SINGAPORE wants to transform into a ‘Smart Nation’, and over the past 24 months, has undertaken various investments, initiatives, and projects to achieve that goal.
Smart Nation — which is the moniker of the country’s smart city program — not only invests in technologies such as facial recognition and e-payments, but also in training residents for the digital future.
Most recently, the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office formed a partnership with the National Trades Union Congress to train workers with necessary digital knowledge and skills.
Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat understands that having the right tools and solutions is key to leveraging technology.
As a result, the program seeks to empower people in the country by providing them with upskilling, training, and knowledge expansion opportunities, and helping them to be more digitally-proficient and literate.
“This is a journey that involves all of us. Whether you are young or old, technology is reshaping the way we live, work, and play,” said Heng.
With technology playing a significant role in daily life, Singaporeans must be able to catch up and develop digital capabilities quickly.
One particular reason for pushing this agenda is to avoid creating a “digital divide” between those who have the skills and those who do not.
Additionally, a country where technology capabilities and digital expertise are accessible nation-wide, upskilling can potentially benefit the economy significantly.
Heng also asserted that digital literacy will help Singaporeans engage proactively and progressively with technological advances to maintain global relevance.
The partnership will also see the launch of learning programs to help family members of employees and develop data science and artificial-intelligence-related skills.
Active collaboration between the general public and key players across industries is also encouraged as it is seen as the “next step” in their nation-wide digital movement.
The Smart Nation program will also introduce new initiatives that include the piloting of digital government services in real-life settings so that the public will be better informed of the developmental processes that are involved.
While discussing the Smart Nation journey, Heng highlighted that the increasing prominence of robots and autonomous systems will increase cybersecurity threats.
So, the government is looking at educating businesses and organizations to better secure their data and mitigate evolving risks by insisting that it is a continuous learning process.
In sum, Heng instilled that at the end of the day, building a Smart Nation is basically about actively nurturing a culture of innovation across the country, which is why national participation is highly critical.
Neighboring countries are expected to learn from Singapore’s efforts and to leverage relevant solutions to help empower their very own digital society.