October 22, 2020

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SG Senior Minister of State speaks of building a digital ready nation at Tech4Community event

Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information made a speech yesterday at the Silver Infocomm Roadshow and Tech4Community event at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub Atrium on digital transformation and the digital readiness of the nation.

He began by saying that in order to become a digital ready nation,”We have to ensure that everyone has access to the tools, knowledge and opportunities to benefit from technology. So we need to strengthen our digital readiness, the readiness of our society, and our citizens to take advantage of these opportunities.”

Building a Digitally Ready Society

Last year the Digital Readiness Blueprint was launched setting out what it will take for Singaporeans and Singapore to be a digitally ready society as a result of that the Digital Readiness Council was set up.

Dr Janil Puthucheary said that “We cannot just have a blueprint, we have got to make someone responsible for implementing these ideas, and making sure things happen. So we put together a council and a tripartite partnership representation from the government, industry and community to guide collective efforts to help Singaporeans seize opportunities.”

Government committed to digitally educating senior citizens

The government continues to find out what is it that  seniors are interested in going online to do, how are they doing it, and how are they enjoying it through surveys . In 2018, the governments’ usage survey showed that there was a 25 per cent increase in internet usage among seniors aged 60 and above in the past two years. The Minister said that they have to continue to reach these citizens and to encourage them to go online.

“IMDA has its Silver Infocomm Initiatives today, promoting IT awareness and literacy to over 270,000 seniors since its launch in 2007. We have also got from IMDA a Basic Digital Skills Curriculum for seniors to pick up basic digital skills in a structured fashion. What this curriculum will do, is to allow other training providers to start thinking about how they might engage with seniors, and make these types of courses attractive and interesting.” said the Minister

Launch of the Digital Participation Pledge

At the Committee of Supply debate speech last month, the Minister launched the Digital Participation Pledge. It is voluntary online pledge. The idea is to encourage organisations to commit to promote digital participation and inclusion, and pledge their participation to digital readiness. To date, there are over 400 organisations from a wide range of industries.

SG Tech’s commitment towards the Digital Readiness Movement

For SGTech in particular, more than 100 of its members have participated in this pledge. “They are a very important partner in rallying the ground and getting the momentum going.” added Mr Puthucheary.

One of its members, has launched Tech-X, a Corporate Social Responsibility Programme, increasing digital access for the young and old, and importantly, involving volunteers from the company. So it is not just about the company’s products or ideas being digitally ready. It is about getting staff to also volunteer and participate. In this case, they curate and deliver courses in devices, software programming and coding to 300 beneficiaries.

SGTech members are also doing similar things, leveraging on their network and capabilities to bridge the digital divide. The Minister thanked SGTech and all of theircollaborators and partners for your efforts and added he hoped that everybody can have the opportunity to benefit from these programmes offered by SGTech members.

The Minister concluded “I hope more of our trade associations, organisations and companies can follow SGTech’s lead, join the national effort on digital readiness and come onboard for the Digital Participation Pledge.”