IGF 2021 – Day 0 – Event #61 Technological assistance emphasis on teenagers during the pandemic — is it fair to distribute resources in such a way?

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF virtual intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> We all live in a digital world. We all need it to be open and safe. We all want to trust. 

>> And to be trusted. 

>> We all despise control. 

>> And desire freedom. 

>> We are all united. 

>> JUSTIN NG: Sorry. Can I ask if there are any on‑site participants? As far as I see, I don't see anyone. 

>> There is no one on‑site. I'm just a technician. So you're all online only. 

>> JUSTIN NG: Right. Thank you. So maybe we can wait for another two minutes to see if anyone joins us. I'm really sorry that some of you can't join us on Zoom today. I know some of you are attending through YouTube. So if you have any questions, feel free to leave your questions under the comment. And we'll try to answer you as fast as we can. And, again, there will be some delay on YouTube. So we apologize for that. But, unfortunately, we can't do much about it. May I ask if we can start any time? Like, is everything ready? All right. So let's get started. So once again, thank you so much for joining us today. Greetings to everyone from around the world and we're really sorry that we can't be there in Poland to join you on‑site. At IGF 2021. I am Justin from the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. Once again, welcome you all joining us today on event number 61. 

Technological Assistance Emphasis on Teenagers During the Pandemic ‑‑ is it Fair to Distribute Resources in Such a Way? We'll talk about distribution to resources, to the youth, the elderly and hopefully bring insight to every one of you. Interestingly, our session might be a little different from what you've experienced before. Our main speaker today, especially all the organizers who will be delivering some insights or information for you, are actually all teenagers. So hopefully we'll still bring you some insight into what teenagers think in the topic. So without further ado, let's get started. So first, I'd like to introduce my team to introduce themselves to you. So first we'll have Jayson, please. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Hey, guying I'm Jayson, one of the hosts today. Me and Justin really hope you guys can take something away. We want to know about how you feel about this particular topic. Thank you. 

>> HYMN CHENG: Hello, everyone, I'm today's presenter. I hope you guys enjoy today's presentation. 

>> CHAU TSZ CHUN ANTHONY: Hi, I'm Anthony, also one of the presenters today. It's my pleasure to be here. 

>> HUEN HEI: Hi, I'm Huen Hei. I'm also a presenter today. 

>> SEBASTIAN: Hi, I'm Sebastian. 

>> JUSTIN NG: Let's give you guys a brief introduction of ourselves. We're actually representing a team called Ifocus Ambassador from Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. I'm not sure if you know about this team or what we've been doing in the past years So in the coming few minutes, we'll be playing a clip introducing our team to you guys and hopefully you can learn more about us. (Music) 

>> JUSTIN NG: Basically, we are established since 2015. In the past few years, we have been organizing competitions to promote digital inclusion. So teenagers who join our competition will have to deliver a service to a particular target group in order to teach them about some technology things like teaching the elderly to use VR, as you have just seen in the video. And, yeah, so hopefully now you'll have more information about what we are and what we do. And for me, personally, I was the awardee from 2019. And have represented the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. 

Jayson joined Geneva IGF in 2017. Hopefully today we'll bring you insight about technological assistance. So let's get back to the topic of today. Technological Assistance Emphasis on Teenagers. This is actually a very common situation happening probably in a lot of countries, particularly in Hong Kong in our hometown. And some may argue that this is not really a fair way to distribute resources. So in the coming hour, we will be having more discussion about this. And hopefully we can make some conclusion on how the government should deliver the resources. So first, let's get started by a presentation from Anthony and Jayson and present data from some countries, how they distribute resources to teenagers or elderly. May I now pass the baton to Huen Hei. 

>> LEUNG HUEN HEI: Today we're going to talk about different stakeholders from the government of economic territories. Including Hong Kong, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. So now let's start with Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, subsidies are given from the government to poorer families for electronic devices such as iPad and computers. In order to fulfill the need of students to participate in e‑learning. This was started in 2010. However, we can see that there are still about 10% of elementary school and high school students unable to buy electronic devices in 2019. Unfortunately, the COVID‑19 pandemic started in early 2020. Face‑to‑face lessons were suspended in Hong Kong. 

Online lessons were through Zoom and Google Meets. In these circumstances, digital devices are crucial for every student to attend lessons. The COVID‑19 pandemic has accelerated the development of e‑learning. The Hong Kong government has set aside about 2 billion to launch a three‑year programme starting in the 2021 school year. Schools could apply for funding to potentially buy computers, devices to needy students, and provide portable Wi‑Fi routers and mobile data card to students who did not have access to appropriate Internet service due to their living environment. The government did not give much direct support to Hong Kong elderlies. Instead, the government provides funding to NGOs for them to create outreach. Teaching elderly and other mobile ‑‑ 

>> HYMN CHENG: To gain an understanding from the elderly perspective, we conducted an interview. During the pandemic, in the video, we share her story of exploring the world of the Internet. Express her view to the government and the NGOs to which they have been supportive. And through suggestions on how they can improve the assistance given to them. The subtitles will be in English. So let's enjoy the video now. (English subtitles) 

>> HYMN CHENG: In this video, we see elderly usually use phones with chat with friends and grandchildren using WhatsApp or WeChat. They'll also use the phone for entertainment. However, some friends of interviewees do not want to provide a mobile phone since they're afraid of phone scams and some advertisements. They found difficulties using mobile phones, too. It shows that they are still concerned, elderly, to use digital devices in Hong Kong. At the last part of the interview, the interviewees want the government to allocate more resources for elderly to teach them more about mobile phones. Now I'll pass the floor to hear about the situation in Singapore. 

>> HYMN CHENG: Thank you, Huen Hei. The Singapore government has planned to help students to participate in online learning by providing students with a self‑learning device. The education expenditure, the total government expenditure for 15.9%. Approximately 582 million Singapore dollars. And some was used in the technology assistance provided for students financially or mentally. As an example, 3,300 laptops have been provided to elementary students from low‑income families. That didn't have a digital device with all the support. On the other hand, Singapore governments has also provided supports to elderly people. Since COVID‑19, the restriction measures were particularly strict for the elderly. Couldn't frequently visit areas like community centers. 

These restrictions have greatly affected the daily lives of elderly who are not used to use the new technology. Give supports to communities, in other words, those elderly. Training is provided. Singapore ‑‑ the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority provide training for communication skills, video calls, connecting to Wi‑Fi, and basic cybersecurity tips. The progress to learn to sign into the government service with the digital identity, too, pay with QR codes and ordering groceries online. These programmes have gave the seniors in Singapore an opportunity to enjoy those new facilities and technology provided by the government. To conclude, Singapore government provided support to both students and elderly people to bridge the gap, the Internet burden posed by the pandemic. We can't comment much on them. Now I'd like to pass the floor to Anthony. Anthony, please. 

>> CHAU TSZ CHUN ANTHONY: Thank you, Hymn. So turning our attention to the United Kingdom, the UK government has spent a total of 842 million pounds on education for the 2019 and 2020 fiscal year. And so according to the education technology survey 2020‑2021, done by the Department of Education, the British government has spent an average of 6,000 pounds on secondary and primary students respectively on education and technology. The government has also invested a total of 20 ‑‑ excuse me. 200 million pounds on STEM‑related careers. And the policies on education and technology includes the purchase of equipment such as routers and devices. Computers and tablets. 

Also some financial support such as a number of funding schemes waiving data charges and also the local support. And also for elderly, a survey from the government suggested that despite the Internet, the Internet ‑‑ excuse me. Yes. Thank you. And so for elderly, the government ‑‑ a survey from the government has suggested the Internet habits remaining roughly the same, there's actually a significant number of elderly respondents that have reported that they have used the Internet more than before. One of the events hosted by the government to have the elderly on the digital inclusion is the TechForce19 challenge and a total of 18 digital solutions which has been awarded 25,000 pounds to assist the development of the project. And so of the study, what did we conclusion from the above three cases? So we conclude that each country has its own strengths regarding the allocation of technology resources. We can't deny that it is more or less bias to a specific age group. 

And so it comes the question, should the government pay more effort on the digital inclusion? Certain resources be allocated not evenly? And if so, what is the role of the teenagers on this whole issue? So feel free to raise your thoughts and comments on this issue. I will now pass the time to Jayson for our discussion. Thank you. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Thank you, Anthony. Hi, guys, I'm Jayson. We have a poll right now. What do you think of this question? You can vote on which would be a better way to distribute the technological resource. You guys can scan on the QR code. Then you can know about the poll results. And we'll leave some time for you guys to think about the issues. And, yep. We'll proceed when we have enough votes. 

>> JUSTIN NG: Maybe we can wait for two minutes to see. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Yep. We can wait for a while to let others scan the QR code and think about a question and think about an issue. Which sites should we actually focus on to allocate a resource? Because in a society, there are different stakeholders. Obviously, teenagers are one of the stakeholders. Which sites should we focus on more? And which site ‑‑ justify why. So after polling, I'll then go to you guys for the discussion session. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Last two minutes for the voting. Cast your votes if you haven't. We'll be discussing different policies from other places of the world. Different policies of addressing resource and allocating resource about technology, development and technology usage. So maybe you guys can think about different policies from your country and how, especially how these different governments use these policies to cope with COVID‑19. Particularly, we're also talking about whether the government should allocate resources to youth or not. Think about it. We'll start the discussion shortly. 

>> JUSTIN NG: We're trying to present the data to all of you. Maybe it will take a few seconds. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: So basically from the voting, we had just now, it's a kind of ‑‑ we'll see, like, there's 50% of people think that we should ‑‑ an even amount of people. So we can see that the participants of this workshop actually think that there isn't a particular group of stakeholders should actually using more of the technology resource from the government. This is very interesting finding. We'd like to see why this should be evenly distributed among people. Or why not we should focus on teenagers. Why not we should focus on elderly or other groups of people. Please. Okay. Firstly, we'd like to know more about different policies from other places. 

Because from the discussion we had, we know how government allocate resource in ‑‑ the government of UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong. We'd also like to know how other places have been doing during ‑‑ especially during the COVID‑19 pandemic. Where technology usage has been in dramatic rise. Feel free to raise out different policies or different situations from your home country. We'd like to know more about. And let all of us know how resources have been allocating right now. Feel free to voice out different policies and different situations. And let's wait for a while. I'm pretty sure that participants will have a lot of ideas. 

>> JUSTIN NG: If any of you want to raise your hands if you're joining through Zoom. But unfortunately, if you're joining on YouTube, maybe you can leave your ideas in the comments, and we'll try our best to read it out. So we've got someone raising hand. So, Frank, the floor is yours. 

>> FRANK: Thank you so much. I'm happy to be here. My name is Frank. I'm from Uganda. I work with a small organisation called Rural Aid Foundation. We work with refugees on access to services and civil rights. Now, my vote would be the allocation of digital resources in Uganda has not actually been fair. We've seen a number of exclusions of the people. Like the refugees and host communities. Who are deep in rural communities. Access to Internet is a problem. Where people cannot access computers. Where people don't have ‑‑ to set up technology. Accessing Internet services. 

And computer training. Because one of the challenges we have seen has been the high‑level literacy that contributed to the digital divide and exclusion of young people and youth. One way to ensure we have the youth strategical position to bridge this digital divide is to have committed trainings, for skills on digital literacy, such as we're able to engage with the computer systems. Also doing advocacy in the same line. So thank you so much. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Thank you, Frank. It's a very interesting piece of knowledge to know about. I have a little bit, a question. By refugees, do you mean refugees coming to Uganda or refugees from Uganda? Frank? 

>> FRANK: Thank you so much. So like you're aware, you may not be aware, but Uganda is one of the top refugee‑hosting countries in the world today. And I think we currently rank fifth. We host over 1.5 million refugees. So the refugees that are here I'm really talking about are those who are living in Uganda, that are living within different refugee settlements. We have over 11 refugee settlements in the country. These are places where there's limited Internet. 

Very limited access to computers. Internet. Actually, most of the refugees' access to computers is something that is very grim. People have never seen a computer. People have never heard about Internet. So these are the challenges that we are really ‑‑ we tell people even during the training, you tell them this is a computer. This is a mouse. This is a keyboard. And you really understand how hard this can be. The refugees are those that came from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently where we are, there are over 80,000 refugees. So those are the communities I'm really talking about. Thank you. I hope that answers it. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Thank you, Frank. A very interesting point. By the way, are there any statistics of the outcome of this refugee‑helping policy? Do you have any, like, you know, increase in employment rate? Or any interesting statistic to share about? 

>> FRANK: Yes, thank you so much. I'll start with the issue of access to education. Right now, as we speak, in Uganda, we have a registration policy for all children and young people in the secondary school. As they advance to do their final Uganda National Examinations, they have been online. What we've been doing, we've been able to support over 200 migrants and refugees and those within the host communities for the national examinations. Then we so far ‑‑ we started the training project last year as the COVID‑19 started around March. But also we went through shutdowns, lockdowns. So we've been able to train around 60 girls, young women, on how to use computers. Some of these after the training have actually gone and got more skilled jobs within their district. 

Some of them are working, like, as secretaries. Working as office attendants. So quite a number of them. And, of course, the challenge we still have is funding. We wanted to scale it up and set up another community technology centre within the refugee settlement. But, of course, we are really still struggling with it. We did an assessment. Like, accessing Internet within the refugee settlement. The refugee pays over 10,000 Shillings for ten minutes. We thought about establishing where they could be able to access Internet. Just at around maybe a quarter of that. That would be around 500 Shillings. We are running ‑‑ we are still discussing that and looking for potential donors. People that will set up this. And guess what, it's not very expensive. We're only looking at 5,000 U.S. dollars. Then we'll have that dream realized. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Is this policy or programme funded by government? Is it self‑funded? Anyone sponsor this programme? 

>> FRANK: So we have an initial startup that was supported by Omprakash, a U.S.‑based organisation. They give us $1,500 that we use to buy the first computers that we're currently using. We don't have any input from government because the national budget even for the national or the (?) In terms of IT sector is something that is very minimal. And that's the government has really (?) a lot of ‑‑ and as you've seen, we've also had the challenges in the community on elections. They think it's something you can ‑‑ how to prevent people from giving opinions and things that may not be in favor of the government. So that's one thing that we've seen. And the challenge that we are still experiencing. So as we speak, it's only what we've been able to raise to be able to support that small programme. Like I told you, we are, of course, still looking here and there to see if we can get some other person who's interested in digital rights or foundation for us to be able to set up another community technology centre to support the refugees and host communities. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Thank you, Frank. So one last question. So do you have a stance on allocating the technology resources to youth? So, because based on what I've heard from you, it seems that you're more supporting the government or resource should be allocated to refugees. Is that right? 

>> FRANK: Yes. Of course, resources should be more provided to those that are most vulnerable. Young people. But, of course, we also look at young people in the range of dynamics. They are young people that are more vulnerable than others. And in this case, we find young people that are actually even refugees, more vulnerable, and they need more support in this. So if we did much advocacy to ensure that young people that are most vulnerable, refugees, and more specifically, young girls and young women, it would be important to have resources distributed to those groups than any other category. 

For example, from the little time that we've been able to start this project from last year, we've seen that online violence is one challenge these communities are dealing with. We've seen it happening online. WhatsApp, so on. They don't know when they report sexual harassment online, the duty bearers aren't aware of how they can help because of the limited capacity of knowledge on digital rights. Thank you. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Thank you, Frank. Besides on Frank, we saw CKZIU, we saw you comment on the Zoom. You said you didn't ‑‑ probably some of your companions, do not agree with the statement of allocating more resources to youth. And because you guys believe that digital resources should be biased toward every group of people, even, the old one. Could you elaborate more so we could know more how do you guys feel? CKZIU, you could vote ‑‑ you could raise your hand in Zoom, if you could. And we could know more about how you think of on this policy. 

And this specific topic and issue. CKZIU here? Besides on Zoom, any participant on YouTube, you guys could comment on YouTube. And we'll go for your comment as well. Okay. So I saw CKZIU ‑‑ thank you. CKZIU, you commented again. You said, every group of our society is important, so we need to take care of everyone. Okay. So could I have ‑‑ could I have some, like, examples of other parts ‑‑ or do you ‑‑ could you, like, do you have any personal experience of ‑‑ any knowledge of education or resource in your hometown? Home country? Okay. So I saw them put from ‑‑ CKZIU again. You just said, for teenagers, it's easy to use digital resource. But for old people, it's hard to deal with new technologies. Okay. So by doing so, isn't it ‑‑ should we actually ‑‑ because it's hard for old people to learn new technology, isn't this the reason why we should allocate more resource to elderlies or people in need help educate them more? So this is kind of a discussion we could have on. 

Thank you for the response from CKZIU. I saw Nicodemus from Hong Kong. You said that ‑‑ in the situation of Hong Kong, you guys often see that problem of not having ‑‑ not the problem of having a device. But it's because during the pandemic, we couldn't reach to someone face to face to help them. Is this the reason why the government should allocate more resource and develop sort of an online volunteering service or online support service for, like, say, to help on these elderlies? Okay. So you guys said, like, Nicodemus, his organisation found out that the government should lead education to outreach and other communities. So to let ‑‑ wait, wait. What do you mean by what kind of education would there be? 

>> JUSTIN NG: So we're kind of running out of time. If there's any questions anyone would like to raise, feel free to raise it now as well. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: Even if we couldn't hear your voice or all of us couldn't know about your opinion right now, you can still contact through email. You guys can contact ‑‑ you guys can reach out to the Facebook page of Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. Feel free to leave us a message. We could discuss more on this topic. And, yeah. Okay. So any more ideas? Okay. So input for Nicodemus says, because civil groups are difficult to reach. Okay. We just had an input ‑‑ we saw the discussion between Nicodemus and CKZIU. I resource should actually be allocated to different parts ‑‑ so any more opinions or ‑‑ anyone wanted to voice out their opinions on this topic? I'll be ending today's session soon. So feel free. And, yeah. 

>> JUSTIN NG: We put the Facebook link in the chat room. If there's anything you'd like to know about us or continue the discussion on today's topic, feel free to use a comment on Facebook. 

>> JAYSON CHEUNG: I think that's basically that much ‑‑ we only have three minutes left for today's discussion. I think we'll have to conclude. So first of all, thank you for the input from all of you. Really value your opinions. And based on the poll results of the poll, and from the discussion chat box and Zoom discussion, it's actually a bit intriguing. Because we thought, we personally thought, you should be the one it was more focused on. Take an example of me and Justin. For me, I'm the one who's holding the VR goggles. And providing VR virtual traveling service for elderlies. Justin, he's providing an AR learning app for students with special education needs. 

And for them to learn how to spell different vocabularies for making ‑‑ for building different blocks of vocabulary and words. So for me, because we are subsidized from the programme of Ifocus, and we get to build something fascinating, some fascinating technology projects, I wish we could use it to improve lives of other people such as elderlies or students. This Ifocus programme is actually funded by the government. So it's actually a bit implicit subsidy. But still, because we're funded by this programme, so we do actually have a positive outcome. But there isn't actually a policy or a right way to allocate these resource. And I think every way would work. But it depends on, like, you know, the situation in your home country. Or different situational factors that happen. 

And the right way ‑‑ I think the best way to do it is to balance out different stakeholders and to better build a world in a better way. So I think this is the end of our discussion. Is it? Yeah. So thank you, once again, thank you, all you guys in joining our discussion today. And we hope you guys have something to take home and know more about this. And one last word. I think this is a really good way for us to ‑‑ for us teenagers to join the IGF. Because as Justin said before, this is a first time in Hong Kong where groups of secondary students and university students collaborating together and starting a seminar. So it's actually a very good chance for teenagers to join and especially for other stakeholders such as Frank from Uganda or CKZIU. So last words is we hope you guys enjoy other activities in IGF and have yourself a good evening if you're in Asia. Okay. Thank you. Bye‑bye. 

>> JUSTIN NG: Thank you, all, so much. I hope I'll see you around.