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New digital programme ensures that children from disadvantaged backgrounds will not be left out – S. Iswaran

My Digital Bootcamp is a component of a bigger initiative that would guarantee that no child, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, is left behind, said the Minister for Communications and Information on Sept 3

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Children from disadvantaged backgrounds and those who have no immediate or direct access to technology will no longer have to worry about being left behind as Singapore marches on to a digital future.

An innovative programme has been launched to allow upper primary pupils who are not so economically-privileged in the Central Singapore district to pick up digital skills in an enjoyable way where they can also have fun while learning.

My Digital Bootcamp is a component of a bigger initiative that would guarantee that no child, especially those coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, is left behind, said Minister for Communications and Information S. Iswaran on Tuesday (Sept 3) morning.

“We want all our children, in every segment of our society, to be active participants in the digital future,” he said, at the launching event held at the Townsville Primary School.

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Spearheaded by the Central Singapore Community Development Council (CDC), My Digital Bootcamp is backed up by the United Overseas Bank (UOB) through a donation amounting to $500,000 in order to finance the programme. Beneficiaries will include approximately 1,000 upper primary pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds in the Central Singapore district.

The first phase began Tuesday as a two-day “mission to Mars” for 100 pupils from Townsville Primary School and Pathlight School. This “mission” requires pupils to play-act as stranded astronauts who can return to Earth only if they can create solutions using digital skills. For instance, they can design and make their own robots, construct protective safety goggles through 3-D printing, or develop their own simulated characters in a game.

In a media interview with Townsville Primary 4 pupil Lancelot Leung, 10, feels “very, very excited” about completing the programme.

“I tried to build a Lego robot vehicle with a motor before, but it wasn’t very good. I hope I will be able to build a much faster and better one here,” he said.

“We have been supporting initiatives that develop young minds, especially those of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope that through our support of My Digital Bootcamp, it will encourage these children to explore their interest in technology and to open their minds to the possibilities of digital making,” Mr Eric Tham, head of group commercial banking at UOB, said.

The Mayor of Central Singapore CDC, Ms Denise Phua, added: “Equipping Singaporeans with skills to navigate the evolving digital landscape is essential. Children are no exception. Regardless of their starting points in life, they too should be given equal opportunities to learn new skills.” -/TISG

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