SINGAPORE - About 250 students will receive new laptops equipped with tools that can aid their learning in an initiative rolled out by United Overseas Bank and its partners.
Called UOB My Digital Space, the Covid-19 relief effort is a regional programme that aims to support students' digital learning as the coronavirus pandemic confines many to their homes.
Singapore is the first of six places where the project will be rolled out. The online learning resources made available in the laptops provided to Singapore students include complimentary online subscriptions to The Straits Times and a vernacular newspaper of the students' choice, provided by Singapore Press Holdings.
Singtel has provided a Wi-Fi package, while UOB is in the process of setting up an online resource centre where students can explore topics such as art, sustainability, financial literacy and cyber security.
"Given the diverse cultures and languages in Asia, UOB is working with educational partners across the region to co-create content in multiple languages and to localise it for each market where the programme will be rolled out," UOB said on April 30.
Students from Brunei, China, Hong Kong and Malaysia will in time also benefit. The sixth area will be announced at a later date.
The laptops will be on loan to the students for a year, with an option to extend the duration depending on their needs.
UOB said it is working with its community partners and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's volunteer centres to identify students who most need the laptops in their learning.
Madam Sufia Ahmad, the 49-year-old mother of a Primary 2 pupil from Fuhua Primary School who received the laptop, said the device will help her daughter stay connected and keep up with her learning.
"Being the sole breadwinner for my family, I have to care for my four children as well as my husband, who is in poor health. I'm grateful to be receiving support during this difficult time," she said.
UOB's deputy chairman and chief executive officer, Mr Wee Ee Cheong, said UOB has a "duty of care" to the community.
"Covid-19 has brought with it disruption to school-based learning across Asia and this is being most keenly felt by children from disadvantaged backgrounds," he said.