Primary 1 registration: Balloting for 22 popular schools in Phase 2B (28 July 2020)

"SINGAPORE - Children hoping to clinch a place at 22 primary schools in the fourth of seven phases of Primary 1 registration for next year will have to face a ballot.

These schools include Fairfield Methodist School (Primary), with 51 children applying for 25 spots; Holy Innocents' Primary, with 58 kids eyeing 41 vacancies; and Nanyang Primary, which has 48 children vying for 21 slots."

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Learning does not stop at graduation: Lawrence Wong (30 July 2020)

"In 1997, Mr Lawrence Wong stepped into the working world, fresh out of college as an economics graduate.

"As most fresh graduates are, I was brimming with confidence. I thought I knew everything there was to know about economics," said Mr Wong, who began his career as a civil servant at the Ministry of Trade and Industry."

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MOE will continue to engage teachers, staff to improve system, says Lawrence Wong (31 July 2020)

"Many of the recent reforms in the education system arose from feedback and input from teachers and staff at the Ministry of Education (MOE), Mr Lawrence Wong said.

Mr Wong, who is the newly appointed Education Minister, told teachers and staff that he will continue to engage them, with the help of Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman, as well as Ms Sun Xueling and Ms Gan Siow Huang, who are both Ministers of State for Education."

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Singapore universities hold virtual orientation programmes for incoming students amid Covid-19 (1 August 2020)

"SINGAPORE - University orientation season is here.

Unlike previous years, though, there are no loud, boisterous cheers or crowds of freshmen on campus grounds."

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SUSS looking for a home of its own to fashion new type of campus (3 August 2020)

"The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) is looking for a new home that will bring its students and staff under one roof.

Its president, Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, said it is in discussions with the Ministry of Education about a new campus, although its location has not been decided."

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SUSS to equip graduates for alternative job pathways (3 August 2020)

"Students from the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) are getting a leg-up in their work prospects amid a tough economic outlook this year.

The university has been working on ways to help fresh graduates who wish to explore alternative job pathways beyond salaried positions."

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Students' CCA efforts will still be recognised: MOE (7 August 2020)

"Co-curricular activities (CCAs) have been forced to take a backseat this year, but students' records will not be unduly penalised, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has said.

As long as students have been selected to represent their schools for a competition or event, they will be recognised, even if the occasion did not take place."

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School conducts CCA sessions at class level (7 August 2020)

"Secondary 2 student Sofea Carmila Rohaizat was disappointed when her twice-weekly Girl Guides sessions came to a halt in March.

"I was really sad not to be able to meet my friends as a group, and we also had to put a stop to completing some challenges to earn badges," said the 13-year-old Chua Chu Kang Secondary School student."

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Virtual workshops, webinars and masterclasses on offer in SkillsFuture event by the five CDCs (7 August 2020)

"SINGAPORE - To enable lifelong learning and encourage upskilling and reskilling, the five community development councils (CDCs) are jointly holding a week-long event for Singaporeans and residents.

Over 50 online workshops, webinars and masterclasses will be available for those interested."

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You’re not alone (13 July 2020)

"A mother with a teenage son, who has autism, shares the lessons she learnt from raising her special child.

Dear Parent of a Child with Special Needs,

You are not alone.

Let me share my journey to understanding my son who has autism and how I managed the emotions that I experienced along the way.

4 October 2006 was the best day of my life. That was the day I had my firstborn. His name is Muhammad Rezky Adrian.

Adrian cried a lot as a baby and did not meet the usual growth milestones. At 18 months, he would become agitated when there was loud music or if there were too many people around him. He did not walk until he was two years old."

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Community partners integral to holistic learning (30 July 2020)

"When schools want their students to learn beyond textbooks and classrooms, engaging community partners can often plug in the learning gaps. Grace Chia reports on how some of these community partnerships benefit our students in more ways than one.

Community partnerships plug our students—so used to the school environment—into the lifeblood of the community. Not only do students experience working with the community, the community can, in turn, render help to students with various needs.

MOE’s Uplift and Educational Support Branch (UESB) has been created to support students from disadvantaged families. It coordinates with schools and community partners to provide students with high needs with different kinds of opportunities, including tutoring, mentorship, programme opportunities or aid in-kind.

Science Centre Singapore’s Abbott Young Scientist Programme

The Abbott Young Scientist (AYS) Award, which began in 2013, is organised by Science Centre Singapore (SCS) and Abbott Laboratories, and is supported by MOE. Primary 4 or 5 students receive a 6-month mentorship programme from SCS’s STEM professionals on project work, science content and communication skills.

The programme’s aim is to increase the students’ interest and knowledge in Science and Math, enable them to communicate Science concepts and share their passion for Science, as well as learn values such as responsibility, integrity and teamwork."

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Helping students help themselves (30 July 2020)

"The newly formed Uplift and Educational Support Branch (UESB), under which the Uplift Programme Office (UPO) resides, is headed by Mr Lim Yu Kee, who seeks to uplift disadvantaged students through the combined efforts of schools and community partners. He speaks to Grace Chia on why and how such partnerships are important to holistic education, and what lies ahead.

“When a person is resource scarce, their worldview is different,” says Mr Lim Yu Kee, director of the Uplift and Educational Support Branch (UESB), “and it’s very hard to break out of it.”

Yu Kee knows what it’s like to come from a background that is resource poor. Growing up in a one-room rental flat with his parents and brother with little money to spare, he has risen from humble beginnings. From entering Raffles Institution to UC Berkeley and Stanford University under a PSC Scholarship, he became a teacher, principal and is now head of UESB.

Coordinated systemic support

His years as an educator have also put him in regular contact with students from disadvantaged families, further cementing his belief that, in order to help these children, one has to look at their circumstances holistically – not in silo – and tackle the issues on a systemic level.

In 2018, MOE’s then Second Minister Indranee Rajah launched the Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce, or UPLIFT for short, an inter-agency collaboration involving various government ministries to find ways to support students from disadvantaged families. Through its engagement, the taskforce identified the need to strengthen existing local coordination efforts to help these students and their families."

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Youth Voices: “I want, and I will be the best that I can be” (31 July 2020)

"We share stories of three youths who show us what it means to be resilient in their special ways, and to live life to the full. This is the first story in a three-part series.

Han Xuan Qi is a 22-year-old with mild intellectual disability who has been working at IKEA Tampines restaurant as a busser, since 2017. She hopes to be a team leader in the future. As a graduate from Delta Senior School, she continues to hold fast to the school motto, ‘I want and I will be the best that I can be’. She loves to go out with her friends and watch comedy movies. She also enjoys engaging in conversations with customers. If you see her around IKEA Tampines, do say ‘Hello!’ and share your favourite movie with her, too! For now, let’s hear a little more from Xuan Qi about her work experiences.

What is your typical day like at work?

Before the restaurant opens, I start the daily preparations, such as operating the coffee machine and preparing various items for customers: chilli sauce, ketchup, sugar, creamer, salt, pepper and stirrers. During operating hours, I have various responsibilities: assisting customers, clearing and cleaning tables, bringing trolleys to the dishwashing station, topping up customer trolleys, topping up drinks, etc. After the restaurant closes, I assist with cleaning up, such as washing the coffee machine and dispensers. I am tired at the end of the day, but I enjoy my work.

What is the favourite part of your work?

I like assisting customers, such as clearing their tables and pushing trolleys to the trolley station. I am happy when I see customers having a good experience at IKEA! When I see my customers smile and say ‘thank you’, I feel happy."

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Youth Voices: A zest for life and learning” (31 July 2020)

"We share stories of three youths who show us what it means to be resilient in their special ways, and to live life to the full. This is the second story in a three-part series.

25-year-old Yeo Hui Qing is a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has been a Library Support Assistant at the Lee Kong Chian National Library since January 2019. Her love for learning has continued long after she graduated from Pathlight School, and she never stops seeking out things to learn whether at work or in her free time. She loves mobile games and doing research on the internet about all sorts of general knowledge, especially physical health. May she inspire us all to always stay curious about the world! Here, Hui Qing shares about her work experience at the National Library.

What is your typical day like at work?

I work from 8:30am to 12:30pm from Mondays to Fridays. I usually do the collecting, arranging and shelving of library books. When all that is done, then I do shelf reading.

Shelf reading is a task where I check all the books from each shelf from top to bottom, left to right. I check the number sequencing one book at a time to ensure that all the books are arranged in order.

What is the favourite part of your work?

I love straightening the library books and shelf reading, because the tasks are quite easy to do and fun as well. I am good at these tasks. I like reading after work as well, both fiction and non-fiction books. I like to find out facts about nature and human life."

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Youth Voices: Marching to his own beat (31 July 2020)

"We share stories of three youths who show us what it means to be resilient in their special ways, and to live life to the full. This is the last story in a three-part series.

Muhd Ammar Nasrulhaq began his education at Canossian School, and now, at 28 years old, he is already a dancer, choreographer, theatre practitioner, film-maker and editor. Being deaf has not limited Ammar’s passion for creativity and the arts. In fact, his disability has taught him to persevere when the going gets tough. When he is not busy creating works of art, he can be found on a sailboat in the open waters. Here, Ammar shares his journey as an artist and his dreams for the future.

What is your typical day like at work?

My typical day at work consists of meetings, sometimes they are back-to-back. I am a freelance artist (dancer, choreographer, theatre practitioner), and I’m also working in the video production industry (director, editor, videographer). I get to do my work at cafes, the beach, or at home. I love working remotely in different spaces.

What is the favourite part of your work?

Creating. The process of creating is an essential part of me — it is what I have done most in my entire life. It started from building Legos blocks at a young age, then developed into making videos, designing dance movements, etc."

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First Person: Schools will never go back to “normal” (4 August 2020)

"Sounds ominous? Quite the contrary, says Mrs Peh Jing Er, Head of Department for ICT in Changkat Primary School. She believes that Blended Learning – a mix of online and in-person lessons – is here to stay for very good reasons. She explains why.

Things will never go back to normal, and that’s not a bad thing. >

That was my response to some colleagues who cheered when the last week of alternate Home-Based Learning (HBL) ended in the last week of June.

But why should we go back to the “norm” when we have learnt so much through this crisis?

While I am not a fan of Full HBL because I believe that face-to-face interaction is crucial, I am a huge supporter of Blended Learning. This refers to an approach that combines classroom teaching and online self-directed lessons such as what we had in Term 3, where our children take more ownership over what and how they learn. This self-directed learning can take place both at home or in school."

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First Person: An Experiment in Blended Learning (4 August 2020)

"While online learning cannot replace the experience of being in a lab working on Science practicals, they can make students more effective when they are in the lab, says Mr Benjamin Pooi from Chua Chu Kang Secondary School. He shares his hypothesis and proof.

Here’s a hypothesis – Students can pick up Science practical skills at home. Yes or no?

I decided to put this to the test.

When schools shifted into Full Home-Based Learning (HBL) in April, there were concerns that some subjects and activities wouldn’t transfer well online because they are hands-on and require special equipment. Science practical is one such activity.

While there are some simple experiments that primary school kids can do with everyday items at home, secondary-level Science practicals require specialised apparatus and a range of chemicals that can only be found in a lab.

Watching videos at home won’t cut it either. Conducting experiments is often a sensory experience. It is possible to observe colour changes, and perhaps hear the ‘pops’ from the hydrogen gas test in a well-recorded video, but how does one smell or sense the warmth from a substance from a screen? In addition, handling these chemicals and apparatus is an important skill in itself, and require steady hands, and even some dexterity that can only come with practice."

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3rd Text Recital Competition for Primary and Secondary Schools (18 July 2020)

"This year, more than 800 students from about 115 schools took part in the third annual edition1 of the Text Recital Competition for primary and secondary schools. In line with COVID-19 precautionary measures during Phase Two, this year's finals will see the online judging of video entries instead of a physical event. Contestants will be judged according to their choice of texts, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness and stage presence."

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Institutes of Higher Learning Enhance Support for Class of 2020 in Broadening Their Skills (21 July 2020)

"To support fresh graduates from the Class of 2020 in broadening their skillsets and accessing more opportunities across sectors, the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) are offering three- to six-month programmes which lead to micro-credentials or certifications:

i. More than 250 Nitec and Higher Nitec module certificates for Institute of Technical Education (ITE) fresh graduates as well as graduates who will complete full-time National Service in 2020,

ii.  More than 100 Post-Diploma Certificates for polytechnic fresh graduates as well as graduates who will complete full-time National Service in 2020,

iii.  More than 100 micro-credentials for fresh graduates of the Autonomous Universities (AUs)."

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Gradual Resumption of Lower-Risk Co-Curricular and School Based Activities in Secondary Schools and Pre-University (23 July 2020)

"MOE has been progressively resuming school activities over the past two months. Physical lessons in schools have resumed for all levels of students, who have adjusted well to the various safe management measures (SMMs) in place. It is now timely to safely resume other important aspects of school life to support holistic student development."

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Mother Tongue Languages Symposium 2020 Goes Digital (29 July 2020)

"In light of the COVID-19 situation, the 9th Mother Tongue Languages Symposium (MTLS) will move online this year, in the form of an e-MTLS on Saturday, 29 August 2020."

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Stronger Together: National Day Commemoration by Students and Schools (3 August 2020)

"In view of the COVID-19 situation, schools are commemorating National Day (ND) in a special way this year, both in the lead up to and on the actual day itself."

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Heroes Unmasked: Art graduates raise funds, bring cheer to migrant workers through unique postcards (1 June 2020)

"SINGAPORE — When 19-year-old School of the Arts (Sota) alumnus Russell Chong heard about the surge in Covid-19 cases among migrant workers here, he wanted to do something for them in his own way.

He came up with the idea of designing postcards and selling them online to raise funds for migrant workers. In early April, he posted an open call on Instagram to his friends and old schoolmates for help with the initiative, and 14 of them responded on the same day.

Less than two months later, the group has collected more than S$15,000 through their ground-up effort."

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The Big Read: In an abysmal job market, a less conventional route beckons for fresh grads (6 June 2020)

"SINGAPORE — After graduating with distinctions from the Singapore Management University (SMU) in April, a quantitative finance major who wished to be known only as Ben was eager to make his mark in the financial technology (fintech) industry.

Normally, the 24-year-old who is fluent in both English and Thai and has internship experience at six firms, will be highly sought after.

But these are not normal circumstances."

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5 students infected with Covid-19 to return to school next week after recovering (12 June 2020)

"SINGAPORE — The five students who were confirmed to have Covid-19 last week have fully recovered and will return to school next week, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Thursday (June 11).

The five students, as well as a non-teaching staff member, were tested on June 7 as part of the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) proactive testing of school staff members and students above the age of 12 diagnosed with acute respiratory infection.

The six patients were all from different schools — Anglican High School, CHIJ Katong Convent, CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent, Geylang Methodist Secondary School, Hwa Chong Institution and Ascensia International School."

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Covid-19: 47 students, 12 staff members from St Anthony’s Canossian Sec under quarantine, on leave of absence (14 June 2020)

"SINGAPORE — Forty-seven students and 12 staff members from St Anthony’s Canossian Secondary School who had been in close contact with an infected Sec 4 student have been put on leave of absence or are under quarantine.

The 15-year-old student was one of the five community cases out of the 347 new infections reported by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (June 13). She had tested positive on Friday.

Her form teacher had on Wednesday noticed she was unwell during a screening exercise, director of schools at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Liew Wei Li said on Sunday."

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Staff, classmates of student infected with Covid-19 to return to school after testing negative (30 June 2020)

"SINGAPORE — All 39 classmates and 11 staff members at East Spring Secondary School previously in close contact with a secondary 3 student who is confirmed to have Covid-19, have tested negative for the coronavirus.

In a Facebook post on Monday (June 29), Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung said the ministry knew about the case late Saturday night and the school "immediately underwent thorough deep cleaning".

Classmates and teachers in close contact with the student were put on a leave-of-absence and sent for testing."

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Students whose overseas studies were disrupted by Covid-19 have options in local universities: MOE (6 July 2020)

"SINGAPORE — Students whose overseas studies were disrupted by the global outbreak of Covid-19 may consider alternative plans with Singapore's autonomous universities, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Monday (July 6).

MOE is working with local universities to help affected students. These include fresh school-leavers, transfer applicants and those who wish to wait before resuming overseas studies, the ministry said in a press release.

For fresh school-leavers who had planned to study overseas but now wish to enrol locally, the application window for the autonomous universities was extended by two months from March to mid-May, said the ministry."

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Rethink Primary 1 registration system to get healthier mix of students from varied backgrounds (13 July 2020)

"In nurturing the young to be future leaders of the country, parents past and present are, unfortunately, still infatuated with getting their children into so-called elite primary schools when they begin their education, and the current policies on primary school registration are perpetuating this unhealthy rat race.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) should consider abolishing the multi-phase primary school registration system to encourage a healthy mix of students from different backgrounds when they begin their primary school education.

There are now six phases for the Primary 1 registration for children who are Singapore citizens and permanent residents."

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Chickenpox, pneumococcal jabs to be free for eligible S’porean children as MOH enhances vaccination subsidies (14 July 2020)

"SINGAPORE — Vaccinations against chickenpox and pneumococcal disease will be free for eligible Singaporean children from November, as part of enhanced subsidies for nationally recommended vaccinations announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (July 13).

Subsidies will be enhanced for vaccinations recommended under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule (NCIS) and National Adult Immunisation Schedule (NAIS) at all Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) general practitioner clinics and polyclinics from Nov 1, said MOH in a press release.

This is part of efforts to "better protect Singaporeans from vaccine-preventable diseases and to reduce the risk of outbreaks in the community", it said."

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Secondary school student mistakenly diagnosed with Covid-19 due to human error at lab: MOH (14 July 2020)

"SINGAPORE — A human error led to the false diagnosis of a student who was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (July 14).

The Secondary 1 student from Jurong West Secondary School was reported as a confirmed Covid-19 case last Friday, after she had come into contact with a student who had been infected.

In a press statement, MOH said that the error happened at a Covid-19 test laboratory where a swab sample from an individual who has Covid-19 was mislabelled."

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