19 September 2010 - Speech by Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at The Silver Infocomm Day 2010, Singapore Polytechnic
Speech by Mr Lui Tuck Yew, Acting Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts at The Silver Infocomm Day 2010, Singapore Polytechnic, 10.00am, 19 September 2010
Mr Ronnie Tay, CEO of IDA
Dr Philbert Chin, President of RSVP Singapore
Mr Lim Peng Hun, Deputy Principal, Singapore Polytechnic
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
1. Welcome to the fourth annual Silver Infocomm Day, which is jointly organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (or IDA) and RSVP Singapore, the Organisation of Senior Volunteers. Silver Infocomm Day was introduced as part of IDA's Silver Infocomm Initiative in 2007 to create awareness and educate senior citizens about IT applications, gadgets and the use of the Internet.
2. We are in a digital age where infocomm is changing the way we live our lives and interact with one another. For example, email and video conferencing help us to keep in touch with family members and friends without leaving our homes, while the Internet allows us to carry out transactions with government agencies and other institutions without having to join a queue.
3. Take for example, Mr Gabriel Muthusamy, 63 years old, who once shared this story about how he needed to get a replacement for his IC. Instead of hopping into his car to drive to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority Building at Kallang Road, he took the digital highway to the eCitizen portal, sent in his application online, and booked a time slot to collect his new IC. On the day of collection, he went to the ICA Building and got his IC within 40 minutes. His car park coupon had not even expired! This is one of the many conveniences infocomm has brought into our daily lives, improving the efficiency of some of the tasks which took us a lengthier time before. Sometimes, it is easy to feel intimidated by new technology, but it just takes a little nudge in the right direction, and assistance from the right people, and we will be able to reap the benefits offered by infocomm.
Raising Awareness of Infocomm and its Benefits
4. To help senior citizens embrace a digital lifestyle, I am pleased to announce that there will be an increase in funding from $2.5 million to $4.2 million for the Silver Infocomm Initiative. This increased support will go towards organising programmes to raise awareness of the benefits of infocomm and providing incentives to encourage its usage among senior citizens.
5. One key programme of this initiative is the Silver Infocomm Day. Since 2007, over 4,500 senior citizens have familiarised themselves with the benefits and use of infocomm. This year, it has attracted over 5,200 registrations, which is almost double of last year's participation.
6. Also highly popular among the seniors are the infocomm thematic workshops where participants get to experience the practical functions of infocomm. One example is the eHealth-themed workshop where seniors get to visit the HealthZone exhibition, followed by a tutorial on how to access and make use of health information online.
Increasing Adeptness in the use of Infocomm Among Senior Citizens
7. To increase seniors' adeptness in using infocomm, IDA has also introduced courses and training incentives to facilitate IT learning. There are currently eight Silver Infocomm Junctions that provide senior citizens with customised IT training at affordable rates. These training courses conducted under the Silver Infocomm Initiative are constantly being reviewed and upgraded to ensure that the curriculum keeps pace with changes in the infocomm world.
8. Seniors who are interested in signing up for these courses would be pleased to note that two new Silver Infocomm Junctions will be added to the current eight facilities to serve seniors at Buona Vista and Canberra from October and November this year. Three more such facilities will also be set up by 2013 to meet the growing demand for customised infocomm training.
9. And for those who need more encouragement to go for these IT courses, IDA has launched a training incentive programme that rewards seniors who complete 30 hours of IT training with an additional $100 discount when they purchase a PC Bundle under the Silver Gen PC Specials. I was told that this programme has received a good response from seniors, with more than 100 PC bundles sold over a short period of time.
Enhancing Access to Infocomm Learning and Resources
10. Besides providing training opportunities, IDA also works with partners to enhance senior citizens' access to infocomm resources through the Silver Infocomm Hotspots (SIHs). These Hotspots at various locations such as community clubs and wellness centres, provide seniors with free access to computers and Internet services. IDA plans to set up a total of 100 Silver Infocomm Hotspots islandwide by March 2013. I am pleased to note that good progress is being made in the rollout, with some 31 Hotspots operational since the first quarter of 2010.
Word-of-Mouth and Peer Influence to Promote Infocomm
11. As word-of-mouth and peer influence are important ways in which senior citizens can get to learn about ICT and its benefits, IDA has initiated the "Each One Teach One" movement where seniors pledge to pass on their IT knowledge to family members and peers by filling up a pledge card stating their commitment.
12. Another novel approach is the introduction of Intergenerational IT Bootcamps where grandparents attend infocomm workshops together with their grandchildren. Such bootcamps achieve the twin objectives of enhancing infocomm literacy among senior citizens, while strengthening inter-generational bonding.
13. At the individual level, it is important for senior citizens to have inspiring role models that they can look up to in their infocomm journey. In the past Silver Infocomm Days, we had shared about various role models such as Mr Dick Yip, a retired teacher who has embraced infocomm and imparted his knowledge to fellow seniors, and Mr Sam Liu, who volunteers actively with RSVP as a course trainer. Other seniors who have been active in training seniors include Mr Gabriel Muthusamy, whom I mentioned earlier; Mr Harry Lo, a trainer with CARE, as well as Mr Chow Kwong Sing, who conducts IT training in Mandarin for RSVP and is very popular amongst the seniors. They, and many others like them, serve as an inspiration to the rest of us to seek and to share the knowledge of infocomm.
14. In conclusion, the Government remains committed to in its efforts to build an inclusive digital society and I encourage all of you to take advantage of the various silver-themed activities and opportunities to familiarise yourselves with the use of infocomm. This should not be viewed as a difficult step, but a life-enriching one that is worth your every effort.
15. Thank you for joining us today and I wish you a pleasant day ahead.