September 17, 2011

SINGAPORE: Helping the needy and elderly get IT-savvy

SINGAPORE / ChannelNewsAsia / Singapore News / September 17, 2011

By S Ramesh

The government is stepping up efforts to get more senior citizens and low-income Singaporeans to embrace Infocomm Technology (ICT).

It's raising the income cap for needy households to own computers and introducing more programmes to teach IT skills.

The effort to encourage computer ownership among needy families started in 1999.

Since then, more than 31,000 households whose gross monthly income did not exceed S$2,500 have benefitted from the programme by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).

From November, the income cap will be raised to S$2,700 - to enable more low-income homes to own a brand new computer at an affordable price.

And that's not all. Acting Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Chan Chun Sing said more help will also be extended to needy students from households with an income of S$1,800 and below.

Major-General Chan said schools will be given more autonomy from the third quarter of this year to buy devices and software to suit the specific learning needs of students from low-income families.

Turning to senior citizens, MG Chan, who joined them at their Silver Infocomm Day, noted that there has been growing interest in the Silver Infocomm Programme.

Since 2007, nearly 45,000 of them have taken advantage of the various courses.

"The Infocomm Development Authority says it wants to make it convenient for senior citizens to enhance their IT skills. So it has added three more community clubs to its list of Silver Infocomm junctions where senior citizens can enhance themselves with a whole array of IT skills," said MG Chan.

With the growing popularity of tablet PCs, the IDA has extended its Silver Infocomm PC Incentive Scheme to cover tablet PCs.

It'll introduce iPad courses from October to enable more senior citizens to adopt ICT on the move.

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