SINGAPORE - Bank of Singapore, the private banking arm of OCBC Bank, held its first coding and cybersecurity workshop on Monday (Sept 9) for 13 youths aged 14-15 from Montfort Secondary School.
The workshop adds to an increasing number of digital awareness initiatives launched in Singapore in recent months which are targeted at youths, ahead of a 10-hour coding programme to be rolled out for all upper primary students next year.
The two-hour programme at the Bank of Singapore office in Raffles Place featured augmented reality (AR) technology, videos and games to educate the youths who are beneficiaries of Shine Children and Youth Services which helps underprivileged children with learning and socio-emotional difficulties.
Some 35 Bank of Singapore staff volunteers helped organise and run the workshop.
For the AR activity, the teenagers had to use an app on a tablet to "scan" physical posters of popular video games pinned up on a wall.
Upon moving the tablet over a particular poster, a video containing some basic information about cybersecurity would start to play. The youths later had to answer a quiz based on what they had watched.
Another activity had the youths playing a video game called CodeCombat in which they had to move a virtual character around and make it perform actions through inputting lines of code.
"Nowadays kids find learning in the traditional ways very boring so we wanted to try something different," said Bank of Singapore innovation solution engineer Chandan Banga, who was part of the team that developed the AR app in-house.
"Topics like cybersecurity are important, not only for kids but for everyone. One of the things we found out putting together the cybersecurity component was how many colleagues weren't aware of how to create a strong password, for example."
The teenagers are part of a Shine leadership programme called Youth Community Outreach Patrol (COP) which brings together schools, students and the police. Among other activities, pupils follow police officers on patrol or join crime prevention roadshows.
A Shine spokesman said knowledge of coding is relevant for the youths' future, especially when they enter the workforce.
He added that it was important for teenagers to be aware of the dangers online given how they used technology and the Internet for a large part of the day everyday.
Bank of Singapore's workshop follows shortly after the My Digital Bootcamp programme was launched earlier this month.
UOB donated S$500,000 in support of the programme, which aims to help some 1,000 upper-primary students from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Central Singapore district pick up creative skills using technology. These skills include logical reasoning, algorithmic thinking and pattern recognition among others.