Learning from mentors with global work experience (5 February 2019)

"Students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are to get the rare opportunity of learning from top executives who have experience working around the world.

Launched last week by the university at its career fair and managed by the NUS Centre for Future-ready Graduates, the NUS Global Mentorship Programme is open to all NUS undergraduates across its faculties."

LINK



Children need more support to transition to P1: Researchers (7 February 2019)

"Children need more emotional support and fewer worksheets and spelling tests when they move from pre-school to primary school, say researchers.

Their advice is contained in a new guide from the National Institute of Education (NIE) for parents and teachers to make the tricky transition to Primary 1 easier."

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Tampines Junior College's final days on show in Web documentary (7 February 2019)

"A caretaker who was the last to leave the school every day. A canteen vendor who ran a yong tau foo stall beside his aunt's stall, which sold ban mian. And a former Normal (Academic) student whose dream was to attend Tampines Junior College (TPJC).

These are some of the characters featured in an interactive Web documentary on TPJC's last days."

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NUS to admit more poly students with entrepreneurial slant, launch self-designed modules (8 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE - Of the 7,800 undergraduates admitted to the National University of Singapore (NUS) last year, about 1,200 were polytechnic graduates.

The number is likely to rise further this year, with the university launching a special admission scheme for those demonstrating entrepreneurship abilities."

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Does Singapore education still need the Cambridge brand? (10 February 2019)

"Each year, new certificates for more than 60,000 Singapore students bear the name of Cambridge - part of a longstanding relationship with the British-based examination group which dates back to 1892. That was when the first Cambridge local examinations were conducted here, at a time when Singapore was under colonial rule.

But nearly 130 years later - after it was revealed last month that 32 O-level Additional Mathematics Paper 2 scripts were lost on a train in Britain - questions are being raised on why Singapore continues to rely on Cambridge Assessment to set and mark its papers."

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NUS Students' Union to gather students' views on academic-freedom debate (11 February 2019)

"The National University of Singapore (NUS) Students' Union is gathering students' views on academic freedom, in the wake of the recent debate on the turnover of faculty members and the pursuit of rankings by local universities.

NUS Students' Union council president Benjamin Loo told The Straits Times it would be gathering students' views "on academic experiences and the recent debate on academic freedom across NUS"."

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SMU to help students design their own purpose-driven education (12 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE - University students are usually asked to declare their majors at the end of the first year. But Singapore Management University is looking at getting its students to declare their life missions.

Newly installed SMU president Lily Kong, who announced the move on Tuesday (Feb 12), said the university is exploring the idea of getting a small number of committed students to define their mission at the end of the first year of studies."

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Normal (Academic) students pass subject-based banding test (13 February 2019)

"He was the only Normal (Technical) student taking Chinese at the Express level in his school. Unity Secondary School's Keane Chua was also taking English at the Normal (Academic) level.

Now 16, Keane, who will soon start a foundation programme at Republic Polytechnic to ready him for the institute's pharmaceutical science course, said that having his language strengths recognised while in secondary school has given him self-belief."

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NTU to broaden admission criteria for 40 courses and introduce more work-study degree programmes (15 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE - School leavers eyeing a place in a highly competitive course at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) can soon improve their chances through interviews, aptitude tests and portfolios.

NTU announced on Friday (Feb 15) that for 40 of its 111 undergraduate programmes, shortlisted applicants will undergo a "qualitative assessment" that goes beyond grades to employ a broader set of criteria such as interviews, aptitude tests and portfolios."

LINK







Pay It Forward: Mentor the Future (6 December 2018)

"Christian Eber, a father of one shares what the ups and downs of his life have taught him about building trust with young people.

When Christian saw his results for his O-Level preliminary exams, he thought it was a joke. He had scored ‘F9’ for all his subjects. His dad told him plainly that he was never going to amount to anything. So he said, “Dad, you wait and see.” For the next few months, he “studied like crazy”, and managed to do well enough to enter Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

Christian wanted desperately prove his Dad wrong. To do this, he had to be successful, fast. So he decided to put his studies on hold to enlist for National Service (NS), and started working after he served in the army. He learned to fix air-conditioners, and was earning $200 a day; he soon saved up enough money to get a car, and dreamt of becoming a multi-millionaire by the age of 25.

“My pride soon puffed up like a giant marshmallow,” Christian admitted. He became a “monster” who was arrogant to his Dad and the people around him. But his plans were disrupted when he met with a terrible car accident. He was almost crushed by a bus, and nursed a fractured arm for 6 months.

During his recovery, he realised he had to balance things up to remain grounded. He decided to joined SIA as an aircraft technician, and went back to polytechnic to get his diploma part-time. Then, his dad was struck with cancer. When his father passed away, it was a low moment in Christian’s life."

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How to help your child come to terms with bullying (13 December 2018)

"Being a victim of bullying can often be a painful and emotional journey. As parents, taking the right steps can ensure that your child feels safe as they overcome this difficult phase.

Whenever Dr Wong Hwei Ming is tasked with handling a bullying case, the first thing she normally does is to sit down with the bully and recount the “Two Apples Story”.

It goes like this.

A teacher stands in front of a classroom holding two identical apples, one in each palm. She repeatedly drops one from a height while firmly holding onto the other.

After a while, she asks the students if either of the apples have changed from their original state.

Since there are no noticeable differences at first glance, they reply by saying that both apples look exactly the same as before.

But when the teacher takes a knife and cuts into both the apples, the one that has been dropped several times reveals a badly bruised flesh while the other remains perfectly intact.

“The reality of bullying is that victims tend to seem normal on the outside even though they might be experiencing great trauma on the inside,” said Dr Wong, educational psychologist and school counsellor."

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Students have these four new polytechnic diploma programmes to consider (31 December 2018)

"As admissions exercises for polytechnics draw near, graduating students may already be mulling the various diploma options available.

In the face of the changing economy and evolving industry needs, institutes of higher learning have launched new courses and will add more Common Entry Programmes to provide students with skills necessary for work.

Here are four recently-launched diploma programmes which graduating students may consider:

Diploma in International Trade and Business

The full-time programme offered by Ngee Ann Polytechnic will help students understand international trade practices and supply chain management. They will learn skills relating to finance, purchasing and logistics.

There will also be opportunities for students to participate in learning trips and internships abroad. Additionally, students will embark on a capstone project, where they will make use of the skills they have learned to propose solutions to challenges in international trade operations.

Graduates can consider careers in wholesale trade and logistics sectors, where they can dabble in sourcing for products abroad, purchasing and shipping them, and distributing them."

LINK



Raising a teenager is like flying a kite: Learn when to pull in or let go (3 January 2018)

"We tend to associate adolescence as a turbulent period – a time when teenagers make poor decisions, indulge in risky behavior, and clash with parents. But it does not always have to be this way, if parents understand their changing roles during this time.

During his first two years of secondary school, Jason Wong’s son frequently had nightly arguments with his mother over uncompleted homework.

“My son was a little rebellious, and the nights always ended with both parties being unhappy and a little bit of shouting,” shared the father of two.

But instead of punishing his defiant son, as many parents would, he took another approach. He sat his son down for a conversation, where he guided him to see things from a different perspective.

“I had him understand that one day, he will be a father and husband, and he had to respect the other gender,” he recounted.

The approach worked, and the disagreements lessened.

For Jason, a youth mentor and founder of the Dads for Life movement, this incident showed that guiding, rather than directing teenagers, is more effective.

While the early years of a child’s life involve parents setting boundaries for them and largely controlling their behaviour, children develop a desire for more independence as they enter their teenage years.

That is when clashes may arise with parents, who may still feel a need to maintain control over them.

But just as teenagers are changing, he said parents should also change their roles from being mainly caregivers, to counsellors in how they relate to their maturing children."

LINK



One Part Discipline, Two Parts Empathy (9 January 2018)

"In order to get students to learn from their mistakes, teachers must first learn more about their students, says Principal and former Discipline Master Benjamin Kwok.

The missing girl

Benjamin Kwok has never forgotten the time he visited a student’s home in early 2001.

He’d recently been posted to Bendemeer Secondary School as discipline master, and learned that one of the girls had been absent for several days. He and the school’s Operations Manager—a retired police officer—decided to investigate one afternoon.

The girl was not home. They were greeted by her mother, who reeked of alcohol.

Kwok was caught off guard. How long had the mother been drinking? How could he begin a conversation with her?

His colleague, however, was not perturbed. He said “Wah, ma’am. Happy Hour started early eh!” The woman managed a laugh, and they started talking.

Over a few weeks, they managed to convince the girl to attend classes again. Her mother felt so assured by the experience that she eventually sent the girl’s younger sister to Bendemeer as well.

This case was an eye-opener for Kwok. It drove home two lessons: First, a student’s offence may simply be a response to their home environment. Second, rapport and trust are crucial to managing discipline cases well. “It has to be personal. You have to identify teachers, staff members who can connect with these students.”

Over the next few years, Kwok sought to develop this very rapport with his new charges. If they had relationship woes, he’d hear them out. If they were assisting with police investigations, he’d provide emotional support. He and his colleagues got to know the kids well enough that they could drop by the void deck where some of them hung out each night to ask how they were doing, and why they hadn’t gone home yet."

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Six Discipline Questions Answered (14 January 2018)

"How do schools handle disciplinary cases? What happens? What is the school doing? Why do they do things that way?

We spoke with parents like you, and posed their questions to:

• Mr Mohamed Sayadi, HOD Student Management, Meridian Secondary School

• Mr Muhammad Khaliq, Subject Head, Student Management, Meridian Secondary School

• Mr Chua Choon Guan, Principal, First Toa Payoh Primary School

• Mrs Jasmail Singh Gill, Retired Principal, last served at Unity Primary School

• Ms Sharma Poonam, Principal, Changkat Changi Secondary School"

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Have Schools Gone Soft? (14 January 2018)

"Parents’ expectations of schools have shifted over the decades, but the core of discipline remains the student’s education and well-being, say principals.

A rough start

On his first day of primary school, Kwek Hiok Chuang was anxious to find his mother. In between lessons, he stood up and peered through the classroom windows, hoping to pick her out from the mass of parents in the corridor.

For failing to snap to attention when a teacher entered the class, he was sent to the corner of the room, forearms crossed over his chest, hands pulling his ears. He remained there for the entire period.

It has been over 50 years since that incident. Mr Kwek went on to have a long career as a teacher himself, and recently retired as Principal of Nanyang Junior College. But he never forgot what happened on his first day as a student.

His anecdote is not uncommon. Singaporeans who attended school between the 1960s and 1980s may recall other ways teachers commanded obedience: using a ruler to whack the arms of talkative students, tossing chalk at those not paying attention."

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Prepare for the workplace: Grit matters (18 January 2018)

"Good grades lead to good jobs, and bad grades mean bad jobs? Not quite, observes Khairul Rusydi, co-founder of an education start-up where they train students from 14 – 24 to develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

With the world changing so rapidly, employers are increasingly looking beyond qualifications and are hiring based on skillsets, says Rusydi who is one such employer.

He evaluates potential employees based on their portfolio of work or ideas, experience and character, carefully evaluating them during job interviews. Academic results, he insists, are of minimal consideration.

For students, this means going beyond grades to build up a portfolio of work through internships or even taking part in business competitions and hackathons that will bolster their resumes, shares Rusydi who also teaches youths how to better prepare for the workforce.

Rusydi, who was previously working in SPRING Singapore (now Enterprise Singapore), felt students and parents need to undergo a mindset shift, notes the employee turned entrepreneur who wants to share his entrepreneurial streak with students – not just to start a business but also to inculcate a more derring-do spirit.

Takes risks and fail, no problem. Just try again, he urges."

LINK



Turning Troublemakers into Strivers (21 January 2018)

"Two discipline masters show that sometimes, the best way to deal with your worst-behaving students is to spend more time with them.

They were a group of only 15 boys, but they accounted for most of the serious school offences in Siglap Secondary School in 2013.

Disruptive behaviour in class, absenteeism, fighting, defiance of teachers, smoking—they’d done it all, and faced the consequences. And they were only in Secondary One.

So their discipline masters tried something different: futsal.

“A lot of their issues stemmed from problems at home and a lack of self-motivation. So we created a purpose for them to come to school,” says Mohamed Sayadi.

He and his deputy Khaliq started a programme called Strivers, to reflect the aspiration for its participants to become better people. The plan was simple — weekly after-school futsal sessions between the 15 boys and two discipline masters, nothing more.

It was not an easy sell. When the boys were told they’d been put on the programme, they exclaimed: “Oh, it’s because we’re the naughty ones.”

But at their first session, they got a surprise: a red-coloured football jersey for each of them, with the word “STRIVERS” emblazoned on the front. It quickly became their calling card, and they wore it with pride."

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Sandbox for students: Time to take risks (4 February 2018)

"Just a few years ago, who would have thought that we can use our phones to hail a ride, rent a bike, get dinner served and groceries delivered to our homes. Today, these services are part of our daily lives.

Enabled by new technology, start-ups are taking on giant multinational companies and revolutionising the business landscape. This means that jobs are in flux, says Vinod Nair, founder and chief executive of online portal MoneySmart.sg.

“There’s the risk that jobs that exist today may not be around in the next five to ten years,” he shares. “Taking what has been known to be a stable and secure career path may not necessarily be the answer for young people today.”

For students who want to challenge themselves and be at the forefront of innovation, it is beneficial to explore venturing into entrepreneurship, he adds.

For Vinod, the start-up world was an experimental sandbox of sorts, where he was able to try new things. Even if he was unsuccessful, he picked himself up and tried again."

LINK



Nurturing future leaders at Xinghua Primary School (9 February 2018)

"It’s been four years since Muhammad Amirul Fitrii Muhtadiin graduated from Xinghua Primary School, but he clearly remembers his stint as head prefect in 2015.

“I remembered giving motivational speeches, led workshops for my juniors and organising our school’s Teachers’ Day concert,” recounts Amirul, who is now a student of Victoria School. “In my role as head prefect, I had to interact with others a lot. It gave me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.”

Amirul’s learning experiences are what Xinghua Primary School hopes to impart to its students through its leadership programme.

Every student has a role to play. They get to serve their class through different responsibilities, such as subject monitors or administrative leaders. Those who show greater leadership potential would be endorsed by their teachers for bigger responsibilities, such as leading their co-curricular activities (CCAs) or becoming prefects.

However, students’ leadership journeys do not just end with carrying out projects for the school. They would also be role models to their peers. Experienced prefects would be tasked with conducting workshops to impart their knowledge on leadership to their younger counterparts. CCA leaders become ambassadors for their activities, while house leaders take charge of promoting healthy living habits to their peers."

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Open House Dates of Special Education (SPED) Schools 2019 (13 February 2018)

"Children with moderate to severe special educational needs (SEN) require more intensive and specialised assistance in their education. So how do parents choose the school that would be the best fit for their child?

There are currently 19 Government-funded SPED schools, run by 12 Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) that cater to distinct disability profiles of children with SEN."

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Inaugural Chinese Street Dance Competition to Cultivate Love for Chinese Language (16 January 2019)

"As part of our efforts to raise our students’ interest in learning the Chinese Language, the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL) and Mandarin edutainment channel, MaxToon, are jointly organising the inaugural Chinese Street Dance Competition (爱上华文街舞比赛) for local primary school students."

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Cultivating the Joy of Playing Sports for Life: Enhanced Junior Division Competitions (23 January 2019)

"Following the completion of the National School Games (NSG)’ Junior Division Review in 2018, a suite of enhancements will be implemented across Junior Division competitions by 2021. These enhancements will bring about more learning and developmental experiences for primary school students."

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Posting Results for the 2019 Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) (24 January 2019)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE) will release the posting results for the 2019 Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) on Thursday, 31 January 2019, 9.00am."

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10th Anniversary Celebration of Cultural Performance Exposure Scheme (24 January 2019)

"The Cultural Performance Exposure Scheme (CPES) - an initiative by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL) - celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. More than 260,000 students have benefitted from the CPES, enjoying greater exposure to Chinese arts and theatre."

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GCE A-Level Examination Results Release & Changes to Poly Admission for A-Level Graduates (15 February 2019)

"The results of the 2018 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) examination will be released on Friday, 22 February 2019. School candidates may collect their results from their respective schools from 2.30pm that day."

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Opaque policies, fixation with KPIs, rankings: Why arts and humanities academics quit NUS, NTU (6 January 2019)

"SINGAPORE — Opaque tenure and promotion policies, resistance to innovation and a “warped” notion of institutional excellence have surfaced as reasons some academics in the arts and humanities fields threw in the towel at Singapore's two biggest universities in the last couple of years.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) do well in attracting talented faculty members in the short term but fail to retain them — no thanks to their incessant pursuit of rankings and the relative lack of academic freedom when it comes to certain projects or research initiatives, about 10 academics — who have either recently left or are leaving the two universities — told TODAY."

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NTU associate professor faces charges over alleged road rage incident (7 January 2019)

"SINGAPORE — A Nanyang Technological University (NTU) associate professor who allegedly caused a collision is facing charges over the road rage incident that happened in March 2017.

Wang Jianliang, 57, was in November slapped with three charges that include mischief, using criminal force and acting rashly."

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Poly students create low-cost, gesture-controlled rehabilitative glove for stroke patients (10 January 2019)

"SINGAPORE — The challenge: Create an assistive, rehabilitative technology for stroke patients.

Spurred on by their lecturer, two engineering students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic designed a portable, low-cost, muscle activated glove to help stroke victims relearn how to grasp their hands, an ability they might have lost as a result of the disease."

LINK



Ex-freelance religious teacher and his student issued Restriction Orders under Internal Security Act (16 January 2019)

"SINGAPORE — A former accredited freelance religious teacher who spread extremist ideas and his student who expressed support for terrorist groups have been placed on Restriction Orders under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said on Wednesday (Jan 16) that Murad Mohd Said, 46, taught his students that it was compulsory to kill apostates — broadly defined to include non-believers, Sufis, Shias and Muslims who have renounced Islam or disregarded texts and rulings from the Quran and Sunnah."

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National study on emotional resilience, mental health of youths to begin in April (21 January 2019)

"SINGAPORE — In April, the National University of Singapore (NUS) will embark on the first national study that aims to estimate the prevalence of mental health conditions in youths aged 10 to 18, as well as gauge their emotional resilience.

The Singapore Youth Epidemiology and Resilience (Year) Study, done in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Institute of Mental Health, will reach out to 12,000 youths, to get a representative sample across gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status."

LINK



Disgraced lawyer struck off rolls for doctoring grades to land job (22 January 2019)

"SINGAPORE — One year after she was fined S$10,000 for doctoring her grades in her degree transcript, disgraced lawyer Jaya Anil Kumar was struck off the rolls on Tuesday (Jan 22).

The 30-year-old graduated with a second class (lower) honours degree from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2011 and was called to the Singapore Bar in July 2012."

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University fully committed to high standards of education and research: NUS (30 January 2019)

"We refer to the TODAY article entitled “Opaque policies, fixation with KPIs, rankings: Why arts and humanities academics quit NUS, NTU” published on Jan 6, 2019.

Despite clarification being sought from NUS, the article did not adequately represent NUS’ position on the matter, resulting in inaccuracies that can affect the reputation and standing of NUS."

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Two young Singapore designers shoot for Harvard summer programme (3 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE — When she visited Hanoi in 2017, Ms See Ying Jia was inspired by its vibrant street culture.

When she learnt about the Vietnamese authorities’ enforcement against illegal street vendors, Ms See, 23, began to think about solutions."

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Let’s talk about mental health: Film festival wants to grow conversation in S’pore (7 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE — When she was a little girl, Ms Cheryl Tan began writing notes to herself, tucking them into a green box for safekeeping.

But these were not ordinary notes, as she detailed her thoughts of wanting to die.

Her suicidal thoughts persisted over the years, and her parents were ill-equipped to help and she did not know who to reach out to."

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Drink from the tap: Students on a mission to cut bottled-water consumption (10 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE — For nearly a decade, Ms Erny Kartolo’s mother bought bottled water in bulk for her family, so that they would be hydrated when they ventured out of their home.

Every month, she would stock up on a box holding 40 bottles of water from suppliers such as Dasani."

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Not feasible to mark GCE-level exam scripts locally: Ong Ye Kung (11 February 2019)

"SINGAPORE — It is not possible to have all GCE-level examination scripts marked locally bearing in mind the wellbeing of teachers, due to the large number to be marked over a short period of time during the school vacation, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday (Feb 11).

However, Singapore is on track to having almost all GCE-level written scripts marked electronically by the end of the year. This will help to ensure the safety and integrity of the scripts."

LINK