Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira
Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC
Question No. 49
To ask the Minister for Health with smaller class sizes and most classes going virtual due to the continued threat of COVID-19, how can the Government ensure that courses tailored for the elderly are still effective and accessible.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to how people work, live and learn. However, the accelerated push towards digital delivery and services also presents new opportunities. The Government has worked closely with our stakeholders to ensure that learning opportunities for seniors continues to be accessible, effective and safe against the backdrop of COVID-19.
2 Since March 2020, many face-to-face courses and activities have moved online, so seniors can continue to participate safely within their homes. For example, the Council for Third Age (C3A), Health Promotion Board (HPB), People’s Association (PA) and SportSG now make use of online platforms such as Facebook, ZOOM and YouTube to host their activities and talks.
3 As many seniors are new to virtual classes, course providers put in extra effort to help them make the transition successfully. For example, they provide technical assistance before and during class, and adjust the course content based on real-time feedback so that seniors can keep pace with the class.
4 To help seniors who are less digitally savvy access online content, the SG Digital Office (SDO) under the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has mobilised 1,000 Digital Ambassadors to provide one-to-one coaching to seniors on useful day-to-day digital skills such as making video calls and use of smartphone apps. To date, Digital Ambassadors have engaged more than 21,500 seniors at 34 SG Digital Community Hubs in Community Centres/Clubs (CCs). In addition, IMDA is also partnering the Agency for Integrated Care’s (AIC) Silver Generation Office (SGO) to reach more seniors in the heartlands through the digital clinics at the SGO Satellite Offices.
5 Beyond online delivery, we have also worked with our stakeholders to make learning content accessible through traditional media platforms such as TV and radio which some seniors may be more familiar with. For instance, AIC and HPB worked with MediaCorp to air dedicated programmes for seniors aimed at improving their psycho-social wellbeing, especially during the circuit breaker period. These were broadcast in Chinese, Malay and Tamil, and reached around 445,000 seniors. Bite-sized health messages were also shared through the radio in all four languages to supplement the TV broadcast.
6 With the resumption of small group activities for seniors since early September, many course providers have since moved towards a hybrid approach where courses can be offered both virtually and in-person. This improves both access and convenience for seniors.
7 MOH will continue to work with our stakeholders to explore novel ways of delivery, to ensure that learning opportunities for seniors continue to be effective, accessible and safe under the COVID-19 new normal.