Will you recognise the signs if your 10-year-old is troubled? (26 February 2024)

“Last time I went for counselling because of my self-harm... when I came back, (my parents) were pretty upset and scolded me.”

These were the words of a 12-year-old child sharing his experience with Tinkle Friend, a national toll-free helpline and chatline for primary school children in "

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Vacation caution: How to protect your teen from cannabis while overseas (26 February 2024)

"Cannabis may have been legalised for medical and recreational uses in some countries, leading some youth to think that it is a “soft” drug that is not harmful or addictive.

But here is the hard truth: there is no such thing as a “soft” drug. Or a harmless one."

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askST: How can my child improve his job prospects in a disruptive future? (26 February 2024)

"Q: My son wants to study a specialised programme, but I worry that it's too niche. How can universities prepare students for the wider job market?

A: In today’s rapidly evolving job landscape, graduates need to have diverse, flexible skill sets, and be able to effectively apply them, says Professor Ling San, deputy president and provost at Nanyang Technological University (NTU)."

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Two months’ jail for instructor after pupil falls 4 storeys from flying fox, suffers fractures (26 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE – An outdoor activity instructor has been handed a jail sentence of two months for failing to ensure that a Primary 4 pupil was securely attached to a pulley during a zipline exercise.

The girl suffered fractures to her elbow, hip and pelvis as a result of falling four storeys, or 11m, during the incident at Concord Primary School on Feb 12, 2020."

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APSN breaks ground on new Ang Mo Kio campus for 2 special education schools (27 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Social service agency APSN marked a milestone on Feb 27 with a ground-breaking ceremony for a new campus that will house students from two special education schools.

The event was held at the new site at 8 Ang Mo Kio Street 54, where the two schools – APSN Chaoyang School and APSN Tanglin School – will be located. The campus is expected to be ready by 2026."

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APSN breaks ground on new Ang Mo Kio campus for 2 special education schools (27 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Social service agency APSN marked a milestone on Feb 27 with a ground-breaking ceremony for a new campus that will house students from two special education schools.

The event was held at the new site at 8 Ang Mo Kio Street 54, where the two schools – APSN Chaoyang School and APSN Tanglin School – will be located. The campus is expected to be ready by 2026."

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Teachers need more support to tackle student mental health issues (28 February 2024)

"The rising rates of mental health issues among youth are deeply concerning.

A National Population Health Survey revealed an increase in poor mental health from 13.4 per cent in 2020 to 17 per cent in 2022. The most affected group was young adults aged 19 to 29, with a staggering 25.3 per cent experiencing issues. Another study from the National University of Singapore found that one in three adolescents in Singapore experiences symptoms of depression and anxiety."

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More mature students going to ITE for part-time studies (28 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE - The number of mature learners aged 31 and above studying part-time at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) has gone up.

Currently, there are about 53 per cent of such students in part-time higher Nitec and Nitec courses at ITE, up from 34 per cent in 2019."

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SMU graduates continue to enjoy strong employment, good starting salaries (28 February 2024)

"Singapore – Singapore Management University’s (SMU) class of 2023 registered healthy and stable overall employment, with 92.3 per cent of graduates employed and getting good starting salaries.

Results of the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey, released on Feb 22, also showed that 68.4 per cent of this employed group were offered full-time permanent jobs before graduation, while the rest found their jobs within six months of completing the final exams."

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Ex-Kinderland teacher accused of ill-treating girl handed 5 more charges involving 3 other children (28 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE - A former Kinderland pre-school teacher accused of ill-treating a 23-month-old girl was on Feb 28 handed five additional charges involving three more children.

Lin Min, 34, was charged with three counts each of ill-treating a child and two counts of using criminal force on another person."

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Boy, 3, allegedly locked in dark room and shouted at by pre-school teachers; police investigating (28 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE - A three-year-old boy enrolled in a pre-school in the north-east was allegedly locked in a dark room and hit, pinched and screamed at by his teachers on more than one occasion, The Straits Times has learnt.

The boy’s mother said she lodged a police report – seen by ST – on Feb 26. She added that the boy had been attending the pre-school for more than a year, but it was only in January 2024 that she noticed the child was becoming more and more afraid of going to school."

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NUS assistant professor charged with cannabis consumption and other offences (29 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE – A National University of Singapore (NUS) assistant professor has been charged with cannabis consumption and other drug-related offences.

Jevdic Dorde, 39, who is from the School of Computing’s Department of Computer Science, is accused of one count each of drug consumption and possession of a vape device containing a cannabinol derivative."

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More support for mid-career workers, ITE grads as part of Govt’s $300k lifetime investment (1 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Many Singaporeans worry that the system gives them only one shot at success, and that their future is set in stone after their first 15 years of schooling.

The reality is that there is a lifetime to find one’s purpose and calling, and to pursue them in different seasons of life, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on March 1, as he outlined the Government’s efforts to invest more in individuals through a lifetime journey of education and upskilling."

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Secondary school students to have one common national exam period from 2027 (1 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE - This year’s Secondary 1 students will be the first to sit their national examinations under one common timetable in 2027.

They will sit the new Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examinations in 2027 instead of O- and N-level examinations, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on March 1 in Parliament."

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Malay-Muslim youth from Bedok express their concerns post-Budget 2024 (2 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE - From questions on the recent goods and services tax (GST) increase to the impact of artificial intelligence transforming the job landscape, about 80 Malay-Muslim young people raised their concerns at a dialogue held at Siglap Community Club on March 2.

Others asked if the 2024 Budget is able to address underlying social issues surrounding some families and youth at risk."

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Minor Issues: When mum and dad don’t see eye to eye (3 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – My eight-year-old daughter dropped her new stainless-steel water bottle twice at home in the first month she got it, so my husband insisted she use a cup at home to not wreck the bottle.

I disagreed, as I felt the bottle, which has a cap, is more hygienic, especially if left out overnight. Furthermore, she enjoyed using the bottle and would drink from it frequently."

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Fun With Kids: Free workshops at Children’s Biodiversity Library, travel scrapbook (3 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Make family time all the more special with these ideas and activities.

Children’s Biodiversity Library

Interact with divers and aquarists, discover marine life and join upcycling sessions. These are some free programmes offered at the Children’s Biodiversity Library by S.E.A. Aquarium."

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Parents are highly involved in their adult children’s lives, and fine with it (3 March 2024)

"NEW YORK – American parenting has become more involved – requiring more time, money and mental energy – not just when children are young, but well into adulthood..

The popular conception has been that this must be detrimental to children – with snowplough parents clearing obstacles and ending up with adult children who have failed to launch, still dependent on them."

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Through train: 2 integrated programmes that let students skip the O levels and go to a polytechnic (3 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Secondary 4 student Ng Kian Ping from the School of Science and Technology (SST) will be building a toy for children with special needs while his schoolmates are revising for their O-level examinations later in 2024.

The 15-year-old, who loves physics, mathematics and computing, is among the first batch of 50 students from the school who will get to skip the O levels and go on to Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) for a diploma in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) fields."

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Former Raffles Institution headmaster Eugene Wijeysingha dies at 90 (3 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE - Former educator and headmaster of Raffles Institution (RI) Eugene Wijeysingha died on March 2, at the age of 90.

The school announced Mr Wijeysingha’s death in a Facebook post on March 2."

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Singapore takes nuclear safety research to the next level (3 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE - In a signal that Singapore could be serious about harnessing nuclear as a clean energy source, more resources are being pumped into nuclear technology and safety research, and training the best minds in the field.

A new multi-million dollar research building at the National University of Singapore will house about 100 researchers looking at everything from the latest in small modular reactors, which can be scaled up like Lego bricks, to how radioactive materials can disperse if there is an accident."

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Should universities use AI to select students? (3 March 2024)

"In this third of a four-part series, Sandra Davie talks to Singapore Management University provost Timothy Clark about how artificial intelligence will impact higher education.

The Singapore Management University (SMU), which was the first university in Singapore to introduce personal statements for undergraduate admissions in 2000, will be doing away with them in 2024 because of ChatGPT.

Students who are applying for places in 2024 are being asked to give short responses to four questions, such as why they want to join the university that enrolled more than 2,500 first-year undergraduate students in 2023, the largest incoming cohort in SMU’s history."

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A boost for special education: Higher salaries for teachers, lower fees for students (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE - Special education (Sped) teachers will receive higher salaries in the next few years, as part of broader moves to raise the quality of education in the sector and strengthen support for students with special needs.

Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said that between 2024 and 2026, Sped classroom teachers can receive salary increases of up to 12 per cent, while teacher aides can receive increases of up to 15 per cent."

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Skills upgrading, special education among 8 key announcements from MOE’s budget (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE - A wide range of measures covering skills upgrading, special education and arts appreciation were announced in Parliament on March 4.

They were unveiled during the second day of the debate on the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) budget."

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Israel-Hamas lessons to be further customised by age group, teachers to get more support: Chan Chun Sing (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lesson on the Israel-Hamas conflict will be better scoped for students of different age groups, while teachers will get additional support in delivering the lesson, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on March 4.

Speaking during the debate on his ministry’s budget, Mr Chan reiterated that CCE is an integral part of the education provided to Singapore students, given the difficulty of building a national identity when its multiracial and multi-religious society is subject to civilisational and religious forces."

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Some see the need, some feel unprepared: S’pore teachers navigate Gaza war in classrooms (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – Secondary school teacher Rachel Tan (not her real name) stepped into her classroom on Feb 28 with some apprehension – she was about to teach a class on the war in Gaza and felt ill-equipped for the questions that might come from her students.

The science teacher in her early 20s had attended two 45-minute sessions in early February with her school’s Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) head of department to prepare for the lesson, but still did not feel confident. "

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School camp cut short after 26 Northbrooks Secondary students and a teacher get stomach flu (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – A three-day camp for all Secondary 1 students from Northbrooks Secondary School in Yishun was cut short on Feb 29 when 26 students and a teacher fell ill after eating food provided at the camp.

As at March 1, 27 people from the school in Yishun were reported to have developed gastroenteritis, the Singapore Food Agency and Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a joint reply to The Straits Times’ queries on March 4."

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NUS science historian tracks origins and evolution of Charles Darwin’s library (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE – An infamous book called Das Kapital by German philosopher Karl Marx and conspiracy theories linked to the lost city of Atlantis were among 13,000 tomes and publications that the father of evolution Charles Darwin kept in his personal library.

He did not just fixate on science and biology, but also had interests in farming, artwork and caricatures of himself.

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Starting Primary 1 on a good note (4 January 2024)

Do you remember what your child’s first day of school as a Primary 1 student was like?

By Lim Jun Kang

At Waterway Primary School, their newest members had the whole school to themselves, as part of MOE’s arrangements to help younger students ease into their new environment on the first school day.

The teachers dedicated more support to helping the young ones settle in, and also worked more closely with parents to start the year off on a positive note.

As the students were playing ice-breaker games and making new friends, parents were tasked to pen letters of encouragement to their child. Many wrote about how proud they were, and shared their hopes for their child embarking on his/her primary school journey."

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In this school’s green sanctuary, a sense of community blooms (11 January 2024)

How do you turn a patch of grass into the heart of a school? At Tampines Secondary School, a Geography and Maths teacher together with the CCE team carved out a green sanctuary, where teachers and students got more than just their fill of nature.

By Sabrina Lee

The name Tampines has its roots in the Tempinis trees that once thrived in its soil. When Mrs Preeti Sheri joined Tampines Secondary School in 2016, the school’s name sparked an idea.

“Every school has a certain way of creating memories,” says the Head of Department for Character and Citizenship Education (CCE). “As a Geographer, I wanted to turn the school’s green spaces into lush gardens bustling with biodiversity.”

Instead of having a pre-defined idea of how an eco-garden should look like, Mrs Sheri says that the process of cultivating the school’s green spaces was more nuanced: “We shared with staff and school leaders that a seemingly ‘unstructured’ garden is intentional. It serves as a lesson for our students, teaching them to appreciate the organic and natural elements of life.”

In those early days, only a handful of trees adorned the school grounds."

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How our school experiences helped us decide on what’s next (18 January 2024)

What’s next after O-Levels? Three graduates from Yuan Ching Secondary School tell us what their next steps might look like. One thing is certain – they all want to pursue a path aligned with their passions and interests.

By Lim Jun Kang

“I am already certain what I want to do, so why not just go straight into the course?"

Chong Shao Li, who graduated from Secondary 5 and successfully applied for Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Accountancy course through the Early Admissions Exercise, recalls her Principles of Accounts teacher Mdm Koh Jie Ying sharing personal stories and experiences from her past career as an auditor.

“She told us that accountancy is not just about numbers, but about personal responsibility to not make errors,” Shao Li says. “That made me more interested in the field, and more certain about my choice, as I wanted to do something meaningful.”

“I’m lucky to be able to take part in many school competitions, and I am able to find out what I am truly interested in, not just based on the grades in my report book.”

Zhou Zi Tao, who is keen to pursue a career in media, says his interest first started when Zi Tao’s social studies teacher Mr Fahmy encouraged him to participate in the Singapore Model United Nations team representing the school in Secondary 3. His role in the Press Corp sparked his curiosity for media work."

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Dinosaur chases and baking in Maths: It’s all about developing 21st Century Competencies (18 January 2024)

If heard about 21CC but are not sure about what it means or how it could be taught, hear from proponent Mrs Constance Loke, Principal, Zhenghua Primary School. She tells us how she is empowering students – think no-timetable days, self-assessment tools and open-ended projects – and in the process, preparing them for a volatile world.

By Sabrina Lee

Lessons at Zhenghua Primary School don’t follow an expected script. In a recent English language lesson about noun phrases, the class was turned into an ‘escape from Jurassic Park’ experience, complete with virtual dinosaurs attacking a jeep, an indoor sandpit concealing toy dinosaurs, and teachers acting as park rangers.

As their English Language teacher, Mdm Tay Jia Lin, exhorted students to “… think fast, work together, every decision counts to determine your escape,” students sprang into action, excitedly, working in teams to complete their tasks. Along the way, they solved puzzles, helped one another trouble-shoot problems with their VR goggles, and even came up with new ways to describe the prehistoric beasts, as having “loud, raspy breathing,” and “cold, slit-shaped eyes”.

The students learnt their noun phrases, but they also learnt a lot more – skills such as communication, collaboration, problem-solving, among others, all key 21st Century Competencies (21CC) that hold a special place in Principal Constance Loke’s heart.

“21CC is about readying our students for the future,” says Mrs Loke. We want our students to feel confident, be curious, ask questions, and take charge of their learning.”

When Mrs Loke came to Zhenghua Primary in 2019, she saw that the students were well behaved, but they would wait for the teachers to tell them what to do.

“We wanted to increase the student voice and agency, and student leadership, and get them to take initiative.” The aim, she says, is to ready students for what lies ahead. “The world is unpredictable. The only way to prepare our students for the future is to equip them with transferable skills that are important for life and work, while grounding them in values.”

This approach means that 21CC is a key consideration for teachers at Zhenghua Primary when designing students’ learning experiences, whether it is the academic subjects, the Applied Learning Programme or CCA."

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5 skills I learn from gaming that I apply in school (30 January 2024)

Is gaming just for fun or can it be a tool for learning? Ngee Ann Polytechnic student Matthias Lim assures (his parents) that the hours spent on different games develops useful skills that improve the way he learns.

By Matthias Lim

We all learn in different ways and as an avid fan of video games, I can confidently say that gaming and gamification have greatly contributed to my learning both in and out of school.

Playing across different categories of games also cultivates different skills in me. Here are some common genres of games:

• Puzzle games (e.g. Portal, Escape Simulator)

• Strategy games (e.g. chess, Risk)

• Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games (e.g. League of Legends, Counterstrike)

• Sandbox games (e.g. Minecraft, Roblox).

Each game genre develops abilities that may not be obvious (especially not to my parents) till they are put to the test."

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How children with dyslexia are conquering the written word in school (30 January 2024)

How can primary schools support your child if he or she struggles with reading and spelling? In the first instalment of our series on the School-based Dyslexia Remediation (SDR) programme, Schoolbag learns how the programme improves literacy skills of students with dyslexia.

In a bustling classroom in Punggol View Primary School, young Shermaine Mun faced a silent struggle. Letters danced, mocking her attempts to read and write. As she struggled to sound out long words during the English lesson, Mrs Joyce Ng, Senior Teacher for English, sensed her student’s frustration.

Approaching the girl with a smile, Mrs Ng reassured her. “It’s okay, Shermaine. Dyslexia makes reading a bit tricky, but by applying the strategies taught and with repeated practice, we will improve in our reading.”

Shermaine sighed, doubtful. “But others find it easy.” Mrs Ng nodded, then pointed out. “Think of learning like advancing through a game – it takes time to master the skills at each level to move forward.”

And that was how Mrs Ng, who was also a School-based Dyslexia Remediation (SDR) teacher, helped Shermaine find a way to make sense of the written word.

After school, Mrs Ng used tools such as interactive posters and student cards to guide Shermaine to read. They illustrated how to apply reading strategies step-by-step, which Shermaine diligently referred to while she practised reading.

Each time Shermaine sounded out a word correctly, her face would light up. Armed with strategies that she learnt from Mrs Ng, Shermaine not only improved her reading skills, but she also discovered a love for reading and renewed confidence in herself."

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Game on at the National School Games (7 February 2024)

As the cauldron is set ablaze, the National School Games 2024 kicks off. The stage is set for more than 65,000 student-athletes to represent their schools across 29 sports. Let’s meet some of them at the opening ceremony.

By Arielene Wee

The National School Games (NSG) 2024 kicked off on 30 January 2024, with more than 65,000 student-athletes representing their schools across 29 sports.

A new Pool and League competition format has been introduced this year, providing more playing opportunities for student-athletes. In several team sports such as badminton, football and hockey, student-athletes will play at least six matches - compared to the traditional competition format where they could be eliminated after the first round of competition. This allows teams of comparable abilities to play in the same pool, and provides a positive competitive and learning experience for participating student-athletes.

Punggol Green Primary School’s badminton athlete Koh Jun Chen Nicholas Junior is excited about the new format. “We get more exposure, and it lets us have a more fun time during the competition with more chances to play,” says the Primary 6 student."

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Meet the Student Welfare Officers who ‘remove barriers’ for those who find it hard to attend school (20 February 2024)

Students who come from difficult backgrounds may need more help to thrive at school. SWOs help to spot those at risk and connect them with the right support, so they’re back at school. Schoolbag takes an inside look at the impact of this group of MOE officers, how they reduce absenteeism, and how they reach out to students and families in need.

By Lim Jun Kang

A typical morning for Student Welfare Officer (SWO) Ng Yi Jie involves monitoring student attendance for the day.

It sounds simple enough but she takes the duty seriously.

What may look like a minor issue, of a child not showing up for school for a day, could be the tip of an iceberg, says the SWO at Zhangde Primary School.

“We can’t just say it’s fine because it’s only one or two days,” says Ms Ng. “We want to prevent these ‘one-off’ incidents from escalating into something more serious.”

She works with class teachers and Year Heads to better understand the student’s situation. If there are hints of deeper issues, and a phone call to the parents isn’t enough, the school’s Home Visit Squad is activated. A name coined by the school, the Squad comprises school leaders, Head of Departments, school counsellors, and Ms Ng. They conduct home visits in small groups to ensure the student’s well-being, and to stem any potential slide into long-term absenteeism."

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Total Defence Day: Are our students ready for national disruptions? (22 February 2024)

Our schools were part of over 500 organisations that participated in Exercise SG Ready, Singapore’s first island-wide Total Defence exercise. Students went through simulated shortages of food, power and water. Let’s hear more about their experiences.

By Arielene Wee

Schools across the country commemorated 40 years of Total Defence Day on 15 and 16 February 2024 by participating in the inaugural Exercise SG Ready, which simulated disruptions of food, power and water supply.

These disruptions, which could stem from various sources like cyberattacks, geopolitical tensions or even natural disasters, relay the importance of our six pillars of Total Defence: Military, Civil, Economic, Social, Digital and Psychological Defence.

Our schools were part of over 500 organisations that participated in Exercise SG Ready, Singapore’s first island-wide Total Defence exercise. Held between 15-29 February 2024, the full exercise, known in short as TD40, also simulated disruptions such as disinformation campaigns, phishing, and drone attacks.

This year’s campaign, “Together We Keep Singapore Strong”, emphasises the many ways that Singaporeans can put Total Defence into action in our everyday lives."

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Open for Nominations: Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award 2024 (2 February 2024)

"From 2 February to 1 April 2024, 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) 2024."

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Release of 2023 Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level Examination Results on 23 February 2024 (16 February 2024)

"The results of the 2023 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) examination will be released on Friday, 23 February 2024, 2.30pm."

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All Schools to Benefit from Increased Capacity at New Outdoor Adventure Learning Centres (23 February 2024)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be consolidating eight outdoor adventure education sites to four locations, which will allow all schools to conduct upper primary and lower secondary cohort camps at these sites. Together, these four locations are projected to fully meet the camping needs of some 100,000 students participating in cohort camps and uniformed group programmes each year, from 2032 onwards."

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Release of the 2023 Singapore-Cambridge GCE A-Level Examination Results (23 February 2024)

"Candidates who sat for the 2023 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE A-Level) examination received their results from their schools today."

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MOE's Response to Queries on CCE Lessons on the Israel-Hamas Conflict (23 February 2024)

"The Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) curriculum supports the holistic development of our students, including the development of their values, social-emotional well-being, and citizenship dispositions. CCE lessons include discussions on a range of contemporary issues such as mental wellbeing, casual racism, as well as global events like the Russia-Ukraine War and the Israel-Hamas conflict."

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Infosheet 1: ITE Progression Award (4 March 2024)

"The ITE Progression Award (IPA) supports ITE graduates to upskill to a diploma earlier in their careers, to secure more progression prospects in their chosen professions."

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Infosheet 2: Full SBB-related changes on SEC examination timetable, Polytechnic Year 1 admission criteria (4 March 2024)

"Changes to Singapore-Cambridge Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) examination table

Please refer to Figure A for the comparison between the current GCE N(T)/N(A) and O-Level examination timetable, and SEC examination timetable which will be implemented from 2027."

LINK



Infosheet 3: Enhancements to SPED sector (4 March 2024)

"Enhancing Affordability and Quality of Special Education (SPED)

To reduce out-of-pocket expenses for families with children with Special Educational Needs (SEN), MOE will work closely with Social Service Agencies (SSAs) to lower monthly fees in nine SPED schools serving students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Multiple Disabilities (MD) charging higher fees by mid-2025. "

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Future of Learning: Empowering Contributors to Build a Better Tomorrow (4 March 2024)

"At this year's Committee of Supply debate, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced measures to deepen the culture of lifelong learning in Singapore, develop students holistically to maximise their potential, and support learners with different learning needs."

LINK



New SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme to Boost Mid-Career Upskilling and Reskilling (4 March 2024)

"The Ministry of Education (MOE), together with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), will jointly introduce the SkillsFuture Level-Up Programme (SFLP) to better support mid-career Singaporeans, aged 40 and above, in the pursuit of a substantive skills reboot."

LINK







The Big Read: No more an inferior option, polytechnics have come a long way. What's needed to take them up another level? (3 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — With a six-point score for his O-Level examination, Mr Matthew Neo had a key to most tertiary educational institutes — so he headed to Republic Polytechnic (RP) to pursue a diploma in sonic arts.

While he could have gone to a top junior college (JC), few batted an eyelid at Mr Neo’s school of choice.

Now 19, the second-year student told TODAY: “I am interested in working in audio, and the course is exclusive to RP."

LINK



NTU imposes fee on tourists amid influx to university campuses that students say is 'disrupting classes, crowding canteens' (5 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Two top universities here are paying the price of success as foreign tourists flock to see their campuses, causing disruptions to students. One of them, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), has just imposed a fee to manage the influx of curious sightseers.

In recent weeks, students from both NTU and the National University of Singapore (NUS) have used online forum Reddit to air their grievances over inconveniences they feel tourists have caused.

Chief among them are long winding queues at canteens during lunch hours, loud voices echoing throughout common study spaces causing distractions, and road jams caused by tour buses picking up, dropping off and waiting for tourists."

LINK



Annual mental health checks, easing parental consent rules: 5 suggestions by MPs to enhance youths' well-being (6 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Could young people aged 14 to 18 seek some mental health treatments without parental consent? This was among the suggestions on how to enhance youth mental health made by several Members of Parliament (MP) on Tuesday (Feb 6).

They raised their ideas during a debate on a motion tabled by five People's Action Party MPs from the Government Parliamentary Committee on Health, led by Dr Wan Rizal, MP for Jalan Besar Group Representation Constituency (GRC).

Seven MPs are part of the committee."

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MOE will investigate any allegations of unfair practices in direct school admission exercise: Chan Chun Sing (7 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Education (MOE) will thoroughly investigate any allegations of unfair practices in the direct school admission (DSA) exercise, said Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing on Wednesday (Feb 7).

Over the past five years, there has been an average of seven sets of parents per year questioning the outcome of their child’s DSA selection, he added, responding to a question from Member of Parliament Jamus Lim (WP-Sengkang) about unfair practices in the DSA process.

“Based on MOE’s review of each case, we have found the schools to have conducted their selection processes rigorously, objectively and professionally,” said the Education Minister."

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'Behave, or I'll call the police!': Kids told 'instrumental lies' more likely to lie to parents, NTU study finds (7 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Parents who lie to their children to make them better behaved may indirectly encourage their young ones to lie as well, a new study has found.

Results from the study — done by psychology researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) — suggest that the more children are told such "instrumental lies", the more likely they are to lie to their parents.

This happens regardless of whether the children knew the parents were lying to them, the university said in a news release on Wednesday (Feb 7)."

LINK



Teachers should guide students and 'be there for them' if they face problems, not just teach: Maliki (7 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — If a student approaches a teacher with personal problems, the teacher shouldn't say: "Sorry, it is not my work because I only need to teach you", as it is their job to guide students through their education journey holistically, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said.

Dr Maliki outlined this expectation of the nation's teachers in Parliament on Wednesday (Feb 7) in an exchange with Mr Louis Ng on teachers' workloads.

Mr Ng, a Member of Parliament for Nee Soon Group Representation Constituency, had asked for results on the Education Ministry’s most recent review of teachers’ workloads."

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S'pore 'redoubling efforts' to better understand mental health issues youths face, says DPM Wong (7 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Singapore is seeing a surge in mental health issues among the young, and the Government is taking the matter "very seriously” and "redoubling efforts" to understand this phenomenon, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said.

To better tackle the root causes of poorer mental health among the youth, Singapore is working with researchers around the world to study the causes of this "worrying trend", he added.

Rising as the first political office holder to speak on Wednesday (Feb 7) in response to a parliamentary motion on advancing mental health, he noted that this trend of poorer mental health is also seen in other countries and researchers believe that this is linked to two factors."

LINK



Hot Take: To fee or not to fee — what's missing in debate on how NTU, NUS should deal with tourist crowds (8 February 2024)

"On Feb 5, TODAY reported that of late, tourists have been flooding the grounds of — nope, not Gardens by the Bay, nor the Singapore Zoo — local universities Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the National University of Singapore (NUS).

Why all the fuss?

Much like Chinatown and Little India, NTU and NUS have long been identifying pillars of the Singapore persona. However, rather less like Chinatown and Little India, few would cite NTU and NUS as a top tourist destination in our city-state."

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NUS to offer free, student-led guided walking tours for tourists to manage visitor traffic on campus (9 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Addressing complaints about long queues for food and shuttle bus services caused by tourists visiting the National University of Singapore (NUS) campus, the university will be introducing a pop-up visitor centre and “guided walk” programme for visiting tour groups, it said on Friday (Feb 9).

The initiative is aimed at helping to manage and regulate visitor traffic on campus and will be free of charge for tourists, said NUS in a statement.

NUS said such walking tours will be curated to help visitors “understand our rich heritage and campus life” and will be led by trained student guides, given that they are "best placed to share first-hand experiences and perspectives”."

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Gen Zen: How to spot 'energy vampires' and avoid getting sucked into conversations with them during Chinese New Year (10 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — During a recent conversation with a close friend I've known for more than 18 years, she suddenly said: "It is so nice to talk to someone who does not drain the energy out of me."

The comment caught me a little off-guard since I did not know if it was meant as a compliment or not as we were just having a normal chat.

Seeing my reaction, she laughed and explained that it had been exhausting conversing with another friend of hers who was like an "energy vampire" because she always wanted the conversation to focus on her."

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1 in 5 youths experienced bullying in online games, but small minority tell their parents about it: MCI survey (13 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — About one in five (17 per cent) youths aged 13 to 18 who play online video games have experienced in-game bullying from other players, a recent survey by the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) found.

Yet, close to half (48 per cent) of those who had experienced in-game bullying did not take any action. Only a minority (8 per cent) spoke to their parents about the experience.

The findings, which were released by MCI on Tuesday (Feb 13), came from a door-to-door survey conducted between October 2022 and February 2023. The ministry said the study was designed to better understand youths’ gaming habits and their parents’ awareness and efforts to manage the impact of gaming on their child’s well-being."

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New online mental health forum inspired by Reddit offers 'safe space' for youths to seek advice, professional help (15 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A digital mental health forum, inspired by online discussion site Reddit, has been launched to provide youth with a safe space to exchange advice, information and stories with peers.

Named “Let’s Talk”, the platform includes Ask-a-Therapist, a feature that allow users to pose mental health-related questions to a panel of qualified professionals, with a 24-hour response time, among others.

Other features include a virtual space for users to discuss topics ranging from student life to adulting, weekly self-care activities to do with family and friends, and an events schedule in the mental health space."

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Budget 2024: S$4,000 SkillsFuture top-up for S'poreans aged 40 and above, up to S$3,000 monthly training allowance for selected courses (16 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — All Singaporeans aged 40 and above will receive a S$4,000 top-up in SkillsFuture credits, and if they are enrolled in selected full-time courses, they can receive up to S$3,000 each month as training allowance.

This was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on Friday (Feb 16) as he delivered his Budget 2024 speech in Parliament.

He added that unlike the basic S$500 credits that Singaporeans now have, the S$4,000 credits, which will be given out in May, will be more targeted in scope."

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Budget 2024 watch party: What do young Singaporeans think about the announcements? (17 February 2024)

"Cash payouts, plans for a temporary financial support scheme for retrenched workers, SkillsFuture top-ups for mid-career workers aged 40 and above, and rental vouchers to support young families and couples waiting for their Built-to-Order homes, were among measures announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong in Budget 2024.

TODAY organised a watch party with five young Singaporeans aged 35 and below to discuss their thoughts on the measures announced. The five participants were:

• Ms Dawn Lim, 29, co-founder and chief executive officer of customer experience consultancy Alnico

• Mr Ahmad Amsyar Mohd Adom, 23, an undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and founder of street interviewing initiative “Community Outreach Chewsdays”. He shares his interviews on social media

• Ms Larissa Santhana Nair, 24, a jobseeker in the public relations field, who was retrenched in December last year

• Mr Dev Bahl, 27, a product manager in an emerging tech studio using augmented and virtual reality and applied games

• Ms Justine Ong-Farmer, 31, a full-time homemaker and parent of two young children"

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Former Kinderland Sunshine Place preschool teacher given conditional warning for pushing child; operator fined S$5,000 (20 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A former educator at Kinderland @ Sunshine Place has been given a 12-month conditional warning by the police following investigations into a video that showed her pushing a child.

Kinderland was fined S$5,000 for the incident at the Sunshine Place branch, which is in Choa Chu Kang. Its licence tenure has also been shortened from 36 to six months, said the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) on Tuesday (Feb 20).

The teacher, previously identified as educator C by Kinderland, was seen "forcefully pushing" a three-year-old child in April 2022."

LINK



Fewer graduates found work 6 months after leaving university in 2023, but median salary up slightly: Survey (22 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The proportion of university graduates who found employment within six months of taking their final exams dropped to 89.6 per cent in 2023 from 93.8 per cent the year before.

This is according to the results of the annual Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey released on Thursday (Feb 22).

The median gross monthly salary among fresh graduates in full-time permanent employment rose slightly, however, increasing by 2.7 per cent to S$4,313 from S$4,200 in 2022. The figure rose by 10.5 per cent between 2021 and 2022."

LINK



To complete A-Levels, students beat odds such as dad's sudden death, repeating 1st year of junior college (23 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Even though he had to repeat his first year of junior college after switching from the science stream to the arts stream, 20-year-old Max Lim Zhen Jie was pleased with his final results, including several As and a distinction for his General Paper (GP).

Mr Lim, who is now serving his time in National Service, returned to St Andrew's Junior College where he finally received his results after three years in junior college instead of the typical two.

While he still needs to complete his time with the army, Mr Lim is excited to embark on the next chapter of his life — enrolling in university to study a humanities-related major that might carve a career path related to his favourite subject, history."

LINK



Teachers don't impose personal views, advocate for any party in school lessons about Israel-Hamas war: MOE (24 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Responding to some concerns online about what schools are teaching on the Israel-Hamas war, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that teachers do not impose their personal views, "nor do they advocate for the interests of any particular parties involved in the conflict".

For younger students, the lessons hone in on empathy for the victims of the conflict, while lessons for older students also focus on verification of information sources and appreciating diversity in perspectives, the ministry said on Friday (Feb 23) in response to TODAY’s queries.

Its statement came after numerous posts began circulating on social media channels on Friday, voicing concerns over what schools are teaching students about the conflict in Gaza."

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MOE lessons on Israel-Hamas war aim to help students reflect on safeguarding cohesion, respecting diverse views: Chan Chun Sing (25 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons on the Israel-Hamas conflict are designed to help students reflect on how to safeguard cohesion and harmony in a multiracial society.

These lessons also aim to help students understand their own emotions and empathise with others, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Sunday (Feb 25) in an interview.

Mr Chan’s remarks come after concerns arose online this week about what schools are teaching students about the conflict in Gaza."

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In full: Chan Chun Sing responds to questions in interview on MOE's CCE lessons on Israel-Hamas conflict (25 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Why does the Ministry of Education (MOE) have lessons on the Israel-Hamas conflict?

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing on Sunday (Feb 25) explained the importance of these Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons and elaborated on how the materials were curated.

He also addressed questions about teachers who may feel conflicted by the subject matter as it may go against their personal beliefs, as well as whether the ministry would consider an opt-out option for parents who do not feel comfortable letting their children participate."

LINK



Gen Y Speaks: Hustling too hard led me to burn out at 26. Now I know there's no prize for being 'the busy one' (25 February 2024)

"Growing up, my parents were loving but demanding.

My father was a private tutor who had quit his full-time job in the optical industry so that he would have more time for us. Every night, after giving tuition, he would tend to our homework. During exam periods, we would have daily intense revision sessions with him.

My homemaker mum is a perfectionist who took excellent care of our home and was always on top of our studies. Upon receiving our exam results, she would always sit down with us to go through our wrong answers, instructing us to try again until we got them right."

LINK



Parents with self-control, who don't use harsh punishments tend to have emotionally resilient kids: NUS study (27 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Parents who exercise more self-control and face less financial stress tend to use less harsh punishments with their children, a National University of Singapore (NUS) study has found.

As a result, their children are more emotionally resilient and “mentally empowered”, especially in times of adversity such as the recent Covid-19 pandemic.

The research paper also showed that children who lived in “safer”, tight-knit neighbourhoods built resilience and had reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety at times of adversity."

LINK



Ex-Kinderland teacher faces fresh charges over ill-treatment of 3 more preschool children (28 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — A former Kinderland teacher was on Wednesday (Feb 28) handed three more charges for allegedly ill-treating preschool children.

Lin Min, 34, was also charged with using criminal force on two counts.

These charges involve three children."

LINK



NUS assistant professor charged with drug offences, including having vape device with Class A controlled drug (29 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — An assistant professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS) was charged with vape and drug offences on Tuesday (Feb 27).

Jevdic Dorde, 39, has been suspended from work since August 2023, a spokesperson from NUS told CNA on Thursday.

The Serbian national was handed three charges: For consuming a cannabinol derivative called 11-Nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid around early August 2023; for possessing drug utensils at a unit in Clementi Road on Aug 4, 2023; and for possessing a vape device containing a cannabinol derivative in the form of tetrahydrocannabinol."

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Singapore schools to include anti-drug content in more subjects, amid rise in young abusers (29 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — With an increasing number of new drug abusers below the age of 30 in Singapore, students will begin learning about the dangers of drugs through more subjects in school, announced Home Affairs and Law Minister K Shanmugam on Thursday (Feb 29).

While anti-drug content is already taught in character and citizenship education (CCE) and science lessons, he said it will be extended to other subjects. This includes General Paper, which was recently made compulsory for students in junior colleges and Millennia Institute.

Starting this year, Singapore will also declare an annual day to remember the victims of the "lucrative" drug trade, including abusers and their loved ones."

LINK



Three preschool employees suspended after children allegedly locked in dark room (29 February 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Three employees at a preschool have been suspended following allegations of child mismanagement, the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) said on Thursday (Feb 29).

A parent and the preschool in Seletar both made reports to ECDA on Monday. CNA is not naming the preschool in accordance with the Children and Young Persons Act.

The agency said it has started investigations, including an unannounced visit to the preschool, a review of closed-circuit television footage, interviews and verification of records."

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Commentary: Checking your child's devices vs giving them 'phone privacy'? Here's how to balance the two (1 March 2024)

"Smartphone ownership among younger children is increasing rapidly. Many primary school children now own smartphones and they have become the norm in secondary school.

Parents of younger children may occasionally (or routinely) look at their child’s phone to check it’s being used responsibly and safely.

But as children mature into teens, parental inspections will likely feel like an invasion of privacy. Many would not ask for a secondary schooler’s diary, yet phones hold even more personal information."

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Changes to polytechnic year 1 admission criteria, secondary school graduating exams (1 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — From the 2028 intake, students applying to enter polytechnic in the first year will do so under amended admissions criteria, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said.

Currently, students must offer five G3 (or O-Level equivalent) subjects, computed into an ELR2B2 aggregate score. This refers to the grades obtained for English language (EL), two subjects relevant (R) to their polytechnic course choice, and the two best (B) subjects where they obtained the next highest scores.

Under the amended admission criteria from 2028, students will be able to offer one (B) subject taken at either the G2 or G3 level, in their aggregate score."

LINK



100 AI-related scholarships to be awarded over next 3 years as S'pore looks to nurture local talent (1 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — As part of efforts to nurture artificial intelligence (AI) talent here, the Government will be giving out 100 AI-related scholarships to Singaporean students over the next three years, to pursue AI and related undergraduate, master's and PhD courses in top universities.

This is an expansion of the existing SG Digital Scholarship programme, which supports students undertaking technology and media courses.

The Government will also facilitate access to overseas internships in AI-related roles, said Minister for Communications and Information Josephine Teo in Parliament on Friday (March 1)."

LINK



One-time govt funding in 2024 for more ITE graduates to upskill; alumni say good move since 'diploma not cheap' (2 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — In a one-time arrangement this year, a new Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Progression Award would be extended to two more groups of Singaporean ITE graduates, to encourage them to upskill by taking up diploma courses.

This was detailed in an information sheet distributed to the media by the Ministry of Education (MOE) on Friday (March 1), to elaborate on what was announced by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in his Budget 2024 statement on Feb 16."

LINK



'Noble, patient, inspiring': Eugene Wijeysingha, ex-headmaster of Raffles Institution and education visionary, dies aged 90 (3 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Eugene Wijeysingha, the former headmaster of Raffles Institution (RI), has died at age 90.

Wijeysingha, whose career in education spans 35 years, served as RI principal from 1986 to 1994.

The institution said he played a pivotal role in leading the school to independence and coordinated the school's relocation to the Bishan campus in 1990."

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Lessons on Israel-Hamas conflict will be further customised for different age groups, teachers to get more support: Chan Chun Sing (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — Lessons on the Israel-Hamas conflict that are taught during Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) classes will be further customised for different age groups of students, Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing said on Monday (March 4), adding that teachers will get more support.

For younger students, the lesson material will be further simplified, focusing on sensitising them to the plight of innocent victims, Mr Chan said in parliament.

This will teach them how to express sympathy for and empathise with others, and how to manage their emotions regarding the conflict, he added."

LINK



Online misrepresentation of MOE lessons on Israel-Hamas war led to abuse towards teachers, potential 'external interference' involved: Chan Chun Sing (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The recent online uproar about the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lesson package on the Israel-Hamas conflict has led to some teachers being abused and highlights how damaging online misrepresentation can be, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing.

Speaking on Monday (March 4) during a debate on his ministry’s spending, Mr Chan also cautioned against “potential external interference” from parties with an agenda to undermine Singapore’s cohesion.

Mr Chan’s response came after numerous posts began circulating on social media channels late last month, voicing concerns over what schools are teaching students about the conflict in Gaza."

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Higher starting pay, more development opportunities for special education teachers (4 March 2024)

"SINGAPORE — The starting salaries for special education (Sped) classroom teachers and teacher aides will be raised from this year, and more opportunities for professional development will also be extended to them, Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman said in Parliament.

These will be done to “enhance the attractiveness” of the Sped teaching profession and to strengthen Sped teachers’ capabilities, Dr Maliki said on Monday (March 4) during a debate on the spending plans of the Ministry of Education (MOE)."

LINK