Coding classes for primary school pupils to be rolled out next year

SINGAPORE: The Government is taking steps to make sure that Singaporeans, both young and old, will have the fundamental skills and attributes to thrive in the digital age.

This was the theme for this year’s Ministry of Communications and Information’s (MCI) Workplan Seminar, and everyone – from primary schools students to Merdeka Generation seniors – are set to benefit.

An expanded Code For Fun programme will be piloted this year at some schools after the Primary School Leaving Examinations. It will be rolled out islandwide next year.

Introduced as an optional programme in 2014, it aims to help students learn computational thinking through basic coding. Its next phase targets all upper primary school students, who will participate in a 10-hour programme in school.

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence will also be covered.

A new national programme will also be introduced for youths to guide them in their cybersecurity journey.

The Singapore Cyber Youth Programme (SG Cyber Youth) will involve students from secondary to tertiary level. Students will benefit from exposure to relevant knowledge and skills, and it will also give them the opportunity to consider a career in cybersecurity.

The programme aims to reach out to 10,000 youths over the next three years, through activities such as training boot camps, learning journeys and competitions.

These are just two of several announcements made by the MCI on Wednesday (Jul 10), as it aims to get everyone on board Singapore’s digital journey.

“We want this digital transformation to be inclusive so it’s not just about digitalising our economy, but making sure our enterprises, our workforce and all our Singaporeans are able to reap the benefits,” said Communications and Information Minister S Iswaran.

Seniors are also getting help.

An additional 100 Merdeka Generation Digital Clinics will be set up over a year, starting in September. These clinics, set to benefit 10,000 seniors, will teach skills like how to use a smartphone and navigate social media.

Businesses are also being targeted through a variety of programmes.

One such programme is the SME Go Digital programme, which helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) build stronger digital capabilities.

SMEs are also taking up Smart Digital Packs, which help new companies with competitively-priced digital solutions.

“We will accelerate the digitisation of our companies, especially our small and medium enterprises, which is probably where we need to put the greatest emphasis,” said Mr Iswaran.

“SMEs, as all of you know, are depending on which measure you want to take, 50 per cent of GDP, two-thirds of our workforce, 99 per cent of your enterprise numbers, so whichever way you look at it, it’s an important part of our economy.”

To date, about 10,000 SMEs have benefited from these initiatives.

A dedicated team will also be formed by the end of the year to look after telecoms cybersecurity.