United Overseas Bank (UOB) launched UOB My Digital Space, a multiyear education programme to bridge the digital gap for children from disadvantaged backgrounds across the region and to connect them to a world of digital learning opportunities. In the first year, UOB My Digital Space will be rolled out across six markets starting with Singapore. The UOB My Digital Space is part of the Bank’s broader global #UnitedForYou COVID-19 Relief Programme which brings together the strengths of the UOB network and like-minded partners to help customers, colleagues and communities through to better times.
With the COVID-19 pandemic challenging and changing traditional ways of learning, UOB My Digital Space offers support to help disadvantaged children across the region with the essentials for their digital learning journey now and into the future. Through UOB My Digital Space in Singapore, UOB will provide students with digital learning kits comprising a new laptop and online learning resources that include enrichment content to take them beyond the school curricula for their longer term development.
On the launch of the regional programme, Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB, said, “At UOB, our duty of care to our communities includes helping the members of our society who may be struggling through these difficult to better times. Through UOB My Digital Space, we are bridging the digital gap for children from needy families and ensuring that they are not left out of the world of opportunities education can bring. COVID-19 has brought with it disruption to school-based learning across Asia and this is being most keenly felt by children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This initiative is part of our #UnitedForYou COVID-19 Relief Programme to help our communities and customers through the COVID-19 pandemic and to emerge stronger together.”
Bridging the digital gap for disadvantaged children in Singapore
In Singapore, UOB has partnered Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) and Singtel to distribute close to 250 digital learning kits to disadvantaged students. The Bank is providing a new laptop in every digital learning kit, a Wi-Fi dongle with monthly data usage from Singtel, and a complimentary online subscription to The Straits Times, as well as the student’s choice of vernacular newspaper such as Lianhe Zaobao, Berita Harian, or Tamil Murasu.
The Bank has also helped ensure that the digital learning experience is a safe and convenient one for students and their parents by configuring each laptop before distribution. For instance, UOB has installed filters on every laptop to protect children from accessing inappropriate online content and installed desktop shortcuts to make it easier to access useful home-based learning platforms such as the Singapore Student Learning Space and Google Classroom.
Through the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth’s Volunteer Centres2 and the Bank’s community partners across Singapore, UOB has been identifying students including those with special needs, who most need the digital resources for remote learning. The digital learning kits will be provided to the students for one year with the option to extend the duration based on their needs. Volunteers from UOB are also on standby to provide technical support to beneficiaries who face difficulties during their digital learning journey.
Nur Muliana Binte Mamat is a Primary 2 student from Fuhua Primary School who has received a UOB digital learning kit to aid in her home-based learning. Muliana’s 49-year-old mother Mdm Sufia said, “The new laptop and resources from UOB and its partners have made it possible for my daughter to focus on her studies through digital learning from home. Being the sole breadwinner for my family, I have to care for my four children as well as my husband who is in poor health. I’m grateful to be receiving support during this difficult time to help my daughter stay connected and keep up with her learning.”
As part of UOB My Digital Space, the Bank is also setting up a UOB Online Learning Resource Centre where students across the region can explore a series of educational topics including art, sustainability, financial literacy, cybersecurity and cultural discovery through interactive content. Given the diverse cultures and languages in Asia, UOB is working with educational partners across the region to co-create content in multiple languages and to localise it for each market where the programme will be rolled out. UOB’s global #UnitedForYou COVID-19 Relief Programme focuses on ways to help alleviate the financial burden or distress many are facing during this difficult period through various initiatives. These include relief assistance schemes to help with customers that are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak as well as initiatives to see the Bank’s people and communities through to better times.