EMPOWERING OLDER PEOPLE WITH DIGITAL LITERACY
Ageism is closing the doors of opportunity to our senior citizens. Whether it is looking for employment, getting a place in an HRDF upskilling course or applying for a bank loan to start a business, our age puts us at a disadvantage. It shouldn’t.
The recent announcement in the media of the government speeding up the introduction of 5G in the country is leaving many seniors out in the cold, especially those now in their 70s and 80s. They are lagging so far behind in digital literacy that it’s unlikely they will be able to participate actively in the digital economy. Many of these elderly are either single living on their own or are empty nesters.
A case in point. Last month SeniorsAloud was among 29 NGOs selected from over 200 applications for a 4-week digital skills course conducted online. The objective was to help upskill NGOs and amplify their social impact. At 73, I was by far the oldest participant. The others were mostly in their 30s and 40s, including the instructors. My team mate Kamil and I took it as a challenge to learn as much as we could. The pace was fast, and the course content was demanding. Fortunately the instructors were very patient and encouraging, providing guidance at every step. We learned a lot especially how to use apps such as Canvas, Slack and Trello. Also Design Thinking and the Business Canvas Model which I had learned before but not applied. It was a good refresher. Digital knowledge needs to be applied to be of any use. It is easy for older learners to forget how to use applications after a lapse of time.