Mr Yatiman Yusof, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts - Speech The Great Singapore Surf, Nanyang Polytechnic ...

Mr Yatiman Yusof, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Information, Communications and The Arts - Speech
The Great Singapore Surf, Nanyang Polytechnic

Singapore, 30 August 2003

I am always amazed at how quickly a young child can pick up new words and learn to speak in different languages at the same time. Computer talk, or what we adults call infocomm literacy, is not a new or frightening language to them. Even pre-schoolers have become well acquainted with the computer and go online just as easily as they would in switching on the television to catch their favourite programme. A young boy aged 3 surprised his aunt when he asked her to take him to the Cartoon Central website. Convergence has arrived and it has touched the lives of our young - children now watch television, then log onto the Internet to continue with more hours of entertainment and education.

We also know that school-going children are doing their project work with the use of the computer and the Internet. Instead of handing in handwritten scrapbooks for their projects, as many of us did in our school days, our children are now presenting theirs in multimedia PowerPoint presentations. Instead of cutting pictures from the newspapers and magazines, today's children download full colour, high-resolution illustrations from the Internet.

All these point to the happy news that our investments in IT education and training have borne fruit. The infocomm literacy rate is 98% among those aged 15-19, which means almost everyone is on the correct side of the digital divide.

For the rest of the country, IDA's Survey on Infocomm Literacy for 2002 showed us that 6 in 10 Singaporeans aged 15 to 69 were infocomm literate, up from the 47% in 2000. This means more people now have the skills to carry out simple online activities like e-mailing, shopping, banking, chatting and retrieving information on the Internet. While we celebrate this achievement, we must bear in mind that 4 in 10 Singaporeans are still not connected.

For those who are non-infocomm literate, the survey revealed that their awareness of the computer is actually quite high at 76% but only 10% or fewer know about Internet-related activities like email, chat, online shopping, online banking, e-Government services and multimedia downloads. Email may have become a way of life for many of us but among the non-infocomm literate only about 10% are aware of it. This means that many still do not know what the Internet can offer! This poses a challenge to our Singapore e-inclusion movement. We do not want any Singaporean to miss out on the benefits and opportunities infocomm and the Internet can bring.

To help this group of people, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Ministry of Manpower implemented the National IT Literacy Programme (NITLP) more than two years ago to help bring on-board Singaporeans who may otherwise miss out, especially workers, homemakers and senior citizens. Today, six in ten trainees are above 40 years old and 77% have less than secondary or equivalent education. This shows that the NITLP is indeed helping those who are vulnerable to the digital divide.

Last year, IDA organised the first Great Singapore Surf (GSS) - I have no doubt that its name was inspired by the Great Singapore Sale! And just like the Great Singapore Sale, the Great Singapore Surf proved to be a hit with Singaporeans. Perhaps there is safety in numbers as most people turned up with families and friends to learn how to surf. Many of them now lead an active e-lifestyle, e-mailing and chatting with friends, surfing the Net for information and performing online transactions.

Responding to the encouraging feedback from training centres and the public, IDA has decided to make this year's GSS even better by making it more accessible. There are 3 training locations this year - here at Nanyang Polytechnic, and also at the Singapore Polytechnic and ITE MacPherson. This year's GSS will span over two weekends. We hope to see at least 5,000 people trained.

The GSS provides a good opportunity for everyone to acquire invaluable skills and knowledge about the computer and the Internet. I would like to invite Singaporeans from all walks of life to ride on this golden opportunity and make your move towards a connected lifestyle. Come and train with your family and friends, enjoy the event, support each other in your learning experience - the journey will be more fun!

Many Singaporeans have come to realise the usefulness of infocomm literacy and the difference it can make on their life. They can now engage in online activities for work, learning and play and at the same time, enjoy time and cost savings. They also recognise that the value of infocomm literacy will only appreciate in years to come, as we advance in a knowledge-based economy. As a result, 76% of NITLP trainees expressed that they would like to move on to the next level of infocomm training by taking up the Infocomm Competency Programme. This programme will help trainees to pick up infocomm skills that are related to work in an office environment, like desktop publishing, workgroup networking and Internet webpage design.

Since IDA embarked on Infocomm skills training for the nation, more than 220,000 Singaporeans have become conversant with essential computer and Internet skills. In the coming months, we will see more companies like Fairprice, NTUC Income, Singapore General Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital sending their employees for basic Infocomm training. These companies appreciate the value of an infocomm literate workforce - they realise that their employees can be much more productive when they understand and use infocomm technology that the company employs to automate and streamline tedious processes. I hope that more companies will take similar action. An infocomm literate workforce can improve the productivity and competitiveness of a company.

Coming back to the Great Singapore Surf, I would like to thank the 17 authorised training centres and sponsors who have helped to make this year's event successful.

In closing, let me wish all of you a very exciting and fruitful time ahead, as you start your journey of discovery and fun.

Thank you.

Title Date of Issue Downloads
Great Singapore Surf - Fast Facts 30 Aug 03
MS Word Document (41.50KB)
Highlights of Findings from the Survey on Infocomm Literacy for the Year 2002 30 Aug 03 MS Word Document (193.50KB)

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023