Knowledge Universe operates more than 3,000 preschools globally employing over 30,000 passionate educators and staff supported by world-class educational resources and well-researched curricula. Read more.
The Edusave Character Award (ECHA) aims to recognise Singaporean students in each school who are exemplary in character, and who can inspire others as role models. This is to send a clear and strong signal of the importance that MOE places on character and values, on par with achievements in the academic domain which are already recognised via various Edusave Awards. This is also aligned with MOE’s focus on providing a broad and holistic education for all our students.
ECHA recipients are selected based on school-based criteria which take into account the profile of students in each school. These criteria are based on guidelines provided by MOE HQ. Students are identified for consistently demonstrating civic responsibility, resilience, values and character traits that the school wishes to recognise and encourage. To provide clarity in the selection process, the school-based criteria are communicated to stakeholders such as the School Advisory / Management Committees, staff, parents and students. The different stakeholders are also involved in the selection process to provide a diversity of perspectives and to enhance robustness of the process.
MOE has been collecting feedback from schools on the criteria and implementation of ECHA. Based on inputs from schools, the 2% quota is reasonable, as it ensures that only the most deserving students in each school are recognised. MOE will continue to monitor the implementation of ECHA, including the appropriateness of this quota.
ECHA, similar to other Edusave Awards, is intended to recognise and reward Singaporean students only.
The number of international students who receive tuition grant in each of the matriculation cohorts has decreased over the last few years from 2010. Currently, international students who receive tuition grant in each matriculation cohort comprise about 6% or 1,700 in the polytechnics, down from 9% in 2010. In the publicly-funded universities, they make up 13% or 2,200, compared to 18% in 2010.
International students in our tertiary institutions pay higher fees than Singaporean students. The tuition grants for international students total about $210 million per year, which is less than 10% of the total annual subsidies to our tertiary institutions.
International students who receive tuition grants are required to work in a Singapore-based company for three years upon graduation to supplement our labour force. Most of the grant recipients have been working and are contributing to our economy, while some did not start work immediately as they had deferred their bonds to pursue further studies. Actions will be taken against those who default on their obligations.
Students at mainstream schools, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and Autonomous Universities (AUs) pay fees based on their nationalities. There are a small number of international students with at least one parent who is a Singaporean citizen. They pay school fees at international rates.
For this group of students in mainstream schools and the ITE, MOE will assess their situation and exercise flexibility on a case-by-case basis if their parents experience difficulties in paying their fees.
In the Polytechnics and Autonomous Universities (AU), these students can take up the Tuition Grant Scheme and enjoy the lower subsidised fees in return for a service obligation. They can also apply for government loan schemes, which provide loans to supplement the subsidised fees payable.
I am pleased to join all of you here today to welcome 329 teachers into the Singapore Education Service. Please join me in extending my heartiest congratulations to the graduands.21st Century Competencies
The question of what constitutes the central purpose of a school and education has been debated not just within Singapore but also in many countries. Worldwide, this idea that education is more than just preparing students to obtain the highest possible test scores has gained public acceptance1. In addition, education experts have presented research evidence to support current efforts to revamp education systems to better prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century2 3.
Students today need to be prepared for a world of work that will be very different in the future. Our young people will be working in future occupations that do not exist today4. There will be new ways of working, new types of occupations, new products, and new ways of organising life and the economy5. Students will need the relevant physical, emotional and mental attributes or competencies that will position them to take advantage of the exciting opportunities in this new world.
In Singapore, we have introduced a framework to equip students with the appropriate 21st century competencies to enable them to work and thrive in the future. What are these 21st century competencies? These include competencies such as critical thinking, problem-solving, effective communication, information and media literacy, creativity and the ability to innovate, leadership skills, and the ability to collaborate with others. Some would argue that these are not new competencies, but rather newly important competencies.Singapore Students Ready for the 21st Century
According to the 2012 results of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial international benchmarking study organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Singapore students do possess a range of knowledge and skills that are valued in the 21st century. Our 15-year-olds put in a strong performance, demonstrating the ability to inquire, reason and communicate clearly in solving unfamiliar real-life problems.
Apart from their individual effort supported by their parents and the community, our students’ strong showing also reflects the support from our schools and the professionalism and dedication of our teachers. Our schools are relatively well-resourced by international standards, and provide a good learning environment. Allow me to share some findings from PISA 2012:
- Singapore is the only education system where more than 90 per cent of students are in schools where student learning is not seriously hindered by a lack of educational resources like computer software and instructional materials.
- More than 90 per cent of students are in schools where learning is not hindered by problems such as truancy, students skipping classes, a lack of respect for teachers, and bullying.
- More than 90 per cent of students are in schools where learning is not hindered by teachers not being well-prepared for classes, being absent or late for classes, or being too strict with students.
- Singapore students generally reported that classroom discipline was conducive to teaching and learning.
- More than 90 per cent of students say that most teachers are interested in their well-being, and that they would receive extra help from teachers if required.
As we seek to deliver an all-rounded education that goes beyond the pursuit of academic excellence, the role of a teacher as a caring professional, who is interested and invested in nurturing the whole child and helping him succeed, has become even more critical. I am encouraged to note the teacher education programmes that you have just completed at the National Institute of Education (NIE) will put you in good stead to begin your teaching journey. The Teacher Education Model for the 21st Century (TE21) developed by NIE in 2009 has been cited as a useful model that not only prepares student teachers to possess the 21st century competencies but also enable future teachers to nurture their students to realise their potential6 7.Outstanding Role Models
It is appropriate at this juncture to highlight some of our student teachers who have demonstrated their excellence beyond the academic realm. They are good role models of student teachers who, in choosing to engage with youths in marginal groups, demonstrate the acquisition of 21st century competencies that enable them to lead, care and inspire their charges.
One such example is Ng Hong Kin and his team. Their Group Endeavours in Service Learning (GESL) project entitled, “Brave Hearts”, focused on empowering hearing-impaired youths and adults with e-commerce skills so that they can connect with mainstream society and support themselves financially.
Hong Kin rallied the group together when the project was stalled. His “let’s do it” attitude, his candour in offering objective views and his willingness to step back to allow other team members to lead were instrumental in the successful completion of the GESL project. At the same time, the group acquired knowledge and skills in effective communication in a hand-sign course conducted by The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf).
The hearing-impaired participants gave positive feedback, and were appreciative of the time and effort the GESL members had put into the course preparation and training for them. Many of them were excited about what they learnt regarding online buying and selling. They say that they are now more confident with transacting online with their newly-gained knowledge and skills.
Another GESL project that impacted the community in a big way is the one led by Guo Hefang and his team. The objective of this project was to provide juvenile probationers opportunity to interact with intellectually-challenged youths and engage in beneficial and meaningful activities. It also aimed to build a constructive partnership between the Probation Services Branch (PSB) under the Ministry of Social and Family Development and the East Point Project, which is under the youth subsidiary of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS).
It is heartening to see Hefang’s full dedication to the project. As the leader, Hefang was significantly involved in all stages of the project from conceptualisation to planning and execution. His warmth, approachability, and, inclusive style of leadership helped to form a cohesive team. Hefang was present at all the activities conducted through the project, which included workshops, a visit to East Point, a whole-day push-cart event at *SCAPE and a Gardens by the Bay outing.
Both the participants and the student teachers derived immense personal satisfaction and benefit. Through the project, the young probationers realised their capacity in contributing to the well-being of the less privileged members of society. They developed empathy, especially for their similar-aged intellectually-challenged counterparts. They became more patient and improved their resilience and confidence through involvement in workshops and fund-raising activities, which equipped them with basic and useful social and entrepreneurship skills.
Our student teachers also benefitted from working on a platform to better understand delinquents and intellectually-challenged youths - two groups of at-risk adolescents of distinct characteristics whom they are likely to encounter as teachers. More importantly, the teacher trainees had an invaluable opportunity to mentor and engage through hands-on strategies and constructive activities to bring out the civic potential of at-risk youths.Conclusion
The role models above serve to remind us about the attributes of dedicated and caring teachers who are making a difference in the lives of their charges. In closing, I want to encourage all of you to be the change agents in schools, who will help prepare our students for the future. I am confident that NIE has prepared you well for this important responsibility.
I would like to formally welcome all of you into the fraternity of teachers and wish all a meaningful and challenging career ahead!
- Kaufman, K. J. (2013). 21 ways to 21st century skills: Why students need them and ideas for practical implementation. Kappa Delta Pi Record, 49, 78-83.↩
- Plomp, T. (2013). Preparing education for the information society: the need for new knowledge and skills. International Journal of Social Media and Interactive Learning Environment, 1, 2-18.↩
- Salas-Pilco, S. Z. (2013). Evolution of the framework for 21st century competencies. Knowledge Management & E-Learning, 5, 10-24.↩
- Sweet, S., & Meiksins, P. (2013). Changing Contours of Work: Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy (2nd. Ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.↩
- Sweet, S., & Meiksins, P. (2013). Changing Contours of Work: Jobs and Opportunities in the New Economy (2nd. Ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.↩
- Stewart, V. (2010). Raising teacher quality around the world. The Effective Educator, 68, 16-20.↩
- Stewart, V. (2010). Singapore leads the way in changing teacher education. Pi Delta Kappan, 92, 92-93.↩
Results of the 2013 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (Ordinary Level) Examination
A total of 34,124 school candidates sat for the 2013 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE ‘O’ Level) Examination and 99.9% have been awarded certificates.
The results of the 2013 GCE ‘O’ Level Examination for school candidates are as follows:Year No. Sat 1 or more GCE ‘O’ Level Passes 3 or more GCE ‘O’ Level Passes 5 or more GCE ‘O’ Level Passes No. % No. % No. % 2013 34,124 34,083 99.9 32,645 95.7 28,221 82.7
This year, 4,170 students from the 2013 Secondary 4 Normal Academic [Secondary 4N(A)] course sat for one or more subjects in the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination. Of these, 90.3% have obtained at least one ‘O’ Level pass.
A total of 2,615 private candidates sat for the 2013 GCE ‘O’ Level Examination and 90.3% have been awarded certificates.
School candidates have been issued their results by their respective schools from 2.00 pm today. Private candidates will be informed of their results by post. Private candidates may also access their results through the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board website at http://www.seab.gov.sg from 2.00 pm today.
The Singapore-Cambridge GCE ‘O’ Level Examination is jointly conducted by the University of Cambridge International Examinations, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board and the Ministry of Education.Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Portal
Students, together with their parents, may wish to refer to ecareers.sg for guidance on their educational and career development options. ecareers.sg is an interactive web-based Education and Career Guidance (ECG) portal hosted by the Ministry of Education. It provides up-to-date information on the educational options and career development pathways available to students. There are various profiling instruments in the portal to help students clarify their interests and aptitudes, and point to a range of suitable career possibilities.
Teachers, Career Guidance Coordinators, School Counsellors, and parents are encouraged to use the ECG portal to help students clarify their career goals and guide them to choose educational courses that are suitable for them.
An infographic to illustrate the education pathways for ‘O’ Level students is attached in Annex A.
Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah at the Inaugural Student Townhall for the Applied Study in Polytechnic and ITE Review (ASPIRE)
Hi everyone. I am really glad that we could make it today. I wanted to take this opportunity to talk to you about ASPIRE, and explain to you what it is all about.
The ASPIRE Committee was announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the official opening of the ITE College Central. For those of you who do not already know, it stands for Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review.
- Why are we doing this?
- Why should it matter to you?
- Why are you even here today?
Let me just start off by taking a look at the situation for youth employment around the world, and let’s see what the scenario is like in the world today.
An OECD chart on youth unemployment shows that more than 50 per cent of youths in Greece are unemployed. That is followed by Spain, Portugal, Italy and the list goes on. You can see that all the countries there are on an upward trend for youth unemployment, except for three - Belgium, Germany and Singapore. So your friends in those countries, youths of your age, people who are of the same profile as you are not finding jobs. The question is how did it get to this state, and why is it that Germany and Singapore are not quite in that same state?
One answer is the Lehman crisis in 2008. Even now some of the countries around the world have not fully recovered from that financial crisis. Some of the countries have had specific economic problems of their own, like Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Greece. But even in countries which have recovered generally, there is still a high unemployment rate. In the US for example, according to the Bureau of statistics, there are 3.8 million job openings, while approximately 11.8 million people are unemployed. What those figures suggest is that there is another reason why there is unemployment. And that reason is that there is a mismatch between the job skills which are needed and the available supply of manpower.
In Finland, about 70 per cent of each cohort have university degrees but their youth unemployment rate is 19.4 per cent. In Korea, where also around 70 per cent of each cohort have university degrees, the youth unemployment rate is 9.5 per cent. The Chosun English News on 15 July 2013, had this report where they said:
“A growing number of university graduates are willing to accept jobs for which they are over-qualified, as a number of positions suitable for their education dwindle. Some 3 million people with university degrees are now jobless and more and more young Koreans give up looking for work.
The tough job market has prompted young jobseekers to lower their sights or to lie about their credentials on their resumes. According to the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training, 24 per cent of university graduates are reducing their expectations in searching for work - the highest rate in the 12 advanced nations in the OECD.
The main reason behind the high rate in Korea is that there are more young jobseekers whose educational backgrounds are higher than what the employers are looking for”.
Finland and Korea are renowned for their good education systems. But the Finnish and Korean experience tells us that qualifications alone are not enough. There has to be a match between the educational qualifications and the skills which are needed for the available jobs.The World Tomorrow
That’s the world today. What about the world tomorrow? Is it somehow going to get better in the next 5, 10, 20 years? Not unless there is a better match of skills to jobs. Let me show you what the world holds for you tomorrow.
The world tomorrow is going to be: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA). One of the reasons is disruptive technologies. Technologies change things -the jobs you perform today may be reshaped and redesigned because of technology. That means that the person doing that job today will have to learn to do that same job in a different way tomorrow. You could also have a situation where the technology makes the job obsolete completely. Today we drive cars. Going forward in the future, the technology is going to be available for driverless cars. So, all those people who are driving cars - the driving skills may be something of the past. That will be replicated in many industries and across many platforms. The future is not going to be a certain one.Future Proofing You
The question is what do we do about this? One of the things that keeps us awake, is how to make sure that there is a good tomorrow for you. We had the Our Singapore Conversation (OSC), and there were five themes that emerged. One of those themes that resonated very strongly was that Singaporeans wanted to be sure that there are opportunities for them. We know that there is a desire for greater opportunities and more diverse opportunities for the youth of today to be able to do different things. The question is, how do we achieve that, given the VUCA environment that you are going to face? What we have to do is to try and future proof you.
How do we future proof you? How can we beat the odds and increase the chances of our youth being able to withstand the vicissitudes of life and navigate the VUCA environment, if not with ease, at least with the knowledge and tools to overcome it? We do what Singaporeans do best - we plan. That is what ASPIRE is about - it is about planning for the future.
The ASPIRE committee’s mission is about:
- anticipating demand
- figuring out how to gear polytechnic and ITE education to match skills with the current and projected demand
- equipping you to face the future.
There are three categories of future proofing.
The first is character and values. The person that you are makes a great deal of difference about how you are going to navigate life ahead. Values like honesty, integrity, resilience, the ability to deal with the future ahead - those kinds of moral values make up the essential core of a person. If you do not even have that to begin with, it is very difficult to do all the rest because if you have really strong academic content, but you are dishonest, that is not going to do you a lot of good. If you do not have the things that make people trust you, that make people willing to entrust jobs and responsibilities to you - that is going to affect your future as well. At the heart of it is “values”. You have heard MOE talk about Character and Citizenship Education (CCE). That is what we are trying to do in the early years - from primary, secondary, all the way up - to make sure you have that essential category that will help you in the future, and that is just also about the person that you are. MOE can’t do that alone - that is also the task of parents, friends, the people that you interact with. In order to be ready for the future, character and values is something which you will need very much.
The second category is competencies and capabilities. These include communication skills, teamwork skills, how you are able to work in a working environment and how you relate to other people. Those are not moral skills the same way that character and values are, but they are very important skills. You can be very intelligent, you could have a wonderful piece of work, but if you cannot relate to other people or work as a team, that is not going to stand you in very much good stead in the future.
The third category is about knowledge and skills. There is the substantive academic knowledge - the part that you learn in theory -and also the part where you have to learn to apply it; the practical portion.
Having just outlined these three categories, what is the plan? Before going on to the plan, let’s have a look at Germany and why their unemployment rate is so low. There are many factors, but I think that most of the studies indicate that one very important factor for their low youth unemployment rate is their dual learning programme, which is an apprenticeship programme. In Germany, what students have is on the job training provided by companies as well as classroom instruction which is taught in the vocational schools. Apprentices typically spend one or two days a week in the vocational schools, and the rest of the time is spent in the companies. In Germany, they try to have a very close relationship between practical learning and theoretical learning. The takeaway from that is: applied learning.
Applied learning is one of the key strategies that we have identified to future proof you.
- It is a practice-oriented approach.
- It means having a strong theoretical foundation, and being able to apply it as well - because the future is not about what you know. It is about what you can do with what you know.
- Applied learning also has the concept of the workplace as a learning environment. Think of it as a reality classroom. It also focuses on developing the capabilities that are needed for real-life work.
Some of the benefits of applied learning would be as follows. Firstly, increasing employment opportunities even without a university degree.
Secondly, providing employers with a skilled and competitive workforce.
Thirdly, to ensure that education is relevant and up-to-date for today’s job market. It allows us to develop those three categories that I have talked about - character, competencies and substantive knowledge - because if you have a work place environment for learning, all of that comes into play. You will have to apply the theory you have learnt, put it to good use, and because you are also interacting with people, the competencies of communication, teamwork, character and values - all those will come to the fore. That is where we hope to create the environment where you can learn through applied learning.
It also serves as an early warning system to identify what industry changes and future needs are. Importantly, if you work in an applied learning environment, hopefully it will also allow you to see what your own strengths are, and for you to know whether this job is really for you or whether it is something that you think you do not want to do.
I mentioned earlier that one of the benefits of applied learning would be to increase the employment opportunities even without a university degree. With that said, I also recognise that there is a very deep sense amongst students and parents for their children to have further or higher education. There is that strong desire from the students I have talked with - for those with Nitec, to have Higher Nitec; for those with Higher Nitec, to have a diploma; for those with a diploma, to have a university degree. As we have seen from the Finnish and the Korean experience, if everyone gets a degree but there are not enough jobs which are commensurate with the degree, then the young entrants would have to end up doing jobs for which they are overqualified and which is not what they expected to have to begin with.
At the end of the day, what does one want from education? I think people want good jobs, but they also want something that allows them to grow and develop as individuals, and to fulfil their own potential. They want a sense of fulfilment. They want recognition and respect from society, from their families, peers, friends and colleagues.
What we are hoping to do is to find different pathways to achieve these objectives. Going from Junior College (JC) to university, or going from polytechnics to the university may be one route, but there may be other routes. One of those routes may well be that you go and work first, decide in the workplace what you like, and when you have identified what you like, you go for further studies. For example, you enter the workplace with a Nitec, find your niche, then go and do a diploma, and later if you think it is suitable, relevant and useful, go ahead and do your degree. We are trying to find different ways to get to the end point, which is the fulfilment and sense of respect that you get from society. It doesn’t have to be a one-size-fits-all-approach.ASPIRE’s ultimate purpose and objective
That is ASPIRE’s ultimate purpose and objective. It is to increase the number and range of employment opportunities for young people. It is to try and match the skills and qualifications to ensure good employment rates. It is about facilitating progression at all levels. It is also to ensure that polytechnic and ITE education will remain at the cutting edge of industry and services.
To do a comprehensive review of this, we need to involve everybody that has a stake in it. That would be employers, teachers, students, like yourselves, and parents. The ASPIRE Committee is structured to achieve these aims and objectives, and to reach out to all of these stakeholders.Structure of Review Committee
There is the Steering Committee, and three review committees as well as the engagement committee. When you look at the composition of the Steering Committee, you will find that it has a big mix of people. It has got people from the private sector who come from different industries - from marine industry, manufacturing, building and construction industry as well as services.
None of this can work if your schools are not involved. That is why all the polytechnic Principals and the CEO of ITE are there too. This also cannot work if we do not have the economic input, and so we have representatives from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Economic Development Board (EDB), SPRING and IE Singapore. We have to cover the entire landscape in order to have all the input because there are so many moving parts. With that said, when you have the full picture, you will also need to drill down to specific things.
Review Committee 1 will look at engaging industry partners, because you are not going to be able to do applied learning or have the workplace as your learning classroom unless the employers are on board. We must design good apprenticeships or good internships. We cannot do that unless we have employers’ input, as well as input from the polytechnics and ITE as well. Hence, Review Committee 1’s terms of reference are to look at the dual learning or work-study schemes; to see whether or not we need a skills framework for relevant industries; to look at the progression pathways because progression is very important to young people and their parents; looking at critical factors for success as well as some of the pilot programmes that we can put in place.
Review Committee 2 engages more with the students and teachers at the polytechnics and the ITE. We think that a critical factor is career guidance. When I speak to young people and ask them what they want to do, many say that they do not know. They know that they want to try out certain things, and they may have a rough idea of what they may be keen on, but they are not quite sure. If we spend more time and resources on career guidance -the sort that says “These are the kinds of jobs available, and these are the kinds of strengths you will need in order to be able to go into these kinds of jobs - what the job requirements are” and helping people to think through their strengths and what they want, and advise them on the kinds of opportunities that are available, and to do that in a much more systematic and sustained way.
We also want to look more into Continuing Education and Training (CET) for polytechnic and ITE graduates. Right now, there is the sense that everybody has to go one route. We hope that we can do it such that you go out to work, come back and get another qualification, until you have reached the point where you acquire depth of knowledge and skill, where somebody looks at you and says “This person really knows that area that he or she is in”.
The third review committee is the committee for strengthening research, innovation and enterprise (RIE). We want the teachers and students to be able to have teaching and learning that is current and effective through RIE. The committee will also identify areas where polytechnic students and teachers can work with the industry on projects to be at the cutting edge of research and development.
We also have the engagement committee, which aims to reach out to all the stakeholders, particularly students like yourselves, as well as parents, to let people know and understand what we are intending to do.Why are you here today?
So I come back to the question that I had asked in the beginning - why are you here today? Because this is for you. This is for you and other young Singaporeans. You are one of the most important stakeholders in this exercise. This concerns your future, and the future of young Singaporeans to come.
To achieve ASPIRE’s objectives, we need to hear your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams, your aspirations and your concerns. The work of this committee will affect the lives, jobs, careers and outcomes for the cohorts of many young Singaporeans. Your input and contribution is therefore not just feedback. It is going to be a critical component of a major national effort, with important implications for Singapore’s future.The Beginning
Today is just the beginning. This Townhall kicks off ASPIRE’s engagement effort with all the stakeholders, and we will have many more engagement sessions. We need your help to make this work - not just in terms of ideas, but in spreading the word, helping us to reach out to other students and parents.Design for ASPIRE Logo
For ASPIRE, we had originally wanted to have a logo, and MOE started to design one. Then we paused and thought - ASPIRE is about planning for students like yourselves. Any logo we adopt should reflect your hopes, your thoughts and the vibes that you feel about ASPIRE’s work. Therefore the Committee has decided to invite all the polytechnic and ITE students to design a logo for ASPIRE. We hope it will reflect your ideas about what ASPIRE can do for the future of polytechnic and ITE education. I hope the logo will be fun, edgy, and meaningful. Your submissions will be showcased on ASPIRE’s website, and the Committee will pick one of the submissions to be the ASPIRE logo. The polytechnics and ITE will be sending out details about how to participate over the week.
There will be other projects and engagements as well, and we would like to invite you to participate in these and spread the word to your friends. They will be notified in due course.Conclusion
That explains the reasons for ASPIRE, your role in it, and the partnership that we hope to be able to put into effect. We hope to be able to wrap up the Committee’s recommendations after we manage to get all the input that we need, and nail down the recommendations that we think will make for a brighter future for polytechnic and ITE students.
Thank you very much.
As part of its efforts to provide students with a holistic and well-rounded experience in the co-curriculum, the Ministry of Education (MOE) will implement an updated LEAPS framework, LEAPS 2.0, starting with Secondary 1 students from 2014. The updated framework will enable schools to better align their co-curriculum to encourage students’ holistic development in terms of life skills, competencies and values.Updates in LEAPS 2.0
Under LEAPS 2.0, students will be developed through levels of attainment (Level 1 to 5) within the four domains of Leadership, Achievement, Participation and Service. The table below reflects the key features of LEAPS 2.0 to recognise students’1 diverse interests and talents while promoting balanced development across the domains.Previous LEAPS New Features of LEAPS 2.0 Rationale Recognition is given to students’ Participation in a CCA Broader recognition to include active Participation and exemplary conduct in a CCA
- To recognise the quality of student’s involvement in the CCA
- To go beyond positional leadership to also recognise self-leadership and quality of leadership
- To recognise students’ diverse interests and talents
- To recognise the importance of the ‘school-home-community’ approach where parents and community partners all have a part to play in nurturing the development of students
- To recognise the quality of learning through service
- To give schools greater autonomy to customise enrichment activities that meet the specific needs of their student profiles
- To rebalance the recognition and students’ participation across domains by requiring a minimum attainment in each domain
- To describe the quality of the students’ co-curricular experience more meaningfully
Secondary 2 to 5 students will continue to use the current LEAPS framework until 2017 for continuity of learning and progression in students’ development and attainment.
Schools will provide school-based briefings for all Secondary 1 students and their parents as part of the school orientation programme in January 2014.Footnote
- LEAPS stands for Leadership, Enrichment, Achievement, Participation and Service↩
- Values-In-Action, builds on the strengths of the previous Community Involvement Programme (CIP) to place a greater focus on students acquiring values. It encourages students to identify and understand community issues, initiate action among their peers to make a difference and improve the lives of others. ↩
Good evening. I am very happy to join you for the launch of Siong Guan’s book, “The Leader, The Teacher, & You: Leadership Through the Third Generation.”
Siong Guan is a long-time colleague and friend in the Civil Service. We worked on many challenging policy issues together, and I benefited greatly from the many discussions we had, and the strong support he gave me. When I first assumed the appointment of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, I had to grapple with some strategic issues that cut across many ministries. I asked Siong Guan, who was then Head of Civil Service, if he would help me by chairing an inter-ministry committee. To my surprise, he suggested that we co-chair the committee instead, even though I was very junior. Through a simple gesture like this, he signalled that we were peers and he supported what I was doing. More importantly, instead of relying on him to solve the problems for me, I was motivated to think very hard on how best to resolve these issues as part of this process. He taught me a valuable lesson.
Siong Guan may have retired from his last position as Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance 6 years ago… but while you can take the man out of the public service, you cannot take the public service out of the man. Siong Guan remains deeply committed to the success of our public service and of Singapore, and this book marks the latest of his unending efforts to serve and to contribute, and thereby to lead.
In the public service, many officers can be heard saying, “ This is very LSG”, meaning that these are the core values, beliefs and approaches that Siong Guan has been advocating, consistently. Anyone who has spent time with Siong Guan will recognise from page one that this book does not just draw on his life story; it comes very much from his heart. His abiding sense of purpose comes through in every page. It rings with his trademark desire to help people be the best that they can be, and to make things happen that would otherwise not happen on their own. A combination of biography, commentary, and exposition, the book we are launching today is the latest contribution from a leader who already leaves a significant legacy in the public sector. As a believer in the importance of leadership, I am pleased that we now have the insights and inspirations from Siong Guan’s remarkable career distilled into this valuable volume. I am very pleased to hear from Professor K K Phua that this book will also be translated into Mandarin.
There are many important ideas in Siong Guan’s book. It is so rich that different parts of it will resonate with different readers, and the same reader will learn something different in subsequent readings. So let me share some of the ideas that strike me, especially given my portfolio in the Education Ministry.
The first is this: although the book speaks about the Leader as Teacher, what strikes me when reading it is that the Leader is always a Learner. From his first day on his first job, as an engineer at a sewage treatment plant, Siong Guan has been learning in any situation and from anyone, whether the one teaching is his Minister or the workers dealing with a piece of condemned equipment. Embedded in this spirit to learn is the willingness to try new things. As Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Siong Guan came up with the annual “Learning Err-ward” [ not A-ward, mind you, but Err-ward ] to celebrate what was in effect the biggest mistake of the year, but with a focus instead on the lesson learnt from the mistake. It takes humility and discipline to apply such a lens to our work, and I believe it pays off when we can draw out the lessons from our mistakes to do even better the next time around. It is also a powerful way of encouraging our staff to try new ideas, to take risks, accepting that not all ideas will be successful. It is better that we try so that we may learn.
The second idea, as Siong Guan’s book makes clear, is that the Leader is also a Teacher. Siong Guan writes about the special role of teachers in our society and shares his belief that the best leaders must seek to be the best teachers. This is because, fundamentally, the mission of the leader is similar to that of the teacher - just as a teacher strives to help every child realise his or her full potential, the leader seeks to help each member of his organisation be the best that he or she can be. He or she who teaches even one student, or who leads even one person, can prepare that student or person to succeed in the future. The best teacher believes that everyone can learn and be better, and the best leader believes that everyone seeks to contribute, and working together, we can accomplish more than we could ever do alone. And just as every teacher seeks to make a difference to the future of each child, if every leader can conduct himself as a steward for the future, he will fulfil the highest calling of a leader.
That brings me to the third important point in Siong Guan’s book that strikes me. As Siong Guan writes: “The true mark of a success for a teacher is when one’s student surpasses one’s self. It should be no different for a leader.” The subtitle of this book, “Leadership Through the Third Generation”, refers to the proverbial third generation that squanders away the wealth built up by the first and second generations. According to Siong Guan, the greatest wealth of the first and second generations must be the third generation itself. He writes: “A leader’s most critical contributions are what still remains when the leader is no longer around.” I fully agree, the best legacy that a leader can leave is the people he has developed. To lead and succeed through the generations calls for a style of leadership that is selfless, values-based, and other-centred.
Implicit in all this is the leader’s most trying challenge - what to change, and what to retain. In order for his organisation to succeed, a leader must be able to help his people navigate today’s transformations in technology, customer expectations, human relationships and societal pressures. A rapidly transforming world forces his hand to adapt his organisation’s strategies, tactics, processes, and so on, to be in step with the future. In that light, one of Siong Guan’s lasting contributions was the introduction of the Public Service for the 21st Century movement, which, as Prime Minister Lee wrote in his thank you letter to Siong Guan upon his retirement, “galvanised public officers at all levels to anticipate change, welcome change, and execute change”.
At the same time, the leader must also identify and exemplify that which is timeless, those values that have defined the first generation well and that will continue to guide subsequent generations. Without this, there is only change without purpose, movement without direction.
For the national leadership, the challenge is not just to keep Singapore successful, but to make sure that every member of our society has a role and a stake in that success. How we go about pursuing excellence will change with time and conditions, but what must not change is our belief that success must be shared, both in the making and the partaking, by all in our society. Nor do I see us changing our deep belief that the road to future success lies in developing and growing our young to their fullest potential.
This is a fitting point for me to thank Siong Guan for establishing a new charity, “The Leading Foundation”, under the Community Foundation of Singapore, that will offer awards to pre-school teachers and to support programmes in education and leadership. The early education years are important in shaping our future leaders, and I welcome Siong Guan’s contribution and the support of the community to bolster this area for the benefit of our young.
We live in a more globalised, more inter-connected, and information-intensive world, where changes in one part are transmitted rapidly to another. The need to anticipate change, welcome change and execute change is greater than ever. In the face of these changes, it is even more critical that we hold on to timeless values and our deep sense of purpose. The art of leadership, infused with a deep sense of purpose, is needed more than ever. Congratulations, and thank you, Siong Guan, on the launch of your book. Congratulations as well to your co-author and daughter Joanne. This book is unique for being a joint product of father and daughter, made all the richer by the daughter’s involvement. It just shows that Siong Guan is very much a teacher at home to have built this close bond with his daughter. This book is not only about leadership through the generations in words, it is leadership through the generations in action. It also achieves what the best teachers and leaders do: it does more than instruct; it inspires. I hope it will instruct, inspire, and infect many to exercise effective leadership for the good of others, their organisation, and their country
It is my great pleasure to join all the friends and well-wishers of Siong Guan gathered here to launch “The Leader, The Teacher and You”. Thank you.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) today announced the appointment of the committee for the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE). The ASPIRE Committee, chaired by Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, will look at enhancing career and academic progression prospects for Polytechnic and ITE graduates through the strengthening of industry linkages to provide work-relevant training for students, enhanced educational and career guidance, and pursuit of industrial research, innovation and enterprise activities that support the Polytechnics and ITE’s academic mission.Enhancing Polytechnic and ITE Education
Together with the Universities, our Polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) form the many peaks of our education system and support Singapore’s economic development. Our Polytechnics and the ITE system have done well by focusing on the acquisition and application of skills, through hands-on, practice-oriented learning.
As our economic environment becomes more dynamic, varied and complex, the demand for workplace skills and competencies will evolve. To prepare and empower Polytechnic and ITE graduates to seize the opportunities and thrive in the economy of the future, MOE has convened a committee of prominent stakeholders in industry, community, public service and academia to review and recommend enhancements to the applied education model at the Polytechnics and ITE. This will build on the current strengths of the Polytechnic and ITE system.
SMS Indranee said, “Our Polytechnics and ITE offer quality practice-oriented education. They are part of a diverse higher educational landscape with many pathways catering to individuals with different strengths and interests, so that each individual can be developed to his or her full potential. This is an important review because each individual matters, and we must ensure that our approach to technical education can help ensure that polytechnic and ITE students will continue to be well equipped for work and life even as the operating environment evolves. We also want to avoid mismatch between industry needs and student qualifications, skills and capabilities. As part of this review, we will be actively engaging key stakeholders, including students, parents, educators and staff in our polytechnics, ITE and schools, and employers.”Structure and Composition of the ASPIRE Committee
The ASPIRE will be led by a Steering Committee supported by three Review Committees and an Engagement Committee (see Annex A). The list of members and Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee, the Review Committees and the Engagement Committee can be found in Annex B.
The ASPIRE Committee is expected to complete its work in the second half of 2014. Its activities will include meetings, study trips to relevant institutions and industries in Singapore and abroad, as well as engagement sessions with the various stakeholder groups.
Release of 2013 Singapore-Cambridge GCE 'O' Level Examination Results and 2014 Joint Admissions Exercise for Junior Colleges, Millennia Institute, Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education
The results of the 2013 Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level (GCE ‘O’ Level) Examination will be released on Monday, 13 January 2014.
School candidates may collect their results from their schools at 2.00 pm on 13 January 2014.
Private candidates will be informed of their results by post. Private candidates may also access their results through the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board website at http://www.seab.gov.sg from 2.00 pm on 13 January 2014.Joint Admissions Exercise
Students who wish to apply for Junior Colleges (JCs), Millennia Institute (MI), Polytechnics or the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) may do so through the Joint Admissions Exercise (JAE) using their GCE ‘O’ Level results.
The following groups of applicants are eligible to participate in the JAE:
- All Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Singapore Permanent Residents (SPRs) with valid GCE ‘O’ Level Examination results
- International students studying in a government school, government- aided school or independent school in Singapore with valid 2013 GCE ‘O’ Level Examination results
JAE registration will open from 3.00 pm on Monday, 13 January 2014 to 4.00 pm on Friday, 17 January 2014.
Applicants are to submit their application online through the JAE Internet System (JAE-IS) at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/jae.
Eligible applicants who sat the 2013 GCE ‘O’ Level Examination will receive Form A on the day of the release of examination results. Form A will list:
- The applicant’s GCE ‘O’ Level Examination results;
- The courses which he/she is eligible to apply for under the JAE; and
- His/her JAE-PIN (i.e. a personal password for the applicant to access JAE-IS).
Applicants are to complete the course application worksheet (provided in both Form A and the JAE information booklet) before submitting the online application via the JAE-IS. Applicants who have completed their worksheet prior to logging on to the JAE-IS should be able to complete their applications on the JAE-IS in less than 15 minutes.
Applicants are required to use their NRIC number or FIN, together with the JAE-PIN that is provided in their Form A, to access the JAE-IS. A SingPass is not required.
Applicants are to provide a local mobile phone number during registration through JAE-IS if they wish to receive the results of their JAE application via Short Messaging System (SMS).
SC/SPR applicants, who did not sit for the 2013 GCE ‘O’ Level Examination, are required to use their NRIC and SingPass to access the JAE-IS. Alternatively, they may apply in person at MOE Customer Service Centre during the JAE registration period. To do this, applicants are required to bring along their original identity card, original GCE ‘O’ Level Examination certificate(s)/result slip(s) and Secondary School report book and/or CCA Certificate(s).
An application fee of $7 will be charged for the first application, and $10 for amendment of choice(s) to the submitted application. JAE applicants are allowed to amend their submitted application only once. They are not required to make their fee payment online during the JAE period. All JAE application fees will be collected only after the exercise, by the institution (i.e. JC, MI, Polytechnic or ITE) that the applicant is eventually enrolled in.Results of Application
The posting results of the JAE application are tentatively scheduled for release on Wednesday, 5 February 2014 through the following modes:
- JAE-IS which is accessible through the JAE website;
- SMS to the mobile phone number provided by applicant during registration
For more details on the JAE, applicants may refer to:
- JAE Website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/jae;
- MOE Customer Service Centre at 6872-2220 during office hours
In addition, students who wish to apply only to the Polytechnics can also participate in the Joint-Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE). The Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE) complements the existing JAE, by allowing polytechnics to consider applicants based on a broader measure of merit beyond academic performance in the GCE ‘O’ Level Examination. Through the JPSAE, polytechnics may admit students who have demonstrated a strong passion or aptitude through work attachments, sustained involvement in course-related projects or students with outstanding talents or achievements in leadership, community service, entrepreneurship, sports, and artistic and creative areas.
Each polytechnic may decide on its own means of assessing applicants’ talents and achievements, which may include portfolios and interviews. Only applicants assessed to be able to cope with the rigours of a diploma education are admitted.
The JPSAE will be conducted, together with the JAE. A student may apply concurrently to both JPSAE and JAE. Successful applicants may be offered a course under the JAE, and the same or another course under the JPSAE. Students who are offered courses under both JAE and JPSAE should accept only one of the two offers during the enrolment period set by the Polytechnics.
Details on the JPSAE can be found at http://www.polytechnic.edu.sg/jpsae and on the respective polytechnics’ websites.Progression Pathways for Secondary Four Normal (Academic) Students The Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP)
Secondary 4 Normal (Academic) students who attempted the Normal (Academic) examinations in 2013 and obtained an ELMAB3 aggregate not exceeding 11 points1 will be eligible to apply for the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP). The PFP is an alternative to the Secondary 5 Normal (Academic) year. It is a one-year foundation programme at the polytechnics that offers a practice-oriented curriculum taught by polytechnic lecturers.
On 13 January 2014, students eligible for the PFP will receive a copy of Form P from their respective secondary schools, inviting them to apply for the PFP. Each copy of Form P contains a unique password. Students should use the respective passwords to submit their applications online via the PFP website at http://www.polytechnic.edu.sg.
Application for the PFP will open from 2.00 pm on Monday, 13 January 2014 to 4.00 pm on Friday, 17 January 2014.
The PFP posting results will be released at 2.00 pm on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 through the PFP website. Students will be required to indicate whether they wish to accept, reject or appeal for a change of course by 4.00 pm on Thursday, 23 January 2014. More details on the PFP can be found at http://www.polytechnic.edu.sg/pfp.The Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP)
The final application phase for the Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP) will open at 2.30 pm on Monday, 13 January 2014 and close before midnight on Thursday, 16 January 2014. Eligible students should submit their DPP applications online via the DPP application portal at http://www.ite.edu.sg/wps/portal/intake/.
The DPP posting results will be released at 9.00 am on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 through the DPP application portal. Students will be required to indicate whether they wish to accept or reject the DPP offer by midnight on Thursday, 23 January 2014. More details on the DPP are available at http://www.ite.edu.sg/wps/portal/definitely-des/.For successful PFP and/or DPP applicants
The last day of school for current Secondary 5 students who have successfully applied to the PFP or DPP will be on 30 January 2014. Existing DPP students who have successfully applied to the PFP and accepted their PFP course offers should apply for withdrawal from ITE.
Students will be informed by the respective polytechnics and ITE on the dates of enrolment for the PFP and DPP.Footnote
- The ELMAB3 aggregate comprises English Language (EL), Mathematics (MA), and the student’s three best other subjects. To be eligible for the PFP, students must also attain a minimum of Grade 3 in all subjects that make up the ELMAB3 aggregate. More information can be found at http://www.polytechnic.edu.sg/pfp/pfp_eligibility.html↩