications, Tran Van Thạch, noted that all local residents and tourists can download the app to search for information related to public services, tourism, rescue, bus trips, open data, smart car parks, hotlines, or send comments and complaints to the local government.
He said the application would be a step towards the city becoming ‘smart’, an objective the city has been following since 2014. Local authorities were available for all online connections or switchboard 1022; zalo 1022 and chatbot. In 2016, the city launched gopy.danang.gov.vn to get feedback on city services from the local community.
The online portal, available in English and Vietnamese, allows residents and tourists to conveniently post opinions and suggestions, as well as complaints on urban, environmental, administrative, and tourism-related services. Apps for public bus routes (Dana Bus and Bus Map) are also available from the Apple and Google Play stores.
All problems related to security, tourism, public disorder, environmental pollution, and administrative procedures sent via the website will be dealt with within three working days.
Da Nang was the first city in Vietnam to offer free wireless internet, with a maximum of 20,000 connections at a time for locals and tourists on major streets in the city, including living quarters, schools, and beaches. Da Nang plans to become a smart and green city by 2025.
According to statistics of the Department of Informatics, by September this year, the rate of online public services at level 4 reached 19.1%, nearly 4.2 times higher than in 2018. Nine ministries and agencies under the government and 15 provinces and cities reached a rate of over 30%. Typically, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) have provided 100% of online public services at level 4.
Earlier, MIC launched an online portal, which provides data on state agencies in service of political and socio-economic activities, contributing to the process of e-government building in Vietnam. New digital services, in the process of a digital government building, as well as open data will be provided on the portal. This will make it easier for the public to use them to serve research, study, or product invention, as well as offer feedback to state agencies to improve operating efficiency.
The state-owned group Viettel also recently developed an AI platform, which is part of a chain of events to introduce Made-in-Vietnam digital platforms to serve the national digital transformation program for 2025, with a vision to 2030 approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the platform is currently focusing on areas such as Vietnamese speech processing technology (Speech Processing), Vietnamese natural language processing technology (Natural Language Processing), and computer vision technology (Computer Vision).
The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) have officially renewed a Memorandum of Intent (MOI) on 22 September 2020 to reaffirm both party’s continued commitment to help drive digital transformation across the Singapore business community, promote the adoption of digital technologies and position them to seize opportunities in the digital economy over the next three years.
Mr Lew Chuen Hong, Chief Executive of IMDA said, “Digital transformation is necessary for businesses to grow and thrive in this new economic reality. Companies that can quickly move to adopt digital technologies and leverage digital platforms, stand to benefit not only from operational efficiencies, but importantly, the potential to scale and reach more partners and customers beyond Singapore. As IMDA leads Singapore’s digital transformation, the collaboration we have with SBF underscores the importance of supporting our businesses to catalyse growth in our Digital Economy.”
The areas of focus include:
Digital Transactions between Businesses – Help businesses understand and adopt digital B2B technologies such as e-invoicing and e-signatures, through outreach and awareness activities, and work with key industry partners to raise their level of adoption.
Digital Economy Agreements (DEA) and Cross Border Data Flows – Help businesses understand how they can leverage Singapore’s DEAs and initiatives such as the APEC Cross Border Privacy Rules and ASEAN Cross Border Data Flows Mechanism to operate seamlessly across borders.
SMEs Go Digital Outreach – Support the development of digital platforms and outreach to SMEs to help them understand their current digital readiness and facilitate the adoption of suitable digital solutions.
Empowering People & Embracing Digitalisation for Resilience & Resurgence
Speaking at this year’s Future Economy Conference and Exhibition (FECE), Mr Lim Ming Yan, Chairman of SBF said, “The COVID-19 situation has highlighted the need for businesses to adopt digital transformation to remain relevant and competitive. This collaboration between SBF and IMDA seeks to provide relevant support to businesses in their digital transformation efforts, including efforts to push boundaries and explore new growth markets.”
FECE 2020, from 22 to 23 September, features 19 industry-leading speakers from businesses such as banking, logistics, e-payments and e-commerce.
Themed “Empowering People & Embracing Digitalisation for Resilience & Resurgence”, this year’s FECE is held online and more than 1,000 business owners and leaders have registered. The focus for FECE 2020 is on how businesses can optimise their digitalisation efforts and upskill their talent to reap sustainable business growth during this challenging period.
FECE 2020, now into its fourth annual edition, is organised by SBF in collaboration with five government agencies as strategic partners – Ministry of Trade and Industry, IMDA, SkillsFuture Singapore, Enterprise Singapore and Workforce Singapore – and 26 trade associations and chambers as supporting organisations.
Adoption and convergence of cloud, virtualisation, cybersecurity technologies, etc. have caused a dramatic change in the financial services industry significantly impacting its functioning. Further, most organisations were already on their digital journey when the pandemic hit – forcing a seismic shift in urgency and scope of the transformation.
The OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight on 22 September 2020 engaged delegates from the financial services industry across ASEAN to better understand the impact of digital disruption in this sector. The session witnessed overwhelming attendance and engagement from senior digital executives, keen on sharing and learning more about this timely and highly relevant topic.
The pressure to transform digitally should not out innovation on a back seat
The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia.
Mohit concurred that the financial sector industry was seriously hit during the pandemic and were, for the most part, reactive in their response.
Before COVID, organisations were working hard balancing different aspects of their business – regulations, stakeholders, customers, employees – in a F2F, physical context. With strict stay-at-home, remote working and quarantine measures in place, almost all fiscal and commercial transaction transitioned online. The need to go digital almost immediately, besides managing the regular aspects of business, has put the financial sector under immense pressure.
Under such pressure, Mohit cautioned delegates, organisations must not hold back on innovation. In fact, the industry should look at the pandemic as an opportunity to pivot – to ramp up digital transformation.
None the less, in this expedient endeavour, operational resilience must be maintained and security strategies must be reassessed. Existing protocols and processes must not only be maintained but need to be strongly augmented – adding new chapters as appropriate and necessary.
Mohit encouraged delegates to prioritise the well-being and happiness of employees as much as that of their customers. In urgent times like these, it is a well-trained, motivated and committed workforce that will help organisations stay afloat and thrive.
In closing, Mohit advised delegates to must partner with the right people who are experts in this field, it if they want to correctly balance the different aspects of their business efficiently and have a smooth transition into the digital world.
Empower and augment employees to achieve operational resilience
Elisha Harrington, Head of Financial Services Innovation, ServiceNow shared her insights with the delegates.
Elisha spoke about operational resilience as a driver of transformation and coordinated delivery of business outcomes. She echoed Mohit’s sentiments about financial institutions being under a lot of pressure as they were pivoting to paradigms that were unknown to them.
They had to deal with technological shortcomings, cybersecurity issues, connectivity gaps, compliance requirements, etc. along with adjusting to remote working. In such an environment, operating at scale necessitates that employees collaborate across teams and work with each other virtually.
Elisha opined that operational resilience comes down to an institution’s ability to absorb shock and set out risk tolerances for those parts of the business that are highly critical to its survival.
The strategy to survive she proposed, and indeed, thrive rests four main pillars: People, Technology, Facilities and Supplies. These pillars need to be in place and need to be consistently and continuously improved.
Additionally, technology and supplier resilience are critical in keeping organisations going. Elisha outlined three major components under this:
- Technology Supply Chain
- IT resilience and Outsource
- Cost of Resilience
Elisha concluded by highlighting the need to transform the risk and controls management across the organisations. To successfully transform, there needs to be integrated risk management which coupled with workflow optimisation will lead to better customer outcomes.
Digitisation is essential to serve customers effectively and efficiently
Kaspar Situmorang, Executive Vice President & Head, Digital Center for excellence at PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia spoke to the audience from a scale of operations perspective. For organisations serving a large number of customers more effectively and satisfactorily, Kasper felt, it is imperative to go digital.
To underscore his position, he then shared that his organisation’s digital transformation strategy that has two major focus points: First is digital business optimisation, that focuses on increasing efficiency and productivity by bringing in new business processes. The second is making the business digital, that includes creating new business models, generating new revenue streams and improving gross margins.
Kaspar stressed that good customer experience in both digitising and digital is their organisation’s top priority. To do that, they utilise AI as to both expand their customer base and better the customer experience.
He listed five critical competencies in which they invest heavily to grow: People with the right customer-centric mindset, Open Innovation Ecosystem, Data-driven organisation, Agile way of working and Scalable, reliable and secure technology
In conclusion, Kaspar shared the transformation framework of his organisation that comprises:
- Digitising core: Digitising their existing services. transactions and business processes
- Digital Ecosystem: Building an ecosystem to offer products and services beyond core business
- New Digital Propositions: Creating and launching an independent greenfield digital bank in Indonesia
He also shared various examples of the products and services under the above three categories to give delegates a better understanding of their work.
After Kaspar’s presentation, it was time for a more interactive and engaging session. The delegates were polled with a series of questions that was the foundation for discussion around the topic.
On the first question regarding major challenges faced by their organisation in operational resilience, a majority of delegates voted for lack of definition for ‘client business Services’ across organisations (30%).
A senior executive from Malaysia shared that it was imperative that the top management, (who grant the budget and the IT personnel in an organization), are aligned in one direction; if they are not aligned then there will be a lot of ambiguity around the business goals and objectives.
On the next question regarding the most important consideration for the future of their organisation, over half (52%) of delegates voted for data-driven decisions, i.e. using insights from big data and advanced analytics in workforce decision making.
A delegate from Singapore shared that he chose this option because he has observed that while there is a lot of data, it is not easy to assimilate and draw insights from it. So that is a journey they need to undertake.
On the final question about the need to do things differently in your organisation, the largest section voted for creating a better digital experience for customers (37%).
A delegate reflected that they chose the above option because it is a changing environment for the customers as well. Due to the pandemic, they want to go more and more digital. They want to avoid coming to the branch physically for things. So, the focus is on creating a better digital experience for customers.
After the polling session, Elisha addressed the audience with closing remarks. She thanked all delegates for their participation in the session.
Elisha concluded that if organisations have a good handle over their system, service health and necessary automation in place, they have the ability to start to innovate the core business services. This allows employees more time to add value to the core rather than spending time resolving simple/routine problems or getting lost in too many fragmented systems. This is the ultimate goal of service excellence.
She signed off by reminding delegates that ServiceNow solutions can assist and support them in attaining this goal and encouraged them to reach out to the ServiceNow team to explore ways they can collaborate.
The Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) and the Cuban Ministry for Communications held an online training course: “Designing and developing big data systems” for Cuba. It was officially opened at Hanoi and La Habana. The training course took place within a week with the coordination of the Embassy of Cuba in Vietnam and two of Vietnam’s leading ICT groups: VNPT and Viettel.
According to a press release, the objective of the course was to provide advanced knowledge about big data such as analysing, designing, and developing big data systems for IT application and e-government development in regulatory agencies.
The course will aid Cuba to solve challenges and tools for big data as well as related content. It attracted nearly 50 attendants from Cuba’s Ministry of Communications, ministries, sectors, corporations, and ICT enterprises.
Topics conveyed by Vietnamese lecturers and experts from the Authority of Information Technology Application (MIC), VNPT, and Viettel included: general knowledge about big data; big data processing; the storage and handling of big data; infrastructure requirements; how to manage big data using IPv6; analysis and presentation tools, models, methods and techniques math for analysing and integrating big data, etc.
The event is one of the activities in a series of activities celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and Cuba and the Vietnam – Latin America Relationship Development Plan in 2020.
In the framework of cooperation between the two ministries, in July 2019, MIC coordinated with VNPT, Viettel, and Bkav to organise training courses on cybersecurity in Havana for Cuba. Furthermore, to promote the specialised ICT cooperation between the two, MIC undertook several activities like participating in the La Havana international book fair in Cuba, publishing two books in Spanish and copyright granting activities, exchanging radio and television programs, and promoting images and the relationship between the two countries.
In the coming time, MIC will host an investment promotion conference in the field of ICT with Latin American countries in October and continue to host a 01 information security training course for Cuba, scheduled for November.
Vietnam has also been providing support to Laos’ digital transformation. As OpenGov Asia earlier reported, thanks to a program under Viettel, all citizenship data has been uploaded to the system, improving the capacity to manage data and information about people, and helping reduce administrative procedures. This is the first time that Laos has implemented the management of electronic civil status instead of the registration of civil status as before.
The unit in Laos was the first licensed by the Central Bank of Laos to officially deploy mobile money and is also the only company developing this service in the country, offering a new secure and quick payment method for more than six million people. This field is expected to generate 30-50% of Unitel’s telecoms revenue in the future. Founded in October 2009, the Viettel subsidiary operates across all 17 provinces and cities in Laos and has led the market for eight consecutive years. It is also the Laos government’s partner in implementing the country’s key e-government systems.
The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary, Fortunato T. Dela Pena, has announced future-proof initiatives through research and development programs and private sector collaboration.
According to a press release, the Secretary mentioned that the DOST’s new programs and initiatives are set to future-proof industries and the environment amidst the pandemic. Among the programs the secretary mentioned are the integrated mapping, monitoring, modeling, and management system for the Manila Bay or the IM4 Manila Bay Program and the Charted Dream.
The IM4 Manila Bay program aims to characterise Manila Bay and its watersheds and the link environments. The Charted Dream project aims to develop technology for the management and utilisation of dredge materials from the Tullahan -Tinajeros rivers system. The team from the DOST-Industrial Technology Development Institute and the Department of Public Works and Highways have already met to identify possible sampling sites and are already preparing initial laboratory analysis.
These projects are said to complement the government’s current initiatives in cleaning up the Manila Bay and its adjacent rivers and tributaries. The Tullahan- Tinajeros River system is a 27-kilometer long river system and a major tributary of Manila Bay. It spans from La Mesa Water Reservoir in Fairview, Quezon City, all the way to Manila Bay. It is one of the most polluted waterways in Metro Manila.
The secretary also mentioned other DOST programs such as the Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage the Philippine Economy or CRADLE. The program aims to help create collaborative research and development between the academe and the industry by working with the private sector in identifying problems; academe and other research institutions will provide science-based solutions.
Currently, there are 18 new projects from 18 private companies that have partnered with 11 universities to work in the areas of new pharmaceutical products, research on the dietary fibre of sugarcane bagasse (the natural antioxidant on sugarcane), the development of new materials from carrageenan, “soysage”, a sausage derived from okra, and nursery tanks for shrimp production.
Apart from that, research will be conducted on the development of tomography imaging devices, semiconductor packaging and electronics products, and home energy storage and energy management.
DOST has also announced it will stage the 2020 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) celebration in virtual mode for the first time, in November. It aims to highlight the efforts and initiatives of DOST and the entire scientific community in the area of research and development; practical technologies; innovation in agriculture, industry, and health; technical services and training; and financial assistance to entrepreneurs to help citizens adapt to COVID-19.
Technologies and services will be featured by DOST agencies and regional offices, academe, and private sectors in the virtual exhibit. Several webinars and other virtual activities will take the spotlight during the seven-day festivity, a release noted.
In the previous NSTW celebrations, all techno-exhibits and activities were usually held for five days either at the SMX Convention Centre or at the World Trade Centre in Pasay City.
From 1993 until 2019, the NSTW has been celebrated during every third week of July pursuant to Proclamation 169. However, in August 2019, by virtue of Proclamation 780 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the NSTW celebration will now be conducted every fourth week of November. The change of date was meant to ensure “maximum participation” of schools, students, stakeholders, and the public during the week-long celebration due to the change in the academic calendar of most universities, schools, and educational institutions.
Victorian secondary students will train for the jobs of tomorrow in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) at a new specialist centre, under a partnership between the Victorian Government and the University of Melbourne.
The Minister for Education and the Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education on 22 September 2020 announced $1.37 million in funding to create the STEM Centre of Excellence, hosted by Science Gallery Melbourne in Parkville.
The centre will include state-of-the-art learning spaces and introduce secondary students to new and emerging industries, and opportunities in the STEM fields via cutting edge machines, industry-grade labs and researchers in the field.
Science Gallery Melbourne is part of an internationally renowned network, with proven success at engaging 15 to 25-year-old students in STEM subjects and pathways. The Gallery forms part of the University of Melbourne’s innovation precinct, Melbourne Connect, which is due for completion in 2021.
The program will offer a range of programs focusing on creativity, design thinking and STEM excellence, to encourage STEM participation and prepare students for the future of work. Students will benefit from the connection to one of Victoria’s best research institutions and a global network of universities.
The STEM Centre of Excellence is due for completion in early 2021.
The Government is investing record funding to make Victoria the Education State, with more than $128 million invested to deliver 10 new Tech Schools – high-tech education facilities where secondary students gain exposure to the latest technology and real-world industry problems with local partners.
Investment in STEM forms a key part of this and is making science, technology, engineering and mathematics relevant and exciting for all students to lift their aspirations and build 21st-century capabilities.
The Minister for Education stated that the government is investing in Victoria’s future by providing world-class learning opportunities for local students.
The Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education stated that this partnership with The University of Melbourne is about encouraging innovation and giving young Victorians the exposure to the industries that are the future of work.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne noted that the STEM Centre of Excellence at Science Gallery Melbourne will be a key part of the Melbourne Connect precinct. The Centre will provide a unique learning environment, connecting students to world-class research, teaching, and industry partners.
OpenGov Asia earlier reported that Casuarina Senior College students will also soon have access to cutting edge science and technology facilities, with construction about to begin on a new STEM centre. The CSC Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre will be the third to be built by the Territory Labour Government, to support growing worldwide demand for skills in these fields.
Existing, unused classrooms will be repurposed as the new STEM centre, which will offer two new learning areas; a MAKER space for digital printing and laser cutting; a digital room; and a refurbished workshop to support student learning by providing interactive, engaging classrooms that make science and technology learning fun.
A Berrimah company has been awarded the tender and construction is expected to begin soon. The new STEM centre comes in addition to other recent investments in CSC, including a $940,000 library upgrade, and $200,000 for the installation of solar panels under the Territory Labour Government’s Rooftop Solar in Schools program.