New scheme to help kids in need learn digital skills

My Digital Bootcamp was launched yesterday with a two-day workshop for 100 pupils at Townsville Primary School (above) and Pathlight School. It teaches pupils programming concepts and the programming language Scratch to create robots and navigation t
My Digital Bootcamp was launched yesterday with a two-day workshop for 100 pupils at Townsville Primary School (above) and Pathlight School. It teaches pupils programming concepts and the programming language Scratch to create robots and navigation tools.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Free programme targets 1,000 upper primary pupils with disadvantaged backgrounds in Central S'pore District

A new free programme has been launched to allow upper primary pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Central Singapore District to pick up digital skills in a fun manner.

Dubbed My Digital Bootcamp, it is part of a larger effort to ensure that no one, including children from disadvantaged backgrounds, is left behind as Singapore marches into the digital future, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran yesterday.

"We want all our children, in every segment of our society, to be active participants in the digital future," he said at the launch event at Townsville Primary School.

Initiated by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC), My Digital Bootcamp is supported by United Overseas Bank (UOB), which donated $500,000 to fund the programme. It targets some 1,000 upper primary pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Central Singapore District.

The two-day workshop started yesterday for 100 pupils from Townsville Primary School and Pathlight School. Pupils learnt programming concepts and used the free programming language Scratch to create a robot and navigation tools while play-acting as stranded astronauts on Mars.

Lancelot Leung, 10, a Primary 4 pupil at Townsville Primary, said in the middle of a robotics workshop that he was "very, very excited" about completing the programme.

"I tried to build a Lego robot vehicle with a motor before, but it wasn't very good. I hope I will be able to build a much faster and better one here," he said.

Participants will also be given digital-making toolkits to take home so that they can continue working on their digital skills. Some of the items in the toolkit include a coding card game that teaches coding principles and a pen that allows users to draw items in 3D.

BUILDING DIGITAL SKILLS

I tried to build a Lego robot vehicle with a motor before, but it wasn't very good. I hope I will be able to build a much faster and better one here.

LANCELOT LEUNG, a Primary 4 pupil at Townsville Primary, who was at the robotics workshop yesterday.

 
 

Mr Eric Tham, head of group commercial banking at UOB, said: "We have been supporting initiatives that develop young minds, especially those of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope that through our support of My Digital Bootcamp, it will encourage these children to explore their interest in technology and open their minds to the possibilities of digital making."

Mayor of Central Singapore District, Ms Denise Phua, said: "Equipping Singaporeans with skills to navigate the evolving digital landscape is essential. Children are no exception. Regardless of their starting points in life, they, too, should be given equal opportunities to learn new skills."

My Digital Bootcamp will be progressively rolled out until March next year. More than 10 schools in the Central Singapore District have signed up for the programme, which will be conducted during the post-examination periods and school holidays.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2019, with the headline 'New scheme to help kids in need learn digital skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe