The case for universal digital access, as home-based computing becomes a post-pandemic norm

2 June, 2020

Photo: Jeremy Long/CNA

The sudden shift to home-based learning and working from home has revealed Singapore’s digital divide. Whereas most families readily transformed their homes into workplaces and schools, some underprivileged families struggled to make the switch. In light of Singapore’s ‘new normal’, should access to technology and wireless services be considered a ‘universal necessity’ and a ‘public good’? Associate Professor Irene Ng (NUS Department of Social Work and NUS Social Service Research Centre) and Professor Lim Sun Sun (SUTD Communication and Technology and Nominated Member of Parliament) weigh in through their CNA commentary: ‘The case for universal digital access, as home-based computing becomes a post-pandemic norm’.

Not only should access to technology become a necessity, granting access to digital literacy is equally important. This two-pronged approach to making technology a public good will strengthen independent and responsible usage of technology. A/P Ng and Prof Lim suggest that the government be proactive in ensuring all families receive support to obtain digital technology and attain digital literacy. Moreover, technology corporations can exercise their corporate social responsibilities to complement the government’s efforts. In these post-pandemic times, the current debates on social inequalities must critically examine universal digital access to ensure no Singaporean is left behind.

Read the article here.