Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib
Minister of Transport and Infocommunications
for World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) 2022
Brunei Darussalam, along with other International Telecommunication Union (ITU) member countries, commemorates World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) annually on 17 May.
This year’s theme is ” Digital Technologies for Older Persons and Healthy Ageing”, highlighting the important role of ICT in enabling the senior citizens to stay healthy, connected and independent, enabling them to participate in and to contribute to the society.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently shared that between 2015 and 2050, the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22%. The pace of population ageing is much faster than in the past.
In Brunei Darussalam, the rate of ageing in the country is also increasing whereby as of 2021, 10.1 per cent of the total population or 43,301 are 60 years old and above, compared to 5.7% or 22,386 in 2011.
The usage of digital technologies has significantly increased, especially recently during the COVID-19 pandemic situation to ensure health and well-being of the society. This has led to greater demand for digital solutions, services and has also called for the need to acquire basic digital skills. By September 2021, about 80,000 fixed broadband household subscribers has been recorded translating to almost 76% of households in Brunei Darussalam.
For Brunei Darussalam, it is very encouraging to note that the general population including senior citizens have progressively been adapting to the new normal by embracing digital technologies. Digital technologies have also enabled our senior citizens to stay active in society including carrying out health consultations, participate in religious activities, and communicate with their loved ones, all via online or virtually.
One of the initiatives to help develop digital competencies for individuals including senior citizens is through the “Digital Skills Training Programme for Senior Citizens” conducted by AITI since January 2020, supported by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and the private sector. This programme has since helped over 100 senior citizens to be part of a digital ready society by offering basic ICT skills training including e-commerce, security and safety and online banking.
The sultanate remains committed in our effort to build an inclusive digital society. Senior citizens plays a vital role in society by passing down their knowledge, wisdom and experiences to the younger generation. By enabling a more digitally conducive environment for all age groups, we strive to ensure that no one gets left behind and offline as we continue to drive Brunei Darussalam to become a Smart Nation.
This article was first published on 21 May 2022 in our Weekly Epaper issue 194 | More stories here
THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN