Bonding with students at seniors' IT bootcamp

Bonding with students at seniors' IT bootcamp

Mr Lee Ngiap Seng, 64, had never used a computer before going for a three-hour workshop on basic IT skills - but it soon paid dividends.

Apart from learning how to set up a Facebook account and use Google, the retiree also had the opportunity to bond with his 11-year-old grandson, who was his "cyberguide" on Wednesday.

"He guided me while the trainer gave step-by-step instructions," said Mr Lee. "This bootcamp has given me the first feel of how to use the computer."

Mr Lee was one of 348 senior citizens to sign up for this year's Constituency Intergenerational IT Bootcamp - its biggest group since 2012.

The four-day workshop, which comes under the Infocomm Development Authority's (IDA) Silver Infocomm Initiative, is being conducted in schools in Tampines GRC to help senior citizens familiarise themselves with computers and the Internet.

Students aged 10 to 18 guide participants over 50 in lessons led by trainers in school computer labs. Workshops are conducted in English and Chinese.

"They usually associate IT with the English-speaking (crowd) and they think it's difficult to understand," said IDA's deputy director of digital inclusion Wong Shiow Pyng.

This year's bootcamp, which ends today, was organised by the IDA, Tampines GRC, the People's Association Active Ageing Council and 15 schools in the Tampines district.

Since its launch in 2010, 63 schools have co-organised 93 bootcamps with about 1,900 seniors participating.

Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education and an adviser to grassroots organisations in Tampines GRC, toured three schools where Wednesday's bootcamps were held.

"This spirit of learning new things and exploring new and unfamiliar topics like the use of IT is very heartening," he said. "I'm glad they have the courage to try."

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg


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