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Parliament Sitting on 28 February 2017

QUESTION FOR WRITTEN ANSWER


414. Mr Desmond Choo: To ask the Minister for Communications and Information (a) what is the Government's plan to deepen our younger Singaporeans' ICT capabilities so that they are equipped to seize opportunities of tomorrow; and (b) how can the Ministry ensure that ICT and digital training classes such as coding classes are accessible to less privileged Singaporeans.

Answer:

Digital technologies are transforming the way we live, work and play. Increasing digitalisation poses fresh challenges to traditional industries and business models, but also offer exciting opportunities for the bold and enterprising. As the Committee on the Future Economy noted, Singapore must harness the opportunities in the digital economy, by transforming our businesses and people to be digital ready.


2 MCI has many programmes to help our people do this. For ICT professionals, we launched the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) last year to train and upskill professionals into ICT job roles. We have made good progress, with over 8,000 professionals trained as at end-2016. In fact, the Company-Led Training programme, which encourages ICT companies to provide On-the-Job (OJT) training to individuals beyond what they intend to hire, has seen 100% of trainees successfully placed into jobs after their training period. In addition, for non-ICT professionals who have aspirations to pursue an ICT career, they can consider our Tech Immersion and Placement Programme, which uses short immersive courses to train professionals with essential ICT skills so as to facilitate their placement into ICT jobs. We will continue to step up efforts to train more professionals, and ensure that Singaporeans, including young professionals, are able to seize opportunities in the digital economy. 


3 In a world where digitalisation is more pervasive, we recognise the value in going beyond training ICT professionals, to imbuing every Singaporean with a good understanding of ICT so that we all thrive in the digital economy. To interest and prepare school-going Singaporeans in ICT skills, IMDA and GovTech have programmes such as Code@SG and Hour of Code to inspire students and develop their coding and computational thinking skills. Starting this year, IMDA will be extending Code@SG’s Code for Fun enrichment programme to all primary and secondary school students. In addition, IMDA also runs the Industry Preparation for Pre-Graduates (iPREP) programme, to equip students with relevant skillsets for a career in ICT, through work attachments, courses and overseas internships. 


4 MCI fully agrees that we must bring every Singaporean, especially the less privileged, along with us on our digital journey.  The above programmes are accessible to all Singaporeans regardless of age and socio-economic status. In addition, IMDA today also runs digital inclusion programmes such as the NEU PC Plus and Home Access Programme to give low-income households, the elderly, and persons with special needs access to computers and broadband connectivity.