Thursday, 24 September 2015

MOE Work Plan Seminar 2015: Volunteers sought to help students explore career options

MOE Work Plan Seminar 2015
MOE building network of professionals to reach out to the young; ex-Nasa scientist, film-maker among partners
By Pearl Lee, The Straits Times, 23 Sep 2015

If you are an established professional in fields like the humanities, business or the sciences, the Ministry of Education (MOE) wants to work with you.

It is building a network of volunteers to work with primary and secondary schools, and link them to industries and communities, to help students get a better idea of possible career options. This is in line with SkillsFuture, a national move to equip students and workers with industry-relevant skills.

Speaking at the MOE's annual work plan seminar at Ngee Ann Polytechnic yesterday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said: "We want to pool resource persons so that our schools can draw on their support to strengthen their programmes. When parents, teachers and the community work together, we multiply our efforts to make every student an engaged learner."

For a start, 16 individuals and one organisation - the Agency for Science, Technology and Research - across seven areas have come on board. Partners in the network, named Community of Pathfinders in Action, can plan activities such as talks and job attachments to reach out to students and parents.

While some schools with longer histories can tap their alumni networks for the same purpose, not all schools have the same access to such people, Mr Heng noted.

"Some of our newer schools do not have strong alumni or the same profile in the community. We want to help every school and provide them with resources," he said.

MOE aims to have 300 individuals in the network by the end of next year, and 1,000 by end-2018.

Their work will complement that of education and career guidance counsellors, who help students learn about their strengths and plan education and career paths.

By next month, 50 such counsellors will be deployed to schools. This will grow to 100 by 2017.

Film-maker Royston Tan, 39, a partner of the network, hopes to get students on the scheme to be hands-on. For instance, they can interview their grandparents for ideas that they can use to shoot videos.

"I usually give talks in schools, but under this scheme, I'd like to customise programmes and work with a select group of students who have an interest in the arts," he said.

Dining and live music chain Timbre Group's co-founder and managing director Edward Chia, 31, who is also on the scheme, said he hopes to reach out to parents too. "It's important to build a conducive environment for children to pursue alternative routes," he said.

Mr Chia, who co-founded Timbre when he was 21, before entering university, added: "I would not be doing a lot of what I'm doing now if my parents were not supportive."

★ Stronger Partnerships with the Community ★MOE is putting in place a new community resource network named Community...
Posted by Ministry of Education, Singapore on Monday, September 21, 2015

Rocket scientist Bidushi Bhattacharya, 50, who spent years working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States, hopes to interest students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through space technology development.

She hopes to let students, including primary school pupils, work on a small satellite: "The younger ones can come up with ideas for the small satellite, which usually just has a single purpose, such as having a camera attached to it."

At Mayflower Secondary School, which aims to build niches in aesthetics and effective communication programmes, principal Loo Ming Yaw said: "I'm very excited about this initiative, especially after hearing that film-maker Royston Tan is a partner as well. The network will expose students to different careers too."


★Community of Pathfinders in Action (COMPACT) ★The Pathfinders can give talks, conduct workshops, design programmes,...
Posted by Ministry of Education, Singapore on Monday, September 21, 2015

Getting parents more involved with schools
By Calvin Yang, The Straits Times, 23 Sep 2015

Housewife Abdoul Rahime Mahabouby started volunteering at East View Primary School as a "recess mum", helping lower primary pupils to get their meals during the break between lessons.

The 42-year-old, who has three children aged between nine and 13, became a parent volunteer in 2009 as she wanted to be more involved in her children's school lives.

Her older son, a Secondary 1 student at Montfort Secondary, was then a Primary 1 pupil at East View Primary. Her second son, 12, is now a Primary 6 pupil there.

Now, as chairman of the school's Parent Support Group, she organises programmes to engage parents. She said: "I wanted to know what is happening in the school, to interact with the teachers and pupils, and to learn along with my children."

She is also in the parent support groups at Montfort Secondary and St Hilda's Primary School, where her nine-year-old daughter is a Primary 3 pupil.

At the Ministry of Education's (MOE) work plan seminar yesterday, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted the work of such volunteers, and also encouraged parents to be involved in their child's education and school lives.

Recognising that supportive parents can complement the teachers' efforts in helping students, Mr Heng unveiled several initiatives to strengthen the partnership between parents and the schools.

These include resources, from guidelines to planning materials, that teachers can use to engage parents more effectively. Schools will receive these in November.

For instance, a set of scenario-based role-playing cards, designed to help teachers better understand students' needs and parents' concerns, will be introduced.

There will also be resources for parents to tap to support their children's education journey.

Parents of children starting Primary 1 next year will get an activity book in November, to help their children make the transition from pre-school to primary school. It has tips and activities to help parents familiarise themselves with routines in primary schools, such as ordering canteen food.

For parents of children at the upper primary and lower secondary levels, MOE will enhance the Education and Career Guidance (ECG) guide to equip them with information on the education and career pathways available. The guide will be distributed from next month.

These resources will complement the work of ECG counsellors, who will work with teachers to engage parents.

The first 50 ECG counsellors will be deployed to schools, polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education by next month.

Find out about the new initiatives and resources MOE has in store for parents, educators and students shared at this year’s Work Plan Seminar! #WPS2015
Posted by Ministry of Education, Singapore on Thursday, October 1, 2015

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