Singapore to provide persons with disabilities better access to assistive technology
Asia-Pacific, July 26 2016
The Singapore government announced during the E2Connect 2016 forum that people with disabilities, as well as Voluntary Welfare Organizations (VWOs), will soon have greater access to assistive technology and more financial support.
Organized by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), with the support of SG Enable and SPD, the forum seeks to raise awareness of the various Infocomm and assistive technologies (IT/AT) that play an important role in helping the persons with disabilities address many challenges.
Dr. Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, said there will be two new enhancements to the NEU PC Plus program, a scheme that offers computers and broadband at affordable rates for students from low-income families.
Since 2006, the program has benefitted more than 27,000 low-income households with school-going children or people with disabilities. The scheme will raise the monthly household income cap from S$3,000 to S$3,400 and will benefit another 5,000 households over five years. Secondly, the application process has been streamlined so special education students already on financial assistance will be able to receive a subsidy of up to 75 percent more easily starting 1 September 2016.
The Minister also announced that a new wheelchair-accessible IDA Lab on Wheels bus will be rolled out to bring technology to the special needs community. It will offer workshops with customized curriculum for different special needs such as cerebral palsy and autism.
Moreover, VWOs like Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) received IT/AT Adoptive Grants from IDA’s Enable IT program to implement technology solutions in the form of smart devices and virtual reality solutions.
“A Smart Nation is about people, not tech alone. It’s about using tech to make people’s lives better, creating new opportunities and building stronger communities; it’s for everyone,” said Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive, IDA.