IT boot camp for seniors draws more participants

Gan Eng Seng Primary pupils helping participants at the Intergenerational IT Bootcamp get acquainted with computers and the Internet.

Retired seamstress Ang Eng Tee had never touched a computer in her life, let alone surfed the Internet. But she was still curious to try it.

"I don't know what a mouse is, how to go online. I find it all very strange," said the 83-year-old.

Yesterday she finally got her chance when she attended the annual Intergenerational IT Bootcamp.

The six-day event, which started on Monday, aims to help familiarise people aged 50 and above with basic IT skills through workshops. Participants are paired with student volunteers, who guide them during the classes. This year's event, organised by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) and People's Association, is being held at 13 schools in Tanjong Pagar GRC and Radin Mas SMC.

Some 420 seniors have signed up - the highest participation rate since it began in 2010.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing joined some of them at Bukit Merah Secondary School and Gan Eng Seng Primary School yesterday. He said the programme, which is part of IDA's Silver Infocomm Initiative, not only helps seniors overcome their fear of using IT, but also inculcates good values in the children when they help the elderly.

"Technology is evolving very fast," said Mr Chan, who is an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC. "We have to constantly make sure that not just our young people, but also our elderly... keep up with the latest technology so that it can help improve their lives. It must value-add to their quality of life, so that it allows them to access services, access information that they would like to know."

For seniors like Madam Ang, this is especially true. "It's very fun," she said. "I want to keep learning as long as I live."

This article was first published on Mar 19, 2015.
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