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Welcome Address by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports &, Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts at Silver Infocomm Day 2011

17 September 2011 -  Welcome Address by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports &, Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts at Nanyang Polytechnic

Welcome Address by Mr Chan Chun Sing, Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and  Sports &, Minister of State for Information, Communications and the Arts at Silver Infocomm Day on 17 September 2011, Nanyang Polytechnic

ADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, CEO of IDA

Dr Philbert Chin, President of RSVP Singapore

Dr Yek Tiew Ming, Principal of ITE College West

Mr Chan Lee Mun, Principal and CEO of Nanyang Polytechnic

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen


1. I am pleased to be at this year's Silver Infocomm Day, which is jointly organised by IDA, RSVP Singapore - the Organisation of Senior Volunteers, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) and Singapore Polytechnic (SP).

2. Silver Infocomm Day or SID, has enabled senior citizens to experience firsthand how they can use infocomm to enrich their lives.  From learning about latest infocomm trends, gadgets and mobile apps, senior citizens can pick up practical tips and skills to remain plugged into the community and continue to be engaged in society and more importantly, with their younger loved ones. I am pleased to share that over the years, more and more seniors have been participating in SID, showing keen interest in wanting to integrate Infocomm into their lifestyle.  The attendance at SID has grown from 360 participants in 2007 to 5,000 participants last year. This year, we expect a turnout of 6,000 participants.

3. I am also pleased to note that IDA has made IT training more convenient as SID is being conducted at more locations. I am heartened to know that more students and staff from our partnering institutions are volunteering as trainers and cyberguides to help participants in their learning. With such additional support in place, seniors can look forward to a more enriching experience at SID.

Silver Infocomm Initiative to benefit senior citizens

4. There are many seniors who have embraced infocomm learning through IDA's Silver Infocomm Initiative. Take for example, Mr Abdul Rahim, aged 56, attended a course at iClickz Club to learn basic Internet skills and the use of social media tools such as Facebook and Skype to help him stay in touch and bond better with his children and grandchildren who live abroad.  60-year-old Madam Cheow Chin Wang attended various infocomm courses and used her IT skills to help her husband when he faces IT problems. Madam Cheow also enjoys a stronger bond with her grandchildren now because she understands and speaks the same "IT" language as them.

4Es approach to help seniors embrace IT

5. Since 2007, the Silver Infocomm Initiative has helped senior citizens embrace a digital lifestyle. IDA adopts the 4Es approach to first, extend the reach of infocomm, second, expand the course modules, third, to engage the seniors and fourth, to equip the seniors.

Extending the Reach of Infocomm

6.  IDA will continue to provide senior citizens with convenient and affordable access to IT resources and information. To enhance the reach of IT, IDA has added three new Silver Infocomm Junctions that offer IT training to seniors at Anchorvale Community Club, Eunos Community Club and Zhenghua Community Club, bringing the total number of such facilities from 9 to 12. In addition, IDA will also be setting aside $40,000 to fund more activities such as infocomm educational talks at various Silver Infocomm Hotspots which offers free surfing corners for senior citizens. IDA is also on track to achieve its target of reaching 100 Silver Infocomm Hotspots by 2013, bringing greater convenience to seniors in accessing IT resources and information.

Expanding the Course Modules

7. To meet with the rapidly changing technological landscape, there is also a need to ensure that the infocomm curriculum remains up-to-date and relevant. Besides current topics such as making online transactions and editing digital photos, new topics such as Facebook and blog creation have also been added to the curriculum since 2010 for seniors to pursue their online interests and interact with their younger family members on social media platforms.  Very soon, a new course module on how to source for TCM healthcare information will be made available.

Engaging and Equipping the Seniors

8. IDA will also continue in their efforts to engage the seniors through volunteer welfare organisations such as RSVP Singapore and People Association Active Aging Council to encourage seniors to pick up relevant infocomm skills through IT workshops. Since March 2010, about 38 intergenerational IT boot camps and thematic workshops have been conducted, training a total of 1,131 seniors.

9. With the growing popularity of tablet PC, IDA has also extended its Silver Infocomm PC Incentive Scheme and Silver Gen PC Specials to cover tablet PCs. To enable more seniors to adopt ICT on the move, IDA will introduce iPad courses from October this year and collaborate with industry partners to pilot smartphone workshops in the later part of the year. These initiatives are inclusive and help our senior citizens reap the benefits of the latest infocomm technology. 

Towards wider digital inclusion

10. The proliferation of ICT has also made it imperative for us to ensure that the growth of Singapore's digital society is inclusive. IDA introduced its NEU PC Plus programme in November 2009 to offer students and persons with disabilities from low-income households the opportunity to own a brand new computer at an affordable price. Since its launch, more than 31,000 needy households have benefitted from this programme. To encourage a wider take up of the NEU PC Plus programme, IDA will be increasing the income cap from $2,500 to $2,700 to allow more households to benefit from the programme. More help will also be extended to needy students with a household income of $1,800 and below.  Schools will be given more autonomy from the third quarter of this year to purchase infocomm devices, broadband subscription and software to suit the specific learning needs of identified students from low-income households.


11. In conclusion, the Government remains committed in its efforts to build an inclusive digital society. I am pleased to see the good turn-out that we have today and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the opportunities brought about by ICT to strengthen bonds and relationships with your family and friends.

12. I wish you a pleasant day ahead. Thank you.