Public-private collaborations to get Singaporeans Smart Nation-ready

The Singapore government is partnering the industry to ensure that its people are equipped with the right skills to propel its Smart Nation dream.

By Nurdianah Md Nur
June 1, 2016


The Singapore government is working hand-in-hand with various industries to ensure that its people are equipped with the relevant skills to realise its Smart Nation vision.

Singapore's Minister for Communications and Information Dr Yaacob Ibrahim announced two of such partnerships at the opening of the Infocomm Media Business Exchange 2016 (IMBX) at Sands Expo and Convention Centre yesterday (31 May 2016).

The first partnership aims to develop technology professionals. Launched in March 2016, the TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) brings together key employers and industry partners to enhance the employability of ICT professionals and those who are keen to take on an ICT career.

According to Gabriel Lim, CE-designate of the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and Co-Managing Director of IDA, TeSA's key roles include being a:

Masterplanner: Identifying job opportunities and skill requirements, close vocational skills gaps through training, and drive hiring outcomes

Coordinator: Developing an ecosystem of partner providers to better match demand and supply for ICT professionas with specialized training for partner clusters for different sectors of the economy

Enabler: Developing industry-recognised skill standards and certification programmes for T-shaped ICT professionals, accredit partner providers and provide career advisory role.

In short, TeSA ensures that professionals are "trained for the market", meaning that they are equipped with the skills that are currently demanded by companies in Singapore, Khoong Hock Yun, IDA's Assistant CEO and Chief Data Officer explained.

Interested professionals can now access more than 380 training courses and professional certifications on www.infocommtalent.sg. They can also tap on the professional development programmes under TeSA including company-led training, tech immersion and placement, and CITREP+ (Critical Infocomm Technology Resource Programme Plus).

A Governing Council has been set up to coordinate the development of TeSA. The council members and chairpersons of various sector committees were announced by Minister Yaacob at the IMBX.

Starting young
Pepper in School
Credit: IDA's Facebook  

The second partnership involves using robots in pre-schools. The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) envisions a future education setting where robots complement teachers as children's learning companion. Social robots are one such technology that can do so while adding elements of imagination to learning and playing for pre-schoolers.

Encouraged by positive findings from various studies on incorporating robots in pre-school learning, IDA collaborated with SoftBank Telecom Singapore and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Robotics Research Centre to conduct a pilot study on the use of social robots in early childhood education.

From April to October 2016, Pepper and NAO social robots are being piloted at My First Skool Jurong Point and  MY World @Bukit Panjang respectively to complement pre-school learning through collaborative play and interactive storytelling.

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