Education systems need to evolve to recognise the growing influence of social media: Ong Ye Kung (16 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE - Social media is changing the way people receive and consume information, and education has a part to play in addressing this challenge, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (Jan 16).

Although society has yet to find a solution to the ills of social media , education systems have to recognise its growing influence and "equip our young with the values, mindsets and skills to live in this digital world", he added."

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New 'degrees' for the new economy (19 January 2020)

"In most advanced economies including Singapore, citizens are encouraged to pursue at least 10 years of education.

Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) president Tan Thiam Soon asks: "Is it time to make 15 or 16 years of education the new minimum?"

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Hongbao to boost bonds (19 January 2020)

"This Chinese New Year, Ms Serene Wu and Ms Michelle Tay want to steer the conversation away from the stereotypical stilted topics at gatherings.

Instead, they hope to spark more meaningful exchanges via questions printed on the backs of hongbao (red packets), such as "What was the best thing that happened to you in the past year?"

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More support for students who skip school (19 January 2020)

"Disadvantaged students, especially those who often skip school, will get more support from a pilot project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to help them stay in class.

The Uplift Community Pilot, a component of the Uplift programme, aims to enhance support for disadvantaged students who need more help to attend school regularly."

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ITE graduates to get more opportunities to attain diplomas (20 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE - The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) is looking to provide its students with more opportunities to go beyond an ITE certification and more options to attain a diploma.

The pathways include the polytechnic route and the work-study diploma programme, which was launched in 2018 as an alternative route for ITE graduates."

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5% of ITE grads go on to get degrees from local public unis (21 January 2020)

"Five per cent of Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates managed to get degrees from local public universities, while 10 per cent hold degrees from private or overseas universities.

ITE yesterday shared this new finding from a 10-year graduate employment survey that tracked 3,500 graduates from 2007 to 2017. The institution had not provided the breakdown between public and private or overseas universities previously."

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ITE students create real-life solutions with AI in Intel project (21 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE - Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students have used artificial intelligence (AI) in projects that aim to solve real-world problems.

Among these projects are a mini-robot that reminds elderly patients to take their medication, and an interactive signboard that "catches" errant cyclists in void decks."

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School buses to get 'smart' makeovers to allow e-payment, GPS tracking and attendance taking (22 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE - Smart technology is being introduced gradually in buses ferrying schoolchildren from 2020, a move that will allow parents to make e-payments and communicate more easily with the driver, who will also know for sure that all the kids have boarded the bus before moving off.

This smart bus fleet management system, which is being developed by the Singapore School and Private Hire Bus Owners' Association, will be installed in at least 800 of its members' buses by 2022."

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Wuhan virus: Singapore schools ask parents, staff to declare weekend travel plans (23 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE - Pre-schools in Singapore have stepped up measures to safeguard against the mystery Wuhan virus, which continues to spread in China and abroad.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said it issued advisories on Wednesday (Jan 22) to pre-schools and student care centres to inform them on precautionary measures to ensure the well-being of children and staff."

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Wuhan virus: Singapore schools step up precautionary measures (24 January 2020)

"Schools here have stepped up measures to safeguard against the mystery Wuhan virus, after Singapore confirmed its first case.

"In this phase of enhanced preparedness, our schools, including MOE kindergartens and institutes of higher learning (IHLs), will take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff," the Ministry of Education said in a statement last night."

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Switching off to switch on (3 January 2020)

"We worry about our kids spending too much time on electronic devices. But are mummy and daddy setting the example? Sherwin Loh looks up from his mobile device to share his thoughts on the magic that happens when he turns off his phone and switches on his daddy mode.

You’ve probably heard that young children and electronic devices are a risky combination… decreased attention, risk of exposure to inappropriate content, health issues from staring for hours at a small screen – the list goes on.

But the biggest danger is not about them using smartphones or tablets - it’s about you doing so in their presence.

Since Emma was 3, or rather, old enough to understand what a phone/tablet was, we have been very stringent on her use of technology, from television, tablets, phones, to game consoles.

The three rules that have been set are:

• No devices at the dining table.

• No devices and TVs on weekdays.

• 20 minutes of tablet use per session, on weekends

While she understands when she can and cannot use them, and abides by them, the rules have become more fluid as she has grown older, because these days, the persons breaking the rules are Mummy and Daddy. Mummy is fond of holding on to her phone at mealtimes, while Daddy has a habit of watching TV on weekdays and using his tablet and phone, all at the same time, never mind the no-device policy during school nights."

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I switched from JC to Poly after 1 year (6 January 2020)

"It shocked my friends and family then, but looking back, it was the best decision I could have made. By Neo Wen Tong

It was 2004. I had my O-levels results in my hands and my mind was racing… With an L1R5 of 11 points, which Junior College (JC) should I go to?

Going to a polytechnic did not cross my mind at all. There were a few factors in play.

• Family pride: JC was the more “prestigious” choice.

• School pride: In my peer group, a double-digit L1R5 was considered “below average”. In our secondary 4 year, multiple JCs were invited to give talks to us. No poly was invited.

• Peer pressure: My schoolmates were all going to JCs. I had to, too.

• It was easier to enter university via the JC route… Right?

So, I applied for a JC and got a place.

I did not expect to struggle in JC, but…

The jump in subject difficulty was huge. The A-levels is an intense course that is packed into less than two years. In secondary school, I was barely scraping through my math and science, but managed to do well enough with intensive extra help in the last few months before the O-levels. It gave me a false sense of confidence that I could handle math and science in JC as well, and I opted for the popular Physics, Chemistry, Math and Economics combination."

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Back to school: Expecting the unexpected (6 January 2020)

"Your child’s heading off to school and you’ve prepared them for every possibility. What could go wrong, right? Wrong, says Neo Wen Tong, a mother of two, as she shares her tips for handling unexpected situations.

The excitement of the first two days of school is over and lessons will be on in full swing. It’s finally time to breathe a little easier, and let your child ease themselves into the pace of school again. You’ve been prepping them for a week before school started so it’ll be a breeze for them to settle right in, right?

The truth is, despite your best effort, some unexpected situations may still crop up. Your child may forget to bring something (water bottle, lunchbox, wallet, book, etc.) to school, not want to get up in the morning, come home with the sniffles or a cough, miss the school bus, and find lessons hard to understand… The list can go on.

These situations can be frustrating, for both parents and children. Here are a few tips on how you can handle these situations.

“I forgot to bring…”

Okay, so this may not be completely unexpected. But instead of going straight to your child’s rescue, coach them to solve the problem on their own or approach an adult in school for help instead. If they forgot their water bottle, the water cooler in school could tide them over. If they forgot their lunchbox or had no money for recess, they could ask a teacher for help. Sometimes, they learn best through making mistakes and sorting out their own problems."

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Dear Parent... (6 January 2020)

"As our children head back to the first full week of school in 2020, a mother gives a shout-out to fellow parents suffering from separation anxiety. By Neo Wen Tong.

Dear parent,

So, our children are actually, really, truly back in school. Two days of peeping at them at the canteen are over.

You know what?

It's okay to have a mild panic attack after dropping them off at school this morning.

It's okay to constantly think about them -- if they forgot anything, if they ate enough during recess, or if they made friends.

It's okay to want to rush home from work early to ask about their day and give them a big hug."

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Profound lessons from orchestra conductor Kahchun Wong (7 January 2020)

"Kahchun’s story will always stand out for sheer will and determination. What seemed like a pipe dream became possible when he found his talent and interest – and persevered.

On stage, he’s an internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor. Off stage, he’s just a Singaporean making sense of the whirlwind he is in.

At 33, Kahchun Wong is Chief Conductor of the acclaimed Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra in Germany – one of the few Asians leading a cultural institution in Europe. He has also been invited to conduct some of the finest orchestras abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, Czech Philharmonic and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

However, life could have turned out very differently for the young man from Jurong West.

Kahchun grew up in a Chinese-speaking family. He first picked up a musical instrument – a cornet – when he joined the brass band in Jurong Primary School. It was through playing in the school bands that Kahchun discovered his love for music.

Kahchun himself has longed believed that if it were not for winning the Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2016 (which changed his career trajectory), he’d still have been pursuing a profession in music.

The Mahler competition is often seen as the Olympics of the conducting world. It’s known as one of the toughest competitions, the way winners are graded and selected, with close to 400 international contestants."

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Is CCA a waste of time? (7 January 2020)

“It’s better to study than spend time on CCA.” “My child is in a CCA he doesn’t like and there’s nothing we can do about it.” If these sound familiar, read on. We demystify 5 myths about CCA.

“CCA is a waste of time; focus on lessons and homework!”

We often hear this – and possibly other – misperceptions of CCA. We debunk this way of thinking and explain why our children will still need CCA...

“CCA is a waste of time. You’re better off channelling your time and energy into things that matter; i.e. tests and exams.”

CCA plays a huge part in enriching the students’ lives outside classroom. Skills and values, which cannot be directly taught from textbooks per se, can be complemented via lived experiences. Collective efforts to gather materials for a campfire and striving to do better from failures in a competition, for example, are practical ways to instil camaraderie and teamwork, build resilience and character, promote competition rigour and nurture an excellence mindset. Besides sports and uniform groups, interest-based programmes also give students added multi-disciplinary exposure and help build competencies. All these qualities will come in handy at work and in relationships where interaction is key for collaborative growth."

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Why I went from Polytechnic to Junior College (15 January 2020)

"What should you do when you realise your school might not have been the best choice? 19-year-old Jermaine Lee reflects on her journey and shares some tips for her juniors.

Why I went from Polytechnic to Junior College

What is the right choice for you after your O-Level? 19-year-old Jermaine Lee looks back on her journey and shares tips for her juniors.

Since young, I’ve loved working in groups for projects and this was one of the reasons that attracted me to a polytechnic after my O-Levels. I had gotten a place at Singapore Poly’s Creative Writing in TV and New Media (DTVM) course via EAE. The course was very exciting and I was passionate about the media industry, especially content creation. Plus, I was looking forward to the freedom that Poly life would bring!

In two minds

But midway through my first semester, I realised that my love for media and journalism stemmed from my strong desire to shed light on the truth. This realisation changed my perspective and I became interested in studying law. As my interest in law grew stronger, I was in a turmoil. I wanted the option to choose either law or media as a future career, both of which I was passionate about, instead of feeling restricted in my choice.

Could I study law at university after my course in Poly? That did not seem likely. Even though I managed to do quite well in my first semester, I did not think I could realistically match the almost perfect GPA required for law in local universities. DTVM is a course unrelated to law, and the subjective nature of the course made it very difficult to get a perfect GPA."

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A holiday with a difference (15 January 2020)

"As 2019 drew to a close, Tee Hun Ching had a special lesson to share with her children. You could call it a unique ‘enrichment class’.

For the second December in a row, we took our kids on a year-end trip with a twist last year. Together with a group of friends, we visited a Catholic missionary community in Manila that works with needy families and children in a few slum areas.

We ran into a hurdle soon after we landed. As we made our way slowly from the airport to the hotel along the traffic-clogged streets, the van we were in broke down. We were left stranded by the roadside with our luggage as we tried to book a cab in the evening rush hour.

My son, who had been looking forward to the return visit, defaulted instantly to his complaint mode. “Why are we so unlucky?” my 12-year-old grumbled. His nine-year-old sister also made it known that she was hungry.

The irony did not escape me. Here we were, paving the way for our children to bring some warmth and light to those who have truly been dealt a bad hand in life. Yet their own well-being always takes priority. It reinforced our decision to make this a regular trip. In helping others, we would also venture beyond our comfort zone and learn to count our blessings."

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Not dropping the ball: Juggling CCA and academics (15 January 2020)

"The ‘O’ level results have been released. For secondary school fresh graduates, this is the moment they have been anticipating – the culmination of four or five years of hard work. We checked in with a Mayflower Secondary school student, to find out how he feels about his results, and how he managed to efficiently split his time between his CCA and his studies. By Tung Yon Heong.

They sauntered into the hall leisurely, belying their feelings of trepidation and excitement. Like cohorts before them, the newly minted secondary school graduates were about to partake in a ritual enshrined in Singapore’s traditions – the collection of ‘O’ level results in the school auditorium.

As the results were handed out in nondescript grey letters, many broke out in cheers; some wept quietly, comforted by their parents and peers.

Afiq Danial B Abdul Rahman, a former captain of the Mayflower Secondary school football team, could not have been more overjoyed with his results. “I feel really grateful, I exceeded my expectations. I couldn’t have done it without my teachers, my parents and my peers.”

Afiq’s father, who accompanied him, was beaming with pride. “I’m very proud of my son,” said Mr Abdul Rahman."

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Release of 2019 Singapore-Cambridge GCE N(A)- & N(T)-Level Examination Results (19 December 2019)

"Students who sat for the 2019 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) Normal (Academic) [N(A)] and Normal (Technical) [N(T)] Level Examinations collected their results from their secondary schools today."

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Release of 2019 Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level Examination Results and 2020 Joint Admissions Exercise (6 January 2020)

"The results of the 2019 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE O-Level) examination will be released on Monday, 13 January 2020."

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Release of 2019 Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level Examination Results and 2020 Joint Admissions Exercise (13 January 2020)

"Students who sat for the 2019 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE O-Level) Examination collected their results from their secondary schools today.

A total of 24,409 candidates sat for the 2019 GCE O-Level Examination. 24,377 (99.9%) of these candidates have 1 or more O-Level passes . 23,550 (96.5%) and 20,805 (85.2%) of the candidates have 3 or more and 5 or more O-Level passes respectively. The performance of students in this cohort is comparable to the performance of the 2018 cohort."

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2020 MOE Kindergarten Open House and Registration Exercise (14 January 2020)

"36 MOE Kindergartens (MKs) will be participating in the 2020 MK Registration Exercise for Kindergarten 1 (K1) admission in 2021. Online registration will open from 9am on 7 February 2020 to 4pm on 11 February 2020."

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Launch of Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee's Cultural Performance Exposure Fund (16 January 2020)

"The Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee (TLLPC) has launched the Cultural Performance Exposure Fund (CPEF) to encourage students to experience and enjoy cultural performances in Tamil."

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National School Games 2020 – Enhancing Co-Curricular Experiences (21 January 2020)

"Over 150 student-athletes played their first matches in the National School Games (NSG) at the Singapore Sports Hub today, marking the start of the school sports season. The NSG runs from January to August and is the largest and most extensive annual youth sports event in Singapore, with over 450 sports championships."

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New student group at NUS aims to foster stronger community support for sexual assault victims (17 December 2019)

"SINGAPORE — It was after a town hall on sexual misconduct, held at the National University of Singapore (NUS) in April, that four students decided that they needed to do something to raise community support for sexual assault victims on campus.

The town hall was prompted by a widely publicised incident where undergraduate Monica Baey was illegally filmed while showering in a hostel bathroom. She, as well as many other students at the town hall, felt that NUS had not done enough to support her."

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N-Level candidate shone despite family breakdown, working part-time to support ill mother (19 December 2019)

"SINGAPORE — Judging from the earnest smiles she gave to her teachers and classmates during the release of the N-Level results on Thursday (Dec 19), it is hard to believe how much life has thrown at Nurain Sanusi, a student from Spectra Secondary School.

The 17-year-old has had to grapple with her parents' divorce and face financial hardship due to her mother’s health problems, and could not do well in her studies as early as in Primary 2 or 3."

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Social mixing in schools has improved based on government indicator, ‘must not be left to chance’ (27 December 2019)

"SINGAPORE — Social mixing of children from diverse backgrounds in schools should be a deliberate effort and must not be left to chance, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (Dec 27).

Speaking at the annual Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals at the Shangri-La Hotel, he said that initiatives rolled out by the Government to improve social mixing among students have been fruitful and have contributed to a better mix of students from different backgrounds in schools."

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Oxford undergraduate becomes first Singaporean to win ‘triple crown’ at prestigious debate tournament (7 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE — An Oxford University undergraduate, who turned to debating when a school drama club rejected him, has become the first Singaporean to clinch the coveted “triple crown” at the World Universities Debating Championship.

Mr Lee Chin Wee, 24, a final-year Oxford undergraduate, swept the titles of overall champion, best speaker in the finals, and overall best speaker at the debate tournament, which is considered to be the most prestigious in the world. He received his awards last Friday (Jan 3)."

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EDB’s ‘young punks’ won over doubters — including their bosses — to realise industry tool honed over breakfast (8 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE — It was a side project a group of young officers from the Economic Development Board (EDB) embarked on in addition to their day-to-day work — an index to help manufacturing firms better understand how they can undergo digital transformation.

To convince EDB management this was an endeavour worth putting their time and effort into, these officers used the agency's tagline right back at them: To dream, design and deliver. The EDB is the agency in charge of bringing overseas investments into Singapore to grow its economy and to promote innovation."

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Before you pursue an MBA, think about whether it is what you really need (11 January 2020)

"Getting a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is something some millennials feel they must do to move up in their career.

It is expensive, though, often taking two years and costing more than S$100,000."

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Shawn Svento’s rise to become Asia’s best sport stacker began in the kitchen (11 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE — He first saw it on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on television in 2016, where then-world champion Steven Purugganan displayed his prowess in sport stacking.

Then he went to his kitchen, took out some plastic cups and tried it himself."

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Redas ‘appalled’ by NUS study which claims industry engages in insider trading (17 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE — The Real Estate Developers' Association of Singapore (Redas) has categorically rejected any suggestion that the industry engages in any form of price-fixing, insider trading or collusion.

This comes after the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School published the findings of a research paper on Wednesday (Jan 15) claiming there is “evidence of insider trading in the land market”.

The study, led by Professor Sumit Agarwal, found that the top managers of Singapore’s real estate developers played golf with each other more frequently after the announcement of a Government Land Sales programme, and their winning bids for the tenders were 14.4 per cent lower than the winning bids put in by those who did not play golf."

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Gen Y Speaks: My unforgettable encounters with unquiet souls in hospital (19 January 2020)

"Novels and movies have long portrayed hospitals as eerie places of unexplained screams and unquiet ghosts, where in the dead of the night, the protagonist sees a lady in white roaming at the corridors, only to realise that she has no face and no shadow.

I have been on call and worked overnight in various Singapore hospitals many times and within different departments, but have not yet met a ghost."

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More play, fewer stakes on results: MOE pilots plans to drop trials, have centralised venues for CCAs (22 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE — To give students more chances to take up the co-curricular activities (CCAs) they like, as well as to reduce the competitiveness of school sports, the Ministry of Education (MOE) is offering pupils with different interests and sporting talents the opportunity to take up CCAs at centralised venues outside of schools.

Selection trials to join a CCA will be removed in certain schools as well, it said on Tuesday (Jan 21)."

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Schools, childcare centres, SAF roll out measures to prevent spread of Wuhan virus in Singapore (23 January 2020)

"SINGAPORE — As Singapore confirms its first case of the Wuhan coronavirus and families take overseas trips this long weekend for the Chinese New Year holidays, schools here have been alerted to take enhanced precautions.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a statement on Thursday night (Jan 23) that it is moving into a phase of “enhanced preparedness”, where schools including MOE Kindergartens, and institutes of higher learning will take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and employees."

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