100 more workshops to equip seniors with digital skills to be held from September

The digital clinics are expected to reach about 10,000 seniors over a one-year period.
The digital clinics are expected to reach about 10,000 seniors over a one-year period.ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

SINGAPORE - Efforts to equip Singapore's ageing population with basic digital skills are being expanded with 100 workshops to be rolled out from September.

This was announced by Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran at the ministry's workplan seminar on Wednesday (July 10).

These Merdeka Generation digital clinics supplement existing education efforts and are expected to reach about 10,000 seniors over a one-year period.

Participants take a simple survey to assess what areas they need the most assistance in, including personal data protection, and how to use Internet search engines and messaging apps such as WhatsApp on mobile devices.

Other topics include the tracking of mobile data usage, e-payments and QR code scanning.

The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is working with the People's Association to organise the clinics, with the full schedule to be available on IMSilver.sg in September.

IMDA began holding digital readiness clinics for seniors in a pilot programme in November 2017. The free clinics are held at public libraries and community events.

Almost 5,000 participants have attended the clinics to date, with 95 per cent indicating that they became more confident in using their mobile phones after the session.

 
 
 

Mr Iswaran emphasised the importance of continuing to bolster such digital readiness efforts in response to fast-changing technology trends.

"No matter what you are doing, you are perpetually catching up because technology keeps moving forward," he said.

"It is not as if we can one day say that we have arrived and everyone is now digitally savvy. So we must have the right attitude of continuing to learn."

The number of Singaporeans aged 65 and over is projected to grow to 900,000 by 2030 from 548,000 last year.

Almost half (45 per cent) of Singaporeans aged 60 and above are still not using the Internet as of last year, IMDA said.

However, this is an improvement from around 70 per cent in 2016.

The upcoming clinics were among announcements made by Mr Iswaran that were centred around building a safe and inclusive digital society for Singapore that leaves no one behind.

He also announced a new digital media and information literacy framework setting out learning outcomes for organisations and agencies islandwide that run digital literacy programmes.

The framework was developed in consultation with agencies that have previously organised such programmes, including Mendaki Sense, Silver Ribbon (Singapore) and Touch Community Services.

"Through the framework and the support of our partners, we want to empower Singaporeans with the know-how to use technology safely and responsibly, and to be discerning producers and consumers of information," said Mr Iswaran.