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27 May 2022

Swinburne holds empowering digital training session with senior citizens

KUCHING – The Digital Technologies Seniors Program (DTSP) project team from Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus had a meaningful Teacher’s Day on 16 May by organising their first physical cyber-training session on campus with 37 members of the Sarawak Gerontology and Geriatric Society (SGGS).

DTSP was launched in November 2021 to mentor senior citizens to go digital and be self-reliant, cultivate intergenerational relationships as well as support and reach out to the ageing community to enhance their quality of life and help them stay connected in this digital world. Reciprocally, seniors can mentor youths in life lessons and leave a positive legacy.

The programme was developed by the students and faculty members of Swinburne Sarawak and Persatuan Kebajikan Rolf Schnyder (FRS), working in line to sustain community wellbeing for a dignified existence for all – in this case, the healthy elderlies of SGGS. FRS was represented by Scott J Wong, who trained Swinburne Sarawak students to be qualified mentors or Cyber Ambassadors for DTSP.

The aims of DTSP echo the Sarawak state government’s digital economy initiatives and Post Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030. DTSP also aligns with two of Swinburne’s 2025 moon shots, namely ‘Moon Shot 1: Every Swinburne learner gets a work experience’ through empowering students to create innovative modules and mentor seniors, and also ‘Moon Shot 3: Every Swinburne partner gets a tech solution’ by providing technology solutions to minimise the digital gap among senior citizens.

The half-day event opened with a speech by Dr Jeffrey Jee, Director of Business and Social Innovation Centre at Swinburne Sarawak, who oversees the DTSP project. Next, SGGS President Dennis Tan in his speech encouraged the seniors to continue with healthy ageing by upgrading themselves with Information Technology (IT) knowledge.

Chai Ching Yi and Su Sueh Ing, academic staff from Swinburne Sarawak who initiated and are involved in DTSP, led the session of self-introducing all the project team members.

A Cyber Ambassador Irvin Jamesson James Ping (left) mentors one of the senior citizens from the Sarawak Gerontology and Geriatric Society (SGGS).

A Cyber Ambassador Irvin Jamesson James Ping (left) mentors one of the senior citizens from the Sarawak Gerontology and Geriatric Society (SGGS).

The afternoon was well spent as seniors had been actively participating in the training. From the event, it was observed that seniors were more interested in the privacy settings on WhatsApp, photo-taking, online shopping, phone settings and cloud storage.

The event ended with Dennis Tan expressing his gratitude to Swinburne Sarawak and FRS. He looked forward to having more of such events with the DTSP project team. “IT knowledge is infinite. The more we know, the more we know how little we know. SGGS will continue to link with Swinburne and quench the thirst for IT knowledge in the future.”

SGGS members also expressed their appreciation for DTSP. Joseph Phang said, “We often want to learn information, but we don’t know where to learn it. Our children and friends are too busy working. We hope this programme can go on to help more people.”

Another member, Lucy Ong, who loves taking photos, highlighted that age is not an issue for her. “Even though we are retired, we need to catch up with IT. This session is very beneficial for all and we learned a lot.”

Meanwhile, Swinburne Sarawak students who were Cyber Ambassadors experienced a sense of accomplishment in bridging the digital and generational gap with the seniors and reciprocally gained valuable life experiences from the SGGS members.

“They have proven that the stereotype that senior citizens are boring is wrong! These healthy elderlies showed us how proactive, fun, open to learning and down to earth they are. The experiences they shared allowed us to gain new perspectives,” said Sarah binti Supahan, one of the students.

Another Cyber Ambassador, Nicholas Lim, remarked, “I feel grateful to be able to pass on the knowledge I have learnt to the people who are often misunderstood in this era of technology. Being on this journey and seeing them smile because they didn’t lose their Facebook account, or learn how to take a cool selfie warms my heart because I know all they ever wanted was to be like us.”

The DTSP project team has conducted trainings for SGGS members since December 2021. Structured and step-by-step learning programme booklets are also developed by the project team for seniors to help them on their digital journeys and to use various digital applications to enrich their lives. DTSP is committed to helping seniors progress towards building a sustainable digital community in Sarawak.

To learn more, visit www.digital-seniors.com or contact Swinburne Sarawak at 082-415353 or Chai Ching Yi at cychai@swinburne.edu.my.

Media Enquiries

Tania Lam
Officer (Communication and Events)


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