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Apple Wants Every Singaporean to Learn to Code

Marking a landmark collaboration between Apple, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), and three educational institutions – the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), RMIT Online and Pathlight School, digital literacy is front and centre in education policy for Singaporeans of all ages and backgrounds.

Marking the milestone. Left to Right – Ms Honor Harger (Executive Director, ArtScience Museum), Ms Helen Souness (CEO, RMIT Online), Ms Lisa Jackson (VP Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Apple), Mr Ong Ye Kung (Minister of Education), Ms Denise Phua (Supervisor, Pathlight School), Professor Chow Tow Chong (President, SUTD), Mr Ng Cher Pong (Chief Executive, SkillsFuture Singapore). Image: Ian Ling

This involves the promulgation of Swift app development courses to institutes of Higher Learning (IHL), beginning with SUTD, RMIT and the Pathlight School.

Held at the ArtScience Museum this morning (13th March 2019), Minister of Education Ong Ye Kung marked this significant event by highlighting ongoing efforts throughout the education system to encourage digital literacy across the board.

Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister of Education, highlights the wide swath of initiatives bringing digital literacy to Singaporean students. Image: Ian Ling

School-going students receive greater support through through curriculum, co-curricular activities (CCA) and administrative developments. Initiatives like the Code for Fun programme, added support for Infocomm-related CCAs, cashless e-payments via wearables, and even e-examinations.

IHL have also seen unprecedented upticks in enrollment into Infocomm Technology courses. There are plans to expand course catalogues to include fintech and other new applications.

With SkillsFuture subsidies, adults from beginners to specialists are incentivised to pick up additional digital skills to maintain their relevance in the workplace.

Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives at Apple expressed her admiration for Singapore’s committments toward lifelong learning. She then similarly highlighted the importance of coding as the “language of the future” – the reason why Apple developed the accessible and easily-acquired Swift programming language, which has since been used on ultra-successful apps like Airbnb, VSCO and LinkedIn.

Lisa Jackson, Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, speaking about Apple’s Everyone Can Code program and accessible Swift programming language. Image: Ian Ling

Supported by SkillsFuture Singapore, SUTD and RMIT Online have launched app development courses using Apple’s App Development with Swift curriculum for adult learners. Pathlight School, which specialises in educating high-functioning children with autism, has built upon the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA)-supported Swift Accelerator programme for a tailor-made curriculum for its secondary students.

SUTD, on conjunction with SkillsFuture Singapore, targets adult learners keen on gaining fundamental key competencies in app design and development with their Swift development curriculum, which includes an AR Module.

Keynote speakers engage with beneficaries of Apple’s coding curriculum. Image: Ian Ling

RMIT Online instead targets mid-career professionals with hectic schedules, offering a fully-online, self-paced programme that culminates in a submission of an app for the final project.

For students aged 13 to 18 at Pathlight School, the 144-hour Swift Accelerator programme, which is conducted by Apple Certified Trainers narrows in on students with special needs. Ms Denise Phua, Member of Parliament, Mayor of Central Singapore, president of the Autism Resource Centre and cofounder of the Pathlight School, stressed the importance of inclusivity and commended Apple for its “soul” for social causes. Furthermore, she emphasised importance to futureproof special needs individuals by granting access to the “app economy” through digital literacy.

Ms Denise Phua, cofounder of Pathlight School, stressed the importance of inclusivity in the digital world and beyond. Image: Ian Ling

Ms Honor Harger, Executive Director at ArtScience museum, called to attention the common goal of merging arts and science in education shared amongst the parties involved. Values of connection and creativity are key in creating a better tomorrow, and are possible with the inclusion and support of digital literacy to engage more people from diverse backgrounds.

What it means for you

If you’re a Singapore Citizen, you might be eligible for SkillsFuture credits to subsidise coding courses with partner schools like SUTD and RMIT Online. No matter your background – whether you are a CTO or a chef – Swift language courses are designed to add to your list of competencies.

Citizen or not, free resources are available through Apple’s Everyone Can Code initiative. Interested individuals can download Swift Playgrounds to explore the language, and access the e-books and course materials on the Everyone Can Code website.

Ian Ling
http://uncommontragedy.com
Ian is the resident Tech Monkey and Head of Content at VR Zone. His training in Economics and Political Science is at the basis of his love for journalism and storytelling. A photographer by passion, and an audiophile by obsession, Ian is captivated by all forms of tech that makes enthusiasts tick.

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