UCSI University together with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission and the Malaysia Board of Technologists are looking to catalyse industry-academia knowledge sharing in telecommunications and information and communication technologies areas among the elderly.
The collaboration is part of their initiatives to align with World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2022’s goals to raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and ICT can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.
Themed “Digital technologies for older people and healthy ageing”, the event highlighted the importance of digital technologies and ICT in establishing a healthy and safe environment for older generations.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, Malaysia has a population aged 65 years and over, that reaches 7.2 percent and is anticipated to rise to 14.5% by 2040. MCMC in its Internet Users Survey 2020 report showed that 11.3 per cent of Malaysians were non-internet users. Among those non-internet users, 51.8 per cent were reported to be aged 60 and above. The top reasons given across all age groups for not using the internet were “lack of interest”, “too old to learn” and “no device”.
Observing the trend, it is critical to reform this generation’s discouraged mindset by harnessing their potential and designing new experiences that will make them keep abreast of the latest digital technologies in order to stay socially autonomous and ageing healthily.
YBhg. Professor Datuk Ir Ts Siti Hamisah Tapsir, UCSI Group’s Chief Executive Officer and UCSI University’s Vice Chancellor stated that “Technology is embedded in every aspect of daily life because it provides the speed, connectivity, and effectiveness needed to make tasks more efficient. Everyone nowadays wants effects to be easier and faster, and it’s crucial not to underestimate how technology might assist elderly people in their golden years. This is especially true for older adults, who use digital technology to connect socially, access information instantly, and perform everyday tasks.
UCSI University is the first academic partner to collaborate with the digital industry players to organise a designated public forum and exhibition in conjunction with the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day on 26 -27 May 2022 at the University’s Kuala Lumpur campus.
Speaking at the forum session, YBhg. Dato’ Dr Fadhlullah Suhaimi Abdul Malek, Executive Chairman of the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission said the expansion of network coverages is key in narrowing the digital gaps between the haves and have nots, especially it is not only crucial in urban areas but also in rural areas to foster healthy ageing.
Another industry panellist at the forum, Mr Kenneth Chua Chee Kheen, Special Project Manager of Oppstar Technology Sdn Bhd said the younger generation should start practising patience and encourage the elder generations to learn new technologies. “It is critical that we teach them properly how to utilise digital tools so that they may live autonomously.”
The panel concluded by reminding guests that as a developing country, digital technologies and ICTs are vital to constructing smarter cities, eliminating age-based discrimination at work, providing financial inclusion for older people, and supporting their fundamental needs.