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Navigating the digital age: A journey of learning for our seniors
Uncle on mobile device

Navigating the digital age: A journey of learning for our seniors

Enriching lives, one click at a time

For tech-savvy Madam Zainap Bte Zainal Abidin, managing e-payments at her husband’s salon are a breeze thanks to her digital skills. In a world where digital payments are becoming the norm, many seniors, like Madam Zainap, are increasingly comfortable with such transactions. In fact, the percentage of seniors using online payments has more than doubled from 38 per cent in 2018 to 78 per cent in 20221.

However, some individuals from Singapore’s silver and pioneer generation still need support in acquiring skills, knowledge, and confidence to use digital tools to its full potential. IMDA’s Seniors Go Digital programme has been instrumental in enabling seniors to gain confidence and proficiency in today’s digital world and embrace the benefits of digitalisation.

Madam Zainap, a senior learner, shares on how acquiring digital skills has enriched her life.
Madam Zainap is also well-versed in using Zoom and WhatsApp video calls to communicate with family.

Gaining proficiency, one competency at a time

To drive digital adoption and ensure that no one is left behind, IMDA established the SG Digital Office (SDO) in June 2020 to help Singaporeans navigate the country’s digital transformation. Recently, the Digital Skills for Life (DSL) framework was introduced to help Singaporeans learn five core competencies: setting up and using smart devices, exploring information online, communicating online, transacting online, and being safe, smart, and kind online.

An illustration showing the five core competencies of the Digital Skills for Life (DSL) framework for Singapore.
The DSL framework aims to equip all Singaporeans with essential digital knowledge.

For seniors, ensuring digital inclusivity is paramount, especially for those who often grapple with rapid technological advancements and are unsure of how to begin their digital journey. Aligning with the DSL framework, the Seniors Go Digital programme is designed to help seniors in Singapore lead engaged, informed, and fulfilled lives in the digital world.

Courses for senior citizens are conducted at SG Digital community hubs, where SDO’s Digital Ambassadors provide one-on-one guided sessions. Seniors may also opt for group learning sessions as well as interactive hands-on activities under guided Learning Journeys. Through DSL online learning resources, seniors can gain a better understanding of the five core competencies outlined by the DSL framework, including general cybersecurity awareness and tips on scam avoidance. All resources will be made available in English, Mandarin, Malay, and Tamil.

Madam Zainap learns more about implementing mobile payment options from a Digital Ambassador to cater to growing demand.
Madam Zainap’s digitalisation journey started when her husband gifted her with a smartphone.

Empowering change, one step at a time

Madam Zainap, a dedicated volunteer at Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura (MUIS) and at her local mosque, is a strong advocate for lifelong learning. She has always been keen on digital learning and took up computer courses for her previous data entry role at a kindergarten. When assisting at her husband’s barbershop, she noticed the inconvenience customers faced due to the shop's cash-only policy. With a desire to make it easier for customers to pay for services, Madam Zainap attended a digital banking workshop to learn more about how they could cater to the growing demand for mobile payment options.

Armed with her newly acquired knowledge, Madam Zainap introduced digital payment options like PayLah! and PayNow at the barbershop. The impact was substantial. Customers appreciated the ease of transactions, resulting in more visitors to the barbershop and efficient tracking of the shop’s daily earnings. Monthly bill payments were also simplified. The adoption of digital payments not only attracted a younger customer base to the barbershop, it also streamlined financial management for Madam Zainap and her husband. Furthermore, she leveraged her newfound confidence and digital expertise to participate in the Community Development Council (CDC) voucher scheme as a merchant, accepting CDC vouchers as an additional payment method.

Madam Zainap poses with fellow attendees at a digital banking workshop aimed at enhancing customer experience.
Madam Zainap and like-minded senior learners can build their digital capabilities through free digital learning courses.

The digital learning workshop proved to be an enlightening experience for 65-year-old Madam Zainap. The attentive instructors, SDO’s Digital Ambassadors, and warm atmosphere made the experience less intimidating than she had anticipated. Not only did she grasp the essentials in a day, she also discovered how easily these skills could be applied in her daily work at the barbershop. Madam Zainap expresses her gratitude for the unwavering support and encouragement she received from her family and customers, which not only served as a strong motivator for her to participate in the workshop, but also reinforced her resolve to actively contribute to the digital community.

Embracing the future, one opportunity at a time

Embracing digitalisation is not an exclusive realm for the tech-savvy; it is a journey for all, including seniors. In the words of Madam Zainap,

Don’t delay the upgrade and never give up! There is plenty to learn to make your life much easier and more fun. It's getting more digital everywhere, and we need to be more tech-savvy now.

Madam Zainap

Madam Zainap continues to prove that age is no barrier to adapting to, and thriving in, an increasingly digital world. Her journey is a testament to the endless possibilities that come with embracing digital skills. If you are a senior learner keen to embark on your digital learning journey, find out how you can join the Seniors Go Digital programme, and make use of the many resources from the Digital Skills for Life framework.



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