New outfit to help seniors, hawkers and others adopt digital tools
SG Digital Office will hire 1,000 people to help seniors, hawkers adopt digital tools
To ensure no one gets left behind as Singapore becomes more digitally connected, the Government will be setting up a new digitalisation office to double down on outreach efforts to the hardest-to-reach segments of society and encourage them to adopt digital tools.
This new SG Digital Office (SDO) will recruit 1,000 digital ambassadors by the end of this month to help stallholders and seniors learn how to use digital tools - skills the Government says are more important than ever, given disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These ambassadors will cover all 112 hawker centres and wet markets this month to encourage stallholders to adopt SGQR codes for e-payment and avoid having to handle cash, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Ministry of Communications and Information said in a joint statement yesterday.
The SGQR code lets stallholders receive payments through 19 different providers, such as Dash, GrabPay and local bank offerings such as PayLah.
This outreach will be ramped up next month to include coffee shops and industrial canteens, and the goal is to get 18,000 stallholders on board SGQR by June next year.
The plan is to build on and accelerate existing efforts to equip every business and individual - including seniors and small businesses - with digital tools and skills, as these would be crucial "to participate meaningfully in the new social and economic environment post Covid-19", said the two agencies.
Said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran: "The Government recognises that in the wake of Covid-19, digitalisation is now both an imperative and an opportunity."
The 1,000 Digital Ambassadors recruited under the SDO will work with companies, community groups and the public to educate and encourage all seniors as well as stallholders in hawker centres, wet markets, coffee shops and industrial canteens to go digital.
By March next year, they will also have reached out to 100,000 seniors and taught them basic digital skills like how to buy things online and use smartphone apps to communicate with their friends and family.
Mr Iswaran said these seniors and hawkers will not be the only ones the SDO will reach out to, and having Digital Ambassadors work with partners in the community will allow them to better understand and identify the needs of other groups too.
"Whilst we are emphasising these particular groups, the hawkers and the seniors, it is not to the exclusion of these other important segments, whether it is the disabled or other kinds of groups."
These digital ambassadors will consist of a mix of volunteers and staff who will be hired for the role.
SDO will prioritise their recruitment from graduating cohorts of institutes of higher learning in Singapore, who have reportedly been having trouble finding jobs in the economic downturn caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.