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Facebook lessons for senior citizens

Tuesday, May 27 2014

click on pic to zoom in
ICT launch: Science and Technology Minister Dr Rupert Griffith at the launch of ICT for Senior Citizens, Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain yesterday....
ICT launch: Science and Technology Minister Dr Rupert Griffith at the launch of ICT for Senior Citizens, Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain yesterday....

In an effort to introduce senior citizens to Information Communication Technology (ICT), the Ministry of Science and Technology in collaboration with the Ministry of the People and Social Development held a sensitisation workshop called ICT for Seniors Programme yesterday at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

“Senior citizens are an invaluable, vibrant growing demographic within our nation. However, most educational systems are focused on younger people and limited progress has been made in adopting educational systems to the needs of senior learners, who have enormous potential,” said Dr Rupert Griffith, Minister of Science and Technology.

Trinidad and Tobago has an ageing population with 13.4 percent or more than 177,000 citizens over the age of 60 years. In an attempt to improve the quality of life for the senior citizens the ICT programme would promote the digital access for persons over the age of 60.

This programme was specifically tailored for senior citizens to learn how to utilise ICT. Some of the things they were taught include how to utilise social media such as Facebook, Skype and blogs. They were also given first-hand interface on the use of online banking, e-health, specialist computer systems for senior citizens, biometircs, and accessing governmental services like ttconnect.com. The senior citizens were also given the opportunity to play games like digital bingo, Wii and Kinect.“In the globalised world in which we live, ICTs are omnipresent and the trend towards digitisation is growing, but technology is not to be seen as an entirely novel dimension.

It is simply a way of using tools and machines to do traditional tasks in a more efficient and convenient manner,” Griffith said.

Griffith stated that learning how to utilise technology would empower the senior citizens by giving them more social inclusion while bridging the divide between the generations.

“ICT for Seniors Project would lead to greater inter-generational bonding, as both young persons and senior citizens will be able to explore the creative and multifaceted use of the internet and online social network platform, mobile phones, personal computers and other forms of technology, thus forging greater inter-generational ties,” Griffith said.

Griffith said he hopes this project leads to the development of more innovative solutions and e- government services that make ICT more accessible to senior citizens while improving the quality of live and independence for them. “No longer will senior citizens be left out or left behind by the ubiquitous tide of technology which now pervades our daily lives, as the provision of the necessary knowledge and training in the use of the internet and correlative technology is ultimately seen as a dynamic and tremendous form of empowerment and life long learning,” Griffith said.

Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, Minister of State in the Ministry of the People and Social Development, said the ICT for Seniors Project was timely as the ministry’s Ageing Division is in the process of introducing a biometric system to cater to the need of citizens. Biometrics refers to the quantifiable data or metrics related to human characteristics and traits.

“Investments in technology will help us deliver service to you more efficiently, effectively and with greater cost savings. Why wait in line if you can do it safely online? We are getting ready to roll out a biometric system that will allow us to streamline the delivery of social service, increase the security of the existing system and reduce fraud,” Alleyne-Toppin said.

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