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Speech By Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, at The Silver Infocomm Day at ITE College Central

21 September 2013 - Speech By Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, at The Silver Infocomm Day at ITE College Central on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 10.25am

Speech By Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, at The Silver Infocomm Day at ITE College Central on Saturday, 21 September 2013 at 10.25am.

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

1. Good morning. It is my pleasure to join you today at the seventh Silver Infocomm Day.

Enabling Seniors to Remain Connected in the Digital Age

2. More and more of our seniors are riding the global technology wave with ease to improve their quality of life. Over 50 per cent of the borrowers for iPads at Bedok and Bukit Merah Public Libraries, as part of the National Library Board's eDevice loan service, are seniors! With the iPads, they can access more than 3 million eBooks, as well as e-magazines and e-newspapers from around the world, and 130 eDatabases for online news and other information.

3. To encourage more seniors to discover the brand new experiences using infocomm skills, the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore or IDA has put in place a suite of infocomm initiatives. The Silver Infocomm Day, now into its seventh year, is one such initiative. IDA has also placed 124 Silver Infocomm Hotspots (SIHs) at Community Clubs, public libraries, self-help group centres and Residents' Committees island-wide for our seniors to access the Internet and e-services.

4. I am pleased that two new infocomm courses will be introduced today, as part of the Silver Infocomm Curriculum. These courses will be conducted at the 12 Silver Infocomm Junctions (SIJs) island-wide such as Woodlands Regional Library. Our seniors will learn to perform tasks such as managing their CPF accounts and applying for passports online. It is exciting that they will also learn how to use cloud computing enabled services like Dropbox to send and share photographs with their families and friends! Besides these, existing workshops also teach them to use their smartphones on the iOS and Android platforms. As the Chinese saying goes - "活到老,学到老。" I am sure that many of our seniors will keep learning every day.

5. Since 2007, more than 77, 000 training slots have been filled at the SIJs and many of the seniors who have benefitted from these infocomm courses and workshops have volunteered as course trainers. In fact, at this year's Silver Infocomm Day, more than 70 per cent of the course trainers are seniors. I am heartened to see seniors stepping up to help their peers and give back to their community. An inspiring example is Mr Lam Tuck Choy, aged 57, who is a volunteer and certified IT trainer at the Organisation for Senior Volunteers or RSVP. He is also a speaker at today's Chinese seminar and will be conducting IT training workshops. Mr Lam uses social networking tools such as Whatsapp to stay connected with his children and accesses his emails on his smartphone and tablet. Till today, he continues to upgrade his infocomm skills by taking courses, including learning how to use tablets such as the Microsoft Surface.

Partnerships to Promote an Active ICT Lifestyle

6. To encourage more seniors to pick up infocomm skills, a new project which is a tripartite collaboration between IDA, RSVP and the Council for Third Age (C3A) called Silver IT Care will be launched in October. RSVP will set up a dedicated IT helpdesk to help their peers who require assistance in solving technical infocomm problems, such as software and hardware issues. This helpdesk will be managed by senior volunteers and 20 seniors have been trained so far as call agents.

7. IDA's and the People's Association Active Ageing Council's (PAAAC) Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassador Programme encourages individuals to embrace IT as part of their daily life, and to inspire their peers to enhance their lifestyles using ICT. I am pleased that we will be awarding 24 Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors today to recognise their efforts in the adoption and promotion of ICT.

8. Mr Leong Poong Choon, aged 63, sets a great example. A grassroots leader, Mr Leong not only trains seniors at Jurong Central Zone 'A' Resident's Committee, he also proactively plans more training classes for the seniors on skills including digital photography and uploading of useful applications and games on mobile phones. Another active ambassador is Mr Muthusamy Gabriel, aged 66 – a certified IT volunteer at RSVP. Mr Gabriel has recently attained an Advanced Diploma in Digital Film Production at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and he hopes to conduct classes to impart skills and knowledge learnt with his peers. He also speaks at conventions and seminars attended by seniors, writes courseware for IT courses by the SIJs, in areas including computing and social media. Putting his skills and passion into practice, Mr Gabriel actively blogs and also conducts e-transactions for instance e-banking that brought about much convenience for him.

9. Mr Leong's and Mr Gabriel's efforts are indeed commendable and inspiring. Their passion in sharing IT knowledge also makes them role models for other seniors. I look forward to more seniors taking on the role of Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors in their communities and promoting the benefits of IT to their peers!

10. To make IT-learning fun as well as encourage family bonding, there is the Inter-generational IT Bootcamp programme at community clubs where students and grandchildren guide seniors during IT lessons. This programme has been expanded from just four schools from the Radin Mas Single Member Constituency that conducted bootcamps last year, to 15 schools within the Ang Mo Kio GRC this year, involving 250 seniors and 250 students and grandchildren. IDA will continue to work with community organisations to conduct more sessions for seniors.


11. In closing, the Government remains committed to equipping seniors with IT knowledge and skills to improve their quality of life, as they remain connected in today's digital age and lead an active lifestyle. We cannot do this alone – we need to continue partnering community groups and individuals to achieve this goal together. We encourage seniors with IT skills and knowledge to continue in stepping forward to help their peers in their ICT journey. I wish all our seniors a fruitful and exciting learning experience today. Thank you.