SMU students go online to help overseas and local communities amid a global pandemic (5 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Travel restrictions that were imposed last year around the world at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic derailed plans for several overseas community service projects that had been in the making for months for some students from the Singapore Management University (SMU).

One such project by a group of 15 students aimed to educate people in Concepcion, a municipality in the Iloilo province in the Philippines on health risks posed by sweetened drinks, as well as help them improve their waste management system."

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She’s a first generation immigrant from Myanmar who wants to make a positive impact through medicine and scientific research (7 April 2021)

"As a first generation immigrant from Myanmar, Ms Katherine Nay Yaung has always felt inspired by the fortitude of the people living there.

The 27-year-old Singaporean says: “Whenever I go back to visit family, I see the people in Myanmar living life to the fullest despite the difficult circumstances some of them face. This made me want to do something that could make a positive contribution to humankind.”

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4 pairs of primary schools, 5 pairs of secondary schools to merge in S'pore as student numbers shrink (7 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Another 18 primary and secondary schools are set to be merged over the next three years as student enrolment continues to shrink due to Singapore's falling birth rates.

The first two schools to be merged are Juying Primary School (JYPS) and Pioneer Primary School, which will be combined in 2022 and occupy the current JYPS site."

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Pupils can start taking Higher Malay and Tamil earlier, from Primary 3 and 4 (9 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Higher Malay Language (HML) and Higher Tamil Language (HTL) will be offered to Primary 3 and Primary 4 pupils in all schools, following a successful pilot that began last year.

Both higher language subjects are already offered to Primary 5 and 6 pupils, but will be an option for younger pupils to foster deeper knowledge and appreciation for these languages and their cultures."

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Lessons from home-based learning during circuit breaker period (11 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - It has been a year since we went into the circuit breaker and full home-based learning. Many of us will remember worrying about how the Covid-19 pandemic would affect students.

Parents, especially those with children taking national exams, worried whether the children would be prepared to take these exams. Others were equally stressed about supporting their children for home-based learning, as well as looking after them during the circuit breaker."

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Celebrity Parents: Kiss92 FM presenter Maddy Barber teaches her daughters to say 'no' (11 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Bringing up a teenage child is possibly the toughest phase of parenthood, says Kiss92 FM presenter Maddy Barber.

The 47-year-old mother of two girls speaks from experience. She and her husband, Mr Wez Barber, 43, have a 15-year-old daughter, Alicia. Barber has another daughter, 25-year-old Elizabeth, from a previous marriage."

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Kids, the virtual babysitter is here (11 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - When she worked as an actress in London in 2019, Ms Selma Alkaff started babysitting children. It was a flexible side hustle and she found that she loved working with kids.

In May last year, she found herself babysitting a former client's pre-schoolers - via Zoom this time, as she was back in Singapore because of Covid-19."

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Raising children and supporting families in a circle of care (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - In this nearly borderless space of schools and services started by the Canossian Sisters, the saying that it takes a village to raise a child rings true.

The 1.75ha Canossian Village in MacPherson houses not just a pre-school, a primary school and a special education school for children with hearing loss."

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Children with different needs play and learn alongside each other, in the Canossian way of inclusion (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - The Canossian family's journey of inclusion goes back more than three decades.

As early as 1989, a handful of children from Canossian School for those with hearing loss had spent a few hours a day attending lessons at the nearby former Bukit Batok Primary School."

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Pre-school brings children with hearing loss into the fold (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Mrs Melissa Chan has seen tremendous improvements in her son ever since he started attending Canossaville Preschool in January 2019.

Her son, Philip, now four, was previously with another pre-school for six months but teachers there thought he was a "slow learner", she said."

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Schools in Singapore continue to reap benefits of remote learning (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Late last month, Secondary 2 students from Riverside Secondary School were one of the first nationwide to receive their personal learning devices.

The excitement of getting a brand new tablet to tinker with was palpable."

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Choir students adapt to hybrid sessions amid Covid-19 pandemic (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Most co-curricular activities (CCAs) have resumed in-person sessions, but doing so for a school choir of more than 60 students has been rather tricky.

To date, only five singers are allowed to sing together unmasked at a time."

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School got the nuts and bolts right to teach CCA sessions online (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE - Co-curricular activities (CCAs) stopped after the March school holidays, last year, as part of precautionary measures to reduce interaction between students.

But Northland Primary School resumed all CCAs virtually in June, one of the earliest schools to do so."

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Poll: Private institute fresh grads still lagging behind in job prospects (14 April 2021)

"Job prospects for fresh graduates from private education institutions (PEIs) continue to lag behind those from autonomous universities (AUs), the latest graduate employment survey released yesterday showed.

Released by SkillsFuture Singapore, the findings focused on the employment outcomes of about 2,500 graduates across 30 PEIs who currently hold jobs or are actively looking for one after graduating between May 2019 and April last year."

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The future of engineering and architecture – where AI and design thinking converge (14 April 2021)

"Imagine this: You are a train driver. During one of your trips, you spot a dark figure on the tracks ahead. You immediately pull the brakes to prevent a potential accident. While this decision may seem simple to humans, it is not as intuitive for smart machines in autonomous systems.

For a smart system to make the appropriate response, it needs to be fed a tremendous amount of quality data in order for it to achieve a desired level of understanding and intelligence, and this is costly and time-consuming. But what about unforeseen or unpredictable events? With no available data for yet-to-happen occurrences, how can such systems learn what to do? That is where design thinking comes in. A good understanding of the user’s pain points led Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) graduates Aravind Kandiah and Charles Wong to create a synthetic data engine called Bifrost."

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My Story: 3 Questions With… Farhana M Noor (6 April 2021)

“My motto in life would be ‘Go jer’ (Malay colloquialism for ‘just go for it’),” says actress and emcee Farhana M Noor. “If you don’t try something out, you never know what you can do or how far you can go.”

Here, the media personality shares how a setback, ironically, put her on the path to a successful career. She talks about the ups and downs along the way and dealing with self-doubt.

Did you always want to be an actress?

Farhana: Not really. I was brought up in a traditional household where you are expected to sit for the O-Level, perhaps head to poly and then pursue further education in university.

But I did not do well in my studies and failed mathematics in the ‘O’ Level exams. I remember thinking “Die la” as my parents would not be happy.

I decided to apply for NAFA as I had taken some acting and modelling classes when I was younger. My teacher in primary school had encouraged me to take part in a school drama and that had got me interested in the theatre, which I pursued in primary and secondary school.

When I suggested this route after my O-Levels, my father was not happy, but my mother, though skeptical about acting as a career, asked me to give it a try.

I applied and was offered the Diploma in Acting. Following this, I pursued a Degree in Theatre Arts, also at NAFA."

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Little actions, big Earth-friendly benefits (6 April 2021)

"Science teacher and sustainability expert Mr Benny Koh’s car smelt of oranges for a week. Why? It was all part of his many efforts to get his students to understand that they could each play a part in saving our planet. Here, his story – from composting efforts to carting mounds of orange peels to tie-ups with bubble tea shops.

One weekend, Science teacher Mr Benny Koh found himself wheeling 200kg of orange peels to his car in a borrowed trolley. There were five huge packages of peels. When he had stuffed three in the boot and two on the floor of the passenger seat, his car actually sank by a few inches.

What would a Science teacher do with that many orange peels?

For Mr Koh, the answer is usually an eco-friendly one.

Thanks to this sustainability enthusiast, Nanyang Girls High School (NYGH), where he teaches, is full of green initiatives. Mr Koh was among this year’s recipients of the National Environment Agency’s 14th EcoFriend Awards.

Every classroom at NYGH has a recycling corner. As you walk around the school, you see green initiatives aplenty, from the solar panels on the roof to the recycling bins in the pantries and offices of the administrative block.

During recess, you will spot at least two in five students bringing their own lunchboxes. And the schools’ herb and spice garden is blooming thanks to fertiliser made from solid food waste from the canteen leftovers."

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127 messages, and counting? (7 April 2021)

"If you have a school-going child, you are likely in at least one, if not several, chat groups by now. Are these doing more harm than good, or are they a critical part of your child’s school journey? As kids get older, shouldn’t we as parents eventually let go? Mother-of-two Melissa Tan shares how it went for her.

127 unread messages. That was the number in that red oval on my WhatsApp when I woke up one particular morning. They had all arrived over the course of one night.

I tapped on the icon, and yes, it was all messages on my parent chat group. One mother had triggered this deluge by asking which topics would be covered in the upcoming exams. This sparked off a slew of messages from other parents all seemingly clueless and waiting for another parent to enlighten them.

How did I get here, I wondered, while my 13-year-old that this concerned slept on unaware?

When I joined my very first parent chat group eight years ago, I certainly did not expect to be constantly checking in to keep up with the multitude of messages, even for the simplest of things like which uniform to wear the next day.

Let’s start at the very beginning

When my son started Primary 1 in 2013, I was given the role of parent representative for his class. It was a great way to get to know the rest of the class parents and we all shared the same concerns and enthusiasm for our kids adapting to primary school.

We updated each other on the school happenings, homework, CCAs and even organised some gatherings outside of school. On chattier days, as many as 20 to 30 messages transpired, but daily, it was fewer than 10, sometimes even none. We would share photos of the kids when it was our turn to volunteer at school. Looking back, we had great camaraderie which could be attributed to our common goal to help our kids settle in and build a strong foundation."

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Taking a leaf from Blangah Rise Primary’s COVID-19 Diary (7 April 2021)

"As we look back on our fight against COVID-19, what moments of resilience stood out for you? The students and teachers of Blangah Rise Primary share their thoughts in “Here Comes The Storm Now: Our COVID-19 Diary”.

“As claps of thunder boom and streaks of lightning flash… the school stands tall, supporting its charges through it all…” wrote Primary 5 student, Aggie Chua. This was at the start of the Circuit Breaker a year ago. In her imagination, the COVID-19 pandemic was a storm, and the school a welcome shelter for her and her friends.

Aggie’s poem is published in a book by Blangah Rise Primary School to document the pandemic through the eyes of the school staff, students and their parents. Titled “Here Comes The Storm Now: Our COVID-19 Diary”, the book brings readers through the milestones of Singapore’s response to the pandemic. It charts a journey through the uncertain early days of DORSCON Orange, and the move to Full Home-Based Learning, through the cautious re-opening in Phase 1 and the resumption of more activities at the end of 2020.

Principal Mr Francis Foo, explained, “We started this as an online diary to encourage our school community to contribute their experiences, and stay connected with each other during the Circuit Breaker. As the stories came in, it became also a historical record of the unprecedented times we were going through.”

Yet the book is much more than just a timeline of events. The project captures the resilience and adaptability of the school community through photos, reflections and the artwork from the children. The book was distributed to all students to encourage them to appreciate the effort that went into overcoming the pandemic."

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The rubbish chute gets smart (12 April 2021)

"When Covid-19 disrupted their plans, these boys turned their attention elsewhere – to designing and rolling out a smart chute that would tell people how much rubbish and recyclables they were generating.

“Can I order one rubbish chute? Yes, that’s right, just one.”

Twenty-year-old Christopher Li could partly understand the confusion from the construction contractor at the other end of the line. After all, who goes shopping for a single rubbish chute?

And no, Christopher was not renovating his house but conducting an experiment. Along with a group of friends, he was trying to build a smart chute system that could track the amount of rubbish and recyclables deposited by individuals.

Their goal? To encourage waste reduction by providing people with data on how much they were throwing away or recycling at home.

Not a school project

The team first came together in May last year, when COVID-19 overturned their plans to travel before the start of their undergraduate studies.

Anthony Sukotjo rounded up three friends from his secondary school, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), to take part in a hackathon on environmental sustainability organised by Nanyang Technological University (NTU). The original team included Samuel Yeo, who was then still in National Service, Pradeep Mani Rathnam and Neo Yew Chong. Christopher, and a few others, would join a bit later."

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The road to being an entrepreneur (12 April 2021)

"We know it takes passion and resilience to be an entrepreneur. But what does that really mean? Edwin Low, the founder of a boutique Singaporean lifestyle brand, gives you an inside look through the twists and turns of his journey. By Tung Yon Heong.

Sometimes, you need a little jolt to remind you of your aim in life.

For Edwin Low, founder of boutique lifestyle brand Supermama, that moment came 12 years ago, when he was speaking to a group of students. He was then a lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic (SP)’s Experience and Product Design course.

“When I asked my students whether they wanted to open their own design businesses, all hands went up. But when I asked how many were willing to toil for years to achieve that dream, none of them raised their hands,” he says.

Edwin was taken aback by their response, but it dawned on him that he was doing the same – playing it safe.

“My dream had always been to open a design studio and business, but here I was playing it safe – with a comfortable job as a lecturer.”

“I felt I had to lead by example,” he says.

A year later in 2010, with renewed entrepreneurial spirit, Edwin plucked up the courage and took the plunge. He set up Supermama, a brand that sells locally- and Japanese-designed artisan products, such as porcelain.

It was a bet that paid off, he says. “We are currently a sustainable business with 4 full-timers and a retail outpost in Singapore and Tokyo,” says Edwin."

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Low scores led this gamer to hit the reset button (12 April 2021)

"If you’re worried about your child playing too many video games, read about Fadzuli Said, who turned his passion into his profession.

He shares how his love for gaming led to poor O-level scores, but also led him to excel in polytechnic, and eventually launch his own company.

You don’t expect the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of a company to be a mediocre student, but Fadzuli Said of mobile games studio Mighty Bear Games isn’t shy about sharing about his past failures.

“I was very studious during my early primary school years and did well for my PSLE. Then I got addicted to video gaming and my studies fell by the wayside. I believed I could cruise through,” he says. “I spent a significant portion of my secondary school life either playing Dungeons and Dragons or chess.”

When this led to poor O-Level results, Fadzuli decided to head straight for National Service (NS), which was the turning point in his life.

“I was a platoon sergeant in charge of 60 people. It made me realise that if I’m not control of my own life, I can’t be responsible for others. That gave me the drive to start afresh and improve myself,” he says.

Here, the 39-year old shares the three principles that helped to take him from dejected student to CTO of a company that has released three games. Along the way he’s chalked up stints at Carnegie Mellon University and Disney."

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Teaching students to make sense of what they read online (13 April 2021)

"Ms Mavis Ho empathises with parents trying to understand why their teenage children get upset after reading something online. The Cyber Wellness Coordinator for Pasir Ris Secondary shares how she helps her students find their own way through difficult topics.

As Cyber Wellness Coordinator for Pasir Ris Secondary School since 2014, Ms Mavis Ho leads in the planning, implementation and review of their Cyber Wellness programmes. She is also a Secondary 2 Form teacher, and thus has seen her share of students upset over things they encountered online.

Today, she says her students mostly get worked up over social or racial injustice they encounter on social media, as well as reports of doxing. While the specific events can be completely different, the steps Ms Ho takes to calm her students down remain similar.

Start a conversation

Ms Ho recalls how excited her Secondary 3 English class got when one of her students asked if anyone had read about the incident involving a private-hire driver and a female passenger.

The news had gone viral after the driver had uploaded a video recording showing the woman accusing him of trying to cheat her, when he could not avoid the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) gantries during the journey. Netizens were riled up by the way the woman asked: “Is it because I’m Chinese?” Her cultural insensitivity was a sticking point for Ms Ho’s students too.

Some of the students said they couldn’t believe the woman would say such a thing. One criticised her for bringing race into the issue.

Rather than tell the class what the right thing to do was, Ms Ho opened the discussion to the class."

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Getting healthy is a family affair (13 April 2021)

"How does a parent reinforce PE lessons at home, especially during a time when we try to stay home more often? Kelvin Tan writes about the “guerrilla warfare” they needed to wage on his kid’s sneakily expanding waistline.

The cabin fever induced by being stuck indoors had led me to pick up daily running and cycling for both physical and mental health reasons, and as a result, almost a year on, I’ve actually dropped close to 12 kilograms and reverted to a more healthy BMI.

Having said that, I only realised in recent months that while I had been trimming the waistline, I had also been derelict in my parental duties, and let my kid’s expand almost as quickly as mine was shrinking!

I immediately started doing an audit of his meals, and realised the problem – well, a few really. The first: we had become dependent on meal delivery services as a quick option for the family, and there weren’t many child-friendly options.

But that alone can’t account for his sudden chubbiness, I questioned. We went out for walks, and when Phase 2 kicked in, so did his swimming lessons and the usual physical activities he would partake in.

In school, it wasn't like he was a slouch either. They had different modules such as sports and games, dance, outdoor education and even high intensity interval training (HIIT) fitness sessions during physical education class time!

The answer came to me during a weekend when it was just him and me over a dinner of chicken rice.

It was a fairly large serving, and I had decided during ordering that it was pretty much enough for two. So, I got an extra plate, and had started moving chicken, rice, and boiled eggs from one plate to another, when suddenly I was interrupted by a plaintive wail."

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The small things do matter (13 April 2021)

"Kelvin Tan shares his struggles in teaching his son social niceties and why it matters to be polite to everyone (and look up from his handphone when he does it, darn it!)

I first noticed that there may be a problem, when, having moved to a new home early last year, I made an effort to get to know the rest of the service and security staff here. In the mornings as I walked past them going about their various duties, I’d nod, smile, and exchange niceties, as literally the new kid on the block.

My seven-year-old son did not.

In fact, he barely raised an eye, much less communicated any form of acknowledgement or recognition.

Having grown up in a household where I was taught to respect my elders and be courteous at all times, I admit this didn’t sit well with me, and most peaceful mornings were punctuated by me having to scold him for failing to say “Uncle” or “Aunty”, or respond to their “good mornings”, only to get half-hearted answers of “okay, I’ll do it next time”.

Despite my best short-tempered efforts, things hadn’t improved much after a month. Chatting with some fellow parents who had kids roughly around the same age group, I found I wasn’t alone. With the advent of digital devices, old-school norms of politeness and civility seem harder to enforce by old-school scoldings, the way our parents had drilled them into our heads.

I did ask him if they’re taught to observe the niceties in school, and he said generally it was expected for them to say “thank you” and “hello” to teachers, fellow students and canteen uncles and aunties. The trouble was getting him to observe the same behaviour outside school walls!"

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Release of 2020 Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level Examination Results on 19 February 2021 (10 February 2021)

"The results of the 2020 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) examination will be released on Friday, 19 February 2021, 2.30pm."

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Release of 2020 Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level Examination Results (19 February 2021)

"Candidates who sat for the 2020 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) examination received their results today."

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Nominations Open For Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award 2021 (22 February 2021)

"Students, Educators, Parents, and Members of the Public Are Invited to Nominate Outstanding Malay Language Teachers for the Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award (Agab) 2021. the Award Aims to Recognise Malay Language Teachers in Primary and Secondary Schools, Junior Colleges and Millennia Institute Who Have Made Significant Contributions to the Teaching and Learning of the Malay Language."

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Learn for Life - Equipping Ourselves for a Changing World: Supporting Singaporeans to Learn for Life (3 March 2021)

"The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of lifelong learning and pursuit of skills mastery, validating trends seen prior to the pandemic. To that end, the Government will continue to support Singaporeans to reskill and upskill, so that they remain employable and are able to seize new jobs and opportunities as we transform our economy."

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Learn for Life – Equipping Ourselves for a Changing World: Enhancing Teaching and Learning for Future-Ready Learners (3 March 2021)

"To prepare our students to thrive in an increasingly complex and dynamic environment, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will continue to strengthen support for students' mental well-being across the education system. To better equip our teachers in this effort to guide, inspire and bring out the best in every child, MOE will also strengthen professional development (PD) for teachers, including in Character and Citizenship Education (CCE)."

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Learn for Life - Equipping Ourselves for a Changing World: Multiple Pathways, New Opportunities (3 March 2021)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE) remains committed in ensuring that the education system provides our students with greater flexibility and opportunities to discover and develop their strengths and interests."

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Learn for Life - Equipping Ourselves for a Changing World: Education as an Uplifting Force to Strengthen Opportunities for All (3 March 2021)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE) is committed to supporting our students with the necessary educational resources and opportunities across all stages of their lives, regardless of their circumstances. In line with this, MOE will continue to invest more resources for students who need more help, and enhance inclusion for students with Special Educational Needs (SEN), in both mainstream and Special Education (SPED) schools, throughout their various stages of education. Through efforts under the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce (UPLIFT), we will also ensure that disadvantaged students are well-supported, to help them reach their full educational potential."

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Learn for Life - Equipping Ourselves for a Changing World: Nurturing Stewards of the Environment (4 March 2021)

"In line with the national sustainability agenda under the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will work with schools and education institutions to promote sustainable living, empower students to play their part for the environment, and strengthen our green efforts through the following ways:

a. Introduce an Eco Stewardship Programme (ESP);

b. Pilot sustainability features and related concepts in selected schools;

c. Champion public education on sustainability through the new Science Centre; and

d. Build on existing sustainability efforts by Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs)."

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COVID-19 Vaccination Exercise for Personnel in the Education Sector Commences (8 March 2021)

"Vaccination for personnel in the education sector will be progressively offered to over 150,000 personnel in educational institutions from Wednesday, 10 March 2021. This exercise is in line with the Ministry of Health's efforts to extend vaccination to personnel who offer essential services. It complements existing efforts to keep our educational institutions safe, as children and the majority of our students are not yet medically eligible for vaccination."

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Resumption of Selected Sports for National School Games 2021 (9 March 2021)

"Selected sports of the National School Games (NSG) will take place from 29 March to 27 May for the 'A', 'B' and 'Senior' Divisions. Organised by the Singapore Primary Schools Sports Council and the Singapore Schools Sports Council, the NSG provides opportunities for our students to participate in inter-school competitions, undergirded by the Councils' motto, 'Character in Sporting Excellence'."

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Keynote Address by Second Minister for Education Dr Maliki Osman, at the Institute of Public Relations of Singapore's 50th Jubilee Zoom event (12 March 2021)

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to join you on this very special occasion. It is no mean feat for a volunteer-led association to be able to celebrate half a century of achievements. This is especially so for a professional body that represents an important profession – that of Public Relations (PR) and Communications."

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Launch of Pre-School Chinese Language Storytelling Aids Publication (15 March 2021)

"The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL) has launched a publication on the use of creative and effective teaching aids to teach Chinese Language (CL). Compiled from the entries of finalists in the Pre-school Chinese Language Storytelling Aids Competition from 2018 to 2020, the publication aims to inspire our pre-school teachers on the approaches they can use to engage and excite our pre-schoolers to learn the language. Two copies of the publication will be distributed to all pre-school Anchor Operators and Partner Operators by May 2021."

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Free Continuing Education and Training Modules for Class of 2021 and 2020 (26 March 2021)

"The Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) will offer free Continuing Education and Training (CET) modules to the graduating Class of 2021 from April 2021. This builds on efforts by the Ministry of Education, SkillsFuture Singapore and the IHLs in 2020 to support fresh graduates in broadening their skillsets and accessing more opportunities across different sectors amidst the uncertain economic outlook. More than 16,000 graduates across the six Autonomous Universities (AUs) and 45,000 graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the polytechnics from the Class of 2021 can benefit from these free modules."

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Second Edition of 'EU at Your School': Strengthening EU-Singapore Partnership in the Face of Changing Global Environment (1 April 2021)

"Students aged 13 to 20 from 27 Singapore education institutions will be meeting with European Union (EU) representatives in the second edition of the 'EU at Your School' project (#EUatYourSchool), where they will learn more about the EU and its relations with Singapore. The project, which runs from 31 March to 28 May 2021, builds on positive feedback from the inaugural edition in 2019."

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"Xin Kong Xia 2021" Song Compilation Launch and Showcase (5 April 2021)

"The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL) has compiled 15 original songs into a special album titled "Xin Kong Xia 2021". The songs were composed by past student winners from the 2019 and 2020 editions of the National Schools Xinyao Singing and Songwriting Competitions, who were inspired by themes such as family, friendship, and love, as well as stories found in their Chinese textbooks."

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School Mergers (7 April 2021)

"Move to Ensure Students Enjoy a Vibrant Educational Experience

Declining birth rates, coupled with changing demographics in our housing estates, have led to falling enrolment in several of our schools, even as some areas experience rising demand for school places. To respond to these developments, MOE regularly reviews the need for school mergers or to build new schools in new housing estates. Such reviews are done to ensure that students across Singapore continue to enjoy a vibrant educational experience with a good range of educational programmes and co-curricular activities (CCAs)."

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Strengthening Learning of Mother Tongue Languages (9 April 2021)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be offering Higher Malay Language (HML) and Higher Tamil Language (HTL) to Primary 3 (P3) and Primary 4 (P4) students from 2022 and 2023 respectively. This will allow more students to deepen their knowledge and appreciation for these languages and their cultures from an early age."

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Where the Jobs Are: Not just a watchman — revitalised by tech, security sector now a bigger draw for youths (15 February 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Before he set foot in the security industry, Mr Irwin Shah was a prison counsellor for two years, interacting with and rehabilitating ex-convicts to ease them back into society.

While the job meant he could put his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Edith Cowan University in Australia to good use, the 33-year-old said that the long hours took a toll on him.

“I needed to find a job where I could be close to my family. Working there took up almost 16 hours of my day, and the amount of stress and pressure was not for someone who was very young,” he said."

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MOM probing 15 work pass holders linked to Indian private university that sold fake degrees (17 February 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Fifteen work pass holders in Singapore are being investigated after they had declared in their work pass applications that their educational qualifications came from a university that was recently exposed to have sold fake degrees, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday (Feb 17).

“If found to have falsely declared their educational qualifications, their work passes will be immediately revoked and they will be permanently barred from employment in Singapore,” MOM said in a media statement.

The Manav Bharti University is a private university in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, which was exposed earlier this month by local authorities for having sold around 36,000 fake degrees across India for a period of 11 years, according to reports."

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A-Level candidate took up part-time job to support family when father had stroke (19 February 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Three months before the A-Level examinations began, Jurong Pioneer Jurong College student Pearlyn Chen took up a part-time job doing administrative work at a tuition centre.

The reason: Her father, a private-hire car driver with Grab, was hospitalised after suffering a stroke.

“Money has always been a big struggle for my family,” Ms Chen said, deciding then to spend whatever spare time she had to help with her family’s finances. Her mother, who worked at a different tuition centre, objected but Ms Chen persisted."

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Where the Jobs Are: Shedding image of ‘shorts, boots, floppy hat’, farming sector a pull for youths as S'pore bolsters food security (22 February 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Since she was young, Ms Samantha Chin had always wanted to learn how to cook, so she devoured television cooking shows and took up culinary-related courses at polytechnic and university.

When she started working as a chef, Ms Chin, now 33, developed a new appetite — this time, to understand the origin of the food she was serving her customers.

“I knew the cooking techniques, but not about the produce itself, like where and how it was grown or how it should taste,” said Ms Chin."

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Gen Y Speaks: I was a conductor in opera houses around the world till Covid-19 hit. Now I deliver food in S'pore (28 February 2021)

"For several years, I worked as a conductor based in Russia, specialising in opera and ballet, and performing around the world, winning some accolades along the way.

Today, I am a food delivery rider for Foodpanda.

After finishing my national service, I won a scholarship in 2011 to study music in London before moving to Saint Petersburg in Russia with an FJ Benjamin-Singapore Symphony Orchestra bursary to complete my postgraduate studies in conducting in 2013."

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Parental consent for Covid-19 jabs not needed for Home Team NSFs under 21: MHA, MOH (2 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) in the Singapore Police Force and the Singapore Civil Defence Force do not need parental consent before receiving Covid-19 vaccine shots, two government ministries said.

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a joint statement on Monday (March 1) responding to TODAY’s queries regarding an incident of a mother receiving a call from a healthcare provider requesting her consent to carry on with the second dose of vaccination for her son, who is an NSF with the police.

The mother had written to the media, including The Straits Times’ forum, about the incident, asking why her consent had not been sought for the first dose."

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All primary schools to run programme for P1 pupils with social, behavioural difficulties by 2026 (3 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — A new programme that helps Primary 1 pupils with behavioural or social difficulties transition to the school environment will be rolled out to all primary schools by 2026, Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling announced on Wednesday (March 3).

Called the Transition Support for Integration (Transit) programme, it aims to help pupils develop independence by picking up foundational self-management skills based on their needs.

For instance, pupils will be guided on how to develop social and communication skills."

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From 2023, every preschool to have ‘inclusion coordinator’ to identify students who may have developmental needs (5 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — From the second half of 2023, every preschool in Singapore will have an "inclusion coordinator" to enhance inclusivity for children with developmental needs. This coordinator will help to identify students who may need screening for developmental issues and to work with parents.

The new role was announced by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Friday (March 5), alongside other initiatives to support preschool children with developmental needs.

Developmental needs can range from sensory issues such as vision or hearing loss to learning issues such as delays in language development."

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Student-led startup made cookies, held baking tutorial to spread cheer to migrant workers over Chinese New Year (6 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — When approached with the opportunity to bring cheer to migrant workers unable to return to their home countries over Chinese New Year, one student-led social enterprise rallied its 10-member team to bake 1,500 cookies to give to the workers.

The initiative was a proposal from one of the group’s partners, financial services firm Western Union, which came up with the idea of distributing Chinese New Year goodies to the migrant workers living in the recreation centres and dormitories.

The students behind Savour!, a youth-led tech social enterprise that aims to reduce food wastage and tackle food insecurity, then partnered with one of its beneficiaries Bakers Beyond to bake the cookies."

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Gen Y Speaks: I am a blind performing artist and I want to be more than that (7 March 2021)

"Being visually impaired since the age of four, I have experienced things that fuel my urgency to steer my community towards empowerment through inclusive practice.

I am a disabled artist, the first visually impaired person to be trained under the Lasalle College of the Arts’ diploma in performance programme.

Contrary to common generalisations of theatre performers — that we are extroverted, dramatic and loud — I am a quiet and awkward girl who recoils from blatant attention."

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They sell tissue-paper packs out of need. Yale-NUS students now striving to make them a ‘visible community’ (13 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — When a group of six students from Yale-NUS College realised that there did not seem to be any charity or non-governmental organisation specifically focused on looking after the well-being of peddlers who sell tissue-paper packs, they decided to do something themselves.

Founded in October 2019, members of the initiative — called The Signpost Project — have been walking around the Clementi and Jurong East area talking to such peddlers to find out about their needs.

They typically befriend these peddlers before asking them about the difficulties they have in day-to-day living."

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43 Temasek Junior College staff members fell ill after consuming food prepared by Chilli Api; 8 hospitalised (15 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — A total of 43 Temasek Junior College (TJC) staff members fell ill with gastroenteritis symptoms after consuming food prepared by Chilli Api Catering on March 12, the school said on Monday (March 15).

Eight of them are currently hospitalised and are in stable condition, principal Low Ay Nar said.

The caterer was ordered to suspend operations from Sunday after 82 people — including the 43 from TJC — fell ill with gastroenteritis symptoms."

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Living with gender dysphoria: Transgender youths face stigma and inadequate institutional support (20 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Even though information about transgender issues has proliferated across the internet and become more accessible, people in Singapore who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria still find it difficult to find resources here and get adequate medical treatment and acceptance, experts and transgender youth said.

Gender dysphoria refers to the psychological discomfort or distress experienced by an individual who believes that there is a mismatch between his or her sex and his or her gender identity.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that support transgender people told TODAY that gaps still remain, even though healthcare accessibility has improved over the years. Many healthcare professionals still lack the knowledge to treat transgender people, and public information about the resources available remain scarce and inaccessible, they said."

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Gen Y Speaks: When my childhood willpower deserted me, I ‘nudged’ my way to better health (21 March 2021)

"My family moved from India to Malaysia when I was a kid. Living in Johor Baru, my twice-daily school commute involved a two-hour journey crossing the border into Singapore and back.

When traffic piled up on the Causeway, this stretched to three hours.

I became so comfortable doing my homework while travelling that you could put me on the bumpiest bus and hand me a pen, and even today, I’d be able to turn out impeccable handwriting."

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Ngee Ann Polytechnic, police investigating urinating incident; school says it's not part of orientation activities (23 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — Ngee Ann Polytechnic and the police are investigating an incident where students were captured on video taking turns to urinate on others in what is believed to be a bathroom on campus.

The polytechnic told TODAY on Tuesday (March 23) that the incident did not take place during its freshman orientation programme or as part of preparations for the programme.

It has identified the students in the video and none of them are freshmen."

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Gen Y Speaks: My mum's struggle with tech inspired me to start a digital literacy campaign for seniors (28 March 2021)

"My housewife mum is 63 years old and comes from a time when physical interactions and a landline were the only things she needed to communicate.

There were times when my mum attempted to embrace the digital world. I remember her asking how to use the voice message function on WhatsApp.

It seemed easy to a digital native like me, but it was a mountainous task to her. Eventually my mum would give up on learning new technology altogether."

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NUS law professor relinquishes faculty dean role for ‘medical reasons’ 2 weeks after appointment (31 March 2021)

"SINGAPORE — The law professor who was due to take over as dean of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Faculty of Law in July has relinquished the role for medical reasons just two weeks after his appointment was announced.

Professor Hans Tjio, 55, who was slated to have taken over from Professor Simon Chesterman, 48, as the faculty’s 15th dean, will continue in his other roles at the university, NUS said in a media release on Wednesday (March 31).

The university initially said Prof Tjio was stepping down for "personal reasons", but a few hours later updated its statement to say that he was making the move for medical reasons instead."

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Support from peers can help reduce risk of depression, anxiety in new mothers: NUS study (12 April 2021)

"SINGAPORE — New mothers at risk of depression after childbirth, known as postpartum depression, need more than just support from friends and immediate family members, and can benefit from having a third-party outsider to listen to their worries and frustrations.

These were the findings of a recent study conducted by the National University of Singapore Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies, which looked at how Singaporean mothers at risk of postpartum depression can benefit from receiving emotional support from fellow mums.

The study, which was conducted between 2018 and 2020 and observed outcomes in 138 mothers, found that the new mothers who received peer support through text messages had a 20 per cent reduced risk of developing postpartum depression."

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