Singapore government to debut Digital Readiness Blueprint for citizens

The Singapore government will be introducing a Digital Readiness Blueprint to help all Singaporeans fully participate and benefit from digital opportunities in their everyday lives.

Speaking about the blueprint in his addendum to the President’s address, S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information (MCI), added that the government will look into developing a basic digital access package and setting up touchpoints in the community. This is to provide basic one-on-one assistance on using digital devices and accessing digital services. The move aims to help Singaporeans build information and media literacy skills so that they are able to discern, evaluate, and manage information in an increasingly complex digital environment. These initiatives will also help Singaporeans guard against the proliferation of falsehoods.

(Read also: Singapore government casts doubts over social media firms in fighting fake news)

Moving forward, the government looks to partner schools to equip students with coding, computational thinking, and digital making skills to develop the next generation of future-ready Singaporeans.

Along with the readiness blueprint, the Smart Nation Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) will also publish a Digital Government Blueprint in the middle of this year. This outlines goals and strategies to improve government services, an ST report read.

Vivian Balakrishnan, the minister-in-charge of the Smart Nation Initiative, added in the report that the government will lead by example. Ongoing initiatives include a Moments Of Life app to help parents reduce the trouble of filling in forms at different agencies. The app will allow the government to analysis citizen data from multiple government agencies.

Another project is the National Digital Identity and e-payment systems, which aims to bolster technical capabilities in the public sector. This encompasses areas including data science, artificial intelligence and cyber security for the future economy, ST reported. In addition, the SNDGG will also set up a Centre of Excellence for Information and Communications within GovTech, the agency behind the public sector's digital transformation.

Most recently, GovTech appointed Kok Ping Soon as its new chief executive, succeeding Jacqueline Poh. Prior to the move, Kok was deputy secretary (development) in the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), where he oversaw national policies and programmes related to Workplace Safety and Health, Human Capital Development, and SGSecure for Workplaces. He also looked after initiatives on service excellence, digitalisation, people engagement and future-ready capability building.

Details of the Blueprint was also mentioned by Heng Swee Keat, minister for Finance, during yesterday’s 14th ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information Meeting yesterday, who said the blueprint give Singaporeans the means to transact and connect with each other through digital technology.

“Beyond providing access to and equipping Singaporeans to use technology, we also aim to facilitate digital participation, which will enable Singaporeans to embrace and use technology to improve their lives,” Heng added.

His speech also called for ASEAN member statements to come together to build on each other’s ideas and initiatives to build an inclusive and informed regional community as well. This includes a coordinated approach to share experiences and best practices with one another.

As such, the ASEAN Ministers Responsible for Information Meeting (AMRI) will be discussing a set of proposed Core Values on Digital Literacy for ASEAN. The proposed Core Values have the catchy acronym “READI”, which stands for responsibility, empathy, authenticity, discernment, and integrity.