MCI's response to PQ on review of initiatives to improve access to Persons with Disabilities
Parliament Sitting on 8 July 2019
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
57. Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information whether there will be regular reviews of Smart Nation initiatives on improving reach and access to persons with disabilities.
A key priority of Singapore’s Smart Nation strategy is to ensure all Singaporeans can participate in and benefit from our digital transformation journey. This is reflected in the Digital Readiness Blueprint that MCI launched last year.
Over the years, the Government has ensured that vulnerable segments of our society are included in our digital transformation journey. Initiatives such as IMDA’s NEU PC Plus and Enable IT programmes, and the Assistive Technology Fund administered by SG Enable, provide support for persons with disabilities in their use of technology. For persons with disabilities living in a low-income household, the NEU PC Plus Programme enables them to buy a PC at a subsidised rate, while the Assistive Technology Fund subsidises the cost of assistive technology for purposes such as early intervention, education and training. In addition, the Enable IT programme encourages the adoption of Infocomm and Assistive Technologies (IT/AT) to enable independent living.
We regularly refine and update our initiatives, and are ready to tap on opportunities to deliver better outcomes. The development of assistive technology is such an opportunity that has the potential to make big improvements to the way persons with disabilities complete tasks and activities. As a new initiative to enhance the Enable IT programme, IMDA recently supported SPD, a charity which supports people with disabilities of all ages, to set up 4 IT/AT satellite loan libraries to better provide polytechnic students with access to IT/AT.
The Government has also adopted the Digital Service Standards to ensure that digital Government services are inclusive by design, and accessible to groups such as the visually impaired. These standards were recently enhanced and published in Oct 2018, and we regularly review them to ensure that all Singaporeans can benefit.
We are committed to continually ensure that our Smart Nation journey is inclusive to all Singaporeans, including persons with disabilities, and we will do so by working with the people, public and private sectors. One such platform is the cross-sectoral workgroup that MSF launched this year to promote independent living through technology and design, in the home setting as well as within the community. The workgroup is co-chaired by the Minister of State for Social and Family Development, Mr Sam Tan, and President of SPD, Ms Chia Yong Yong.