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Latest Waiver Move Could Weaken Key Obama Priority - Education Week

The Education Department will let states with NCLB waivers seek a delay in tying student test scores to teacher evaluations until the 2015-16 school year.

Singapore Team Ranked 1st at the 11th International Geography Olympiad

Ministry Of Education Feed - 21 August 2014

The Ministry of Education (MOE) congratulates our students for their excellent performance at the 11th International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) held in Krakow, Poland, from 12 to 18 August 2014.

The Singapore team obtained 2 Gold medals, 1 Silver medal and 1 Bronze medal. This placed Singapore 1st in a field of 144 students from 36 countries. This is the fourth year that Singapore is taking part in the competition.

The Gold medalists are Lim Wei Chong Timothy and Joshua Chin Zen Jie from Raffles Institution. The Silver medalist is Wilson Chua Wei Cheng from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, and the Bronze medalist is Tan Yi Ying from Hwa Chong Institution. For the fieldwork test this year, students explored the historic Błonia Park in central Krakow and proposed strategies for the preservation of green spaces in urban areas.

The Singapore delegation was led by Mr Benjamin Yuan and Ms Tay Hui Peng, Curriculum Planning Officers from MOE.

A Joint Effort

Our students’ participation in the International Geography Olympiad is a joint effort between MOE and the following organisations:

  • Department of Geography, National University of Singapore;
  • National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University; and
  • Geography Teachers’ Association of Singapore.

Members of the Singapore team were selected from participants of the National University of Singapore Geography Challenge 2013 and National Geography Talent Development Programme (TDP). The TDP is designed to nurture students’ passion in Geography and deepen their knowledge of the subject. The TDP is supported by the abovementioned organisations.

Background on iGeo

The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) brings together outstanding 16 to 19 year old Geography students from around the world, challenging and stimulating their minds in the spirit of competition. iGeo is organised annually by the International Geographical Union (IGU). The IGU was established in 1922 and represents the interests of geographers from 104 countries including Singapore. The IGU facilitates the participation of geographers in the global community of scientists through its affiliation to the International Council for Science (ICSU) and International Social Science Council (ISSC). Students are required to demonstrate a good mastery of a wide range of physical and human geography topics. They also need to apply geographical knowledge and skills to solve problems in unfamiliar contexts.

Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah at the Ministry of Education’s Special Awards Presentation Ceremony

Ministry Of Education Feed - 19 August 2014

I am happy to be here today to celebrate the achievements of all of you, the recipients of the 2014 Special Awards. Your achievements reflect the many areas in which you have strived and succeeded; your outstanding service to the community; and exceptional perseverance in the pursuit of self-improvement. My congratulations again to all the award recipients, and to friends, family members and teachers who have supported them.

There are now multiple educational pathways catering to students with different strengths and aspirations. In the work of the Applied Study in the Polytechnics and ITE Review Committee, which I chair, a key focus has been how to help our students realise their potential by identifying and developing their strengths and interests, and to work with our institutions and industries to help them upgrade their skills and learn for life. I would like to highlight three recipients who embody tenacity and strength of character. Provided with opportunities and support from their respective institutions, they stand here today as proud recipients of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading.

The first is Alvin Chew Bing Liang. He enrolled in a Diploma in Biomedical Science certain that he wanted to be a researcher. He went on to complete a one-year internship linked final year project at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School where he did exceptionally well deciphering the relationship between cholesterol levels of patients and dengue infection. Throughout his time at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, he also found time to organise and serve the community, took part in adventure races such as Pinnacle 2009, and co-founded Science Fusion, a science club to encourage interest in science among Ngee Ann Polytechnic and secondary school students.

Then there is Muhammad Asyraf Bin Chumino, an example of those who had to overcome great odds. At 10, he dropped out of school to care for his mother, who fell into depression after his father passed away. As he had fallen behind his peers, he completed a two-year programme at Mendaki before enrolling at NorthLight School, where he excelled and topped his cohort in 2011. He continued to be diligent in ITE, and also worked part-time to support his family. He confessed that he thought of giving up as his work usually ended after midnight, and he was often tired and late for class. With the help of his lecturers and taking into consideration how far he had come, he pressed on. His mother is his main motivation to do the best he can in whatever he does. Today, no one is prouder of Asyraf than his mother, and we congratulate both of them.

Another recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading is Hung Chung-Yuan, who came to Singapore from Taiwan when he was 18. He had to overcome the initial language barrier but fortunately, he met a group of friends who taught him English. Being mostly ITE graduates, they inspired Chung-Yuan to enrol at ITE after completing his National Service. There, he excelled in Electronics Engineering, having participated in and winning at various international competitions such as the APEC Micromouse Contest held in the United States. He considers his father his role model and is en route to achieving his goal of being an Electronics Engineer in the aviation industry. Chung-Yuan is currently pursuing a Diploma in Aerospace Electronics at Singapore Polytechnic. We hope more individuals will have the chance to explore what motivates them and build careers in their areas of passion.

As you embark on your further studies, do not forget that learning happens on the job and throughout one’s lifetime. Take time to discover your passions and strengths, choose a career that allows you to harness these qualities, and continue to deepen your skills through work and continuing education later on.

I hope you will always continue to have the passion, commitment and resilience to pursue your dreams. Let me congratulate all of you once again, and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Welcome Address by Ms Ho Peng at the Special Awards Presentation Ceremony

Ministry Of Education Feed - 19 August 2014

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 2014 Special Awards Presentation Ceremony. I would like to congratulate all the award recipients and commend schools and parents for the important role they play in nurturing them. Today, we are privileged to have with us Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education to grace the ceremony. Thank you, Ms Indranee.

Altogether, 9 categories of awards will be given to 108 recipients this year. Let me touch on each in turn.

First, the Prime Minister’s Book Prize, first presented in 1974, recognises students who are proficient in both English and their Mother Tongue, and who possess commendable personal qualities. This year 34 students will receive the award.

Teo Min Ru is one such recipient. She credits her bilingualism to her parents, who have encouraged her to read widely in both languages. She cites Nobel Laureate, Mo Yan, as a personal favourite as she enjoys how he effortlessly weaves complex themes into his narratives. She also finds time to volunteer regularly at the Pertapis Home. She aspires to enter the public service as she sees it as an important means to serving the people. Min Ru is truly an inspiration for her peers.

The second category of awards is the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science which was introduced in 1992. This award recognises students who have gone beyond outstanding academic achievements to excel at significant national and international Mathematics and Science competitions. In all, 39 students will receive the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science this year. Of the awardees, Lim Jeck distinguishes herself by consistently excelling in and demonstrating passion for Physics and Mathematics.

Next, we commend the efforts and achievements of a group of students who have been outstanding in their perseverance in pursuing their educational goals. Ten students will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students this year: 5 each from the Normal (Academic) course and the Normal (Technical) course.

One of the awardees, Tay Jing Han has struggled with diabetes from a young age. However, he did not succumb to self-pity and continues to serve as an inspiring role model for his peers. He is actively engaged in community projects that serve the elderly, and also tutors his juniors at Jurong Secondary School. Today, he is enrolled in Business Administration in Singapore Polytechnic and he aspires to be an entrepreneur in the near future, producing sports shoes meant for fellow diabetic patients.

At the tertiary level, 15 deserving graduates from the Institutes of Technical Education who are pursuing full-time studies at the polytechnics and 10 deserving graduates from the polytechnics who are pursuing full-time undergraduate studies at the universities will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading.

Six winners of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading will receive the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize. This book prize is made possible through a donation from the former Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, who received an honorarium for delivering the inaugural Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Memorial Lecture in Brunei in 2009. These 6 top students have excelled in their studies at the Institutes of Technical Education and have gained entry to the Polytechnics to pursue courses of their choice.

Of these students, Lau Tuck Wei, Jeremy, distinguishes himself as a triple award winner and will be receiving the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement, the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading and the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize. Congratulations, Jeremy.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-round Achievement (LHL-OAA), funded from an endowment made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009, is given to post-secondary school students who have proven themselves in both academic and non-academic fields. The award is given out to four winners, one from each of the following categories of post-secondary institutions: Junior Colleges/Centralised Institute, Institutes of Technical Education, Polytechnics and the Autonomous Universities.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students is made possible through an additional donation made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. This is the first year we are awarding one student enrolled in the Regional Studies Programme. This programme provides students the opportunity to learn about the culture and contemporary society of Southeast Asia. This is in addition to the awards presented to three students enrolled in the Bicultural Studies Programme. Winners of these awards possess knowledge of more than one language and a strong passion for biculturalism.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement is given to two best performing students from the specialised schools. These students have a passion for learning and display a strong sense of determination to succeed. Dhavanisha Siva from NorthLight School is one such recipient. Coming from a single-parent family, Nisha is exceptionally close to her mother and grandmother, whom she felt she let down when she did not manage to pass Mathematics at PSLE. However, she was able to pick herself up as she quickly found support and care in NorthLight School. She also regularly volunteers at Club Rainbow. Nisha is currently pursuing Beauty and Wellness at ITE College East, and she is determined to excel in her course and progress to the Polytechnic.

The final award is the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence. This is a pinnacle award given to well-rounded secondary school students across the various courses that have performed exceptionally well and made significant contributions to their school and community. Eight students who have completed secondary education in the different courses will be presented with the award this year.

Once again I extend my heartiest congratulations to the awardees, their schools and their parents. It is now my pleasure to invite our Guest-of-Honour to address us.

Ms Indranee, please.

122 Students Received Special Awards for their Achievements

Ministry Of Education Feed - 19 August 2014

A total of 122 students received this year’s Special Awards from Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, at the 2014 Special Awards Presentation Ceremony today.

The annual Special Awards recognise students’ achievements in both the academic and non-academic spheres. There are nine categories of Awards, consisting of the Prime Minister’s Book Prize, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence, the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement, the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students, the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading, the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement, and the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize.

The Prime Minister’s Book Prize (PMBP)

The Prime Minister’s Book Prize, established in 1974, is an annual award for bilingualism given at the Primary, Secondary and Pre-University levels. This year, 34 students received the Prime Minister’s Book Prize - 12 in the Primary section, 16 in the Secondary section and six in the Pre-University section. The names of the awardees are in Annex A.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students (LHL-OBS)

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students (LHL-OBS) is an award set up in 2009 to recognise the top students in the Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) [BSP(C)] and the top student in the Regional Studies Programme (RSP). The award underpins the importance of developing a group of students conversant in Chinese or Malay, and able to relate to Asia andthe world. This year, three students from the BSP(C) and one student from the RSP received the LHL-OBS. This is the first year in which the award is presented to the most outstanding RSP student.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science (LKY-M & S)

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for excellence in Mathematics and Science was introduced in 1992. The awards are given under three categories - Secondary, Pre-University and Polytechnic. 39 students received the award this year - 14 in the secondary category, 10 in the Pre-University category and 15 in the Polytechnic category. The names of the awardees are in Annex C.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students (LKY-ONC Award)

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students was presented for the first time in 2004. This year, five awards were presented to top Normal (Academic) course students and five awards were given to the top Normal (Technical) students, based on their GCE ‘O’ level and ‘N’ level examination results respectively. The names of the awardees are in Annex D.

The Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize (SHOAS Book Prize)

The Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize was made possible by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who donated the honorarium he had received from the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation in February 2009. This award was presented for the first time in 2009 and aims to recognise the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award) recipients who have achieved the most outstanding academic results at ITE. This year, six students received the award. The names of the awardees are in Annex E.

The Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award)

The Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award) was presented for the first time in 2001. This award was made possible by Mr Lee Kuan Yew who donated the proceeds from the sales of autographed editions of Volume Two of his memoirs to the Ministry of Education in October 2000. The scholarship is to encourage upgrading and life-long learning. Selection for this award is based on merit. The award is presented to Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnic graduates who have performed outstandingly both academically and in co-curricular activities. This year, 15 LKY-STEP awards were presented to ITE graduates pursuing full-time studies at the polytechnics, and 10 LKY-STEP awards were presented to polytechnic graduates pursuing full-time undergraduate studies at the local universities. The names of the awardees are in Annex F.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence (LKY-ARE)

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence is a national-level award for achievement in education that was presented since 2005. It recognises well-rounded students who have excelled in both academic and non-academic spheres, and who exemplify positive character development, strong leadership qualities and commitment to service to the community. The award is presented at the end of the Secondary education.

The award is part of the overall framework of Lee Kuan Yew awards, made possible through the interest proceeds from the principal fund of the Lee Kuan Yew Donation account of the Education Fund.

This year, eight students were presented the Award. The names of the awardees are in Annex G.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement (LHL-OAA)

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement (LHL-OAA) is funded by an endowment donated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. The award is to recognise the outstanding academic and non-academic achievements of post-secondary students, particularly those who have made outstanding contributions to the community and demonstrated the spirit of innovation and enterprise. There are four awards to be given out each year, with one student from each of the following four groups - Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Polytechnics, Junior Colleges/ Millennia Institute and Autonomous Universities. The names of the awardees are in Annex H.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement (LHL-ASA)

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement (LHL-ASA) is funded by an endowment donated by Prime Minister Lee. The LHL ASA was presented for the first time in 2009, and is given to one outstanding student each from NorthLight School and Assumption Pathway School, who has done well and progressed to ITE. The award recognises students who have exemplified positive character development and a positive attitude towards learning and self-improvement. The recipients must have also shown strong leadership qualities and commitment to serve the community. The names of the awardees are in Annex I.

Teachers Say They Are Not Well-Prepared for Common Core - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 19 August 2014
Despite increased professional development for teaching to the new standards, about half of teachers surveyed do not feel the preparation has been adequate.
Topic: Teachers

Nonteachers Swell Districts' Payrolls - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 19 August 2014
Between 1970 and 2010, the number of nonteaching staff members expanded by 130 percent to more than 3 million—or about half of public school districts' overall staff.
Topic: Teachers

Voters to Decide Fate of Mo. Teacher Tenure - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 19 August 2014
A proposal for a constitutional amendment to weaken teacher-tenure laws and tie teacher evaluations to student performance has gathered enough signatures to be placed on the Missouri ballot in November.
Topic: Teachers

Nevada Refuses to Hand Out Temporary Teacher Licenses - Education Week

Education Week - Teachers - 19 August 2014
Clark County, Nev., district officials are blaming the state education department for the teacher shortage.
Topic: Teachers

Graduation Requirements - Education Week

Increasing graduation requirements, all by itself, is unlikely to make students better prepared for college or careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, concludes a new report.

Congress Making Headway on Higher Education Act - Education Week

Renewal of the higher education law offers a rare change for bipartisan cooperation in Congress, even as the House and Senate are charting different courses.

Obama Education Policies Add Fuel to Lawsuit Bid - Education Week

Waivers from NCLB mandates are among the items named by House Republicans in authorizing a suit against President Barack Obama over alleged executive overreach.

Teachers Say They Are Not Well-Prepared for Common Core - Education Week

Despite increased professional development for teaching to the new standards, about half of teachers surveyed do not feel the preparation has been adequate.

GlassLab Opens Opportunity for Education-Game Makers - Education Week

Developers hoping to transform digital learning games from lightweight classroom fun to serious instructional tools could soon have access to new technologies to help make that happen.

Under Fire, College Board to Clarify History Framework - Education Week

Stung by criticism that its new Advanced Placement U.S. history framework presents a slanted view of events, the College Board has taken the unusual step of releasing a practice exam in the subject.

U.S. School Enrollment Hits Majority-Minority Milestone - Education Week

For the first time, the overall number of Latino, African-American, and Asian students in public K-12 schools is expected to surpass the number of non-Hispanic white students.

Q&A: An Arkansas School District's Response to Population Change - Education Week

Springdale, Ark., Superintendent Jim D. Rollins shares lessons from his district’s rapid transition to a majority-minority school system.

Students' Help-Seeking Strategies Offer Clues for Educators - Education Week

Researchers say teachers and policymakers can learn a lot about students' mindsets and school climate by watching how students get the help they need in class.

'Grit' May Not Spur Creative Success, Scholars Say - Education Week

New studies suggest that teaching students to be more persistent and conscientious may not be the right strategy for motivating those with a creative bent.
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