Monday, August 19, 2019

Open public suggestion to Mr Ong Ye Kung – Minister for Education: Include community work during orientation programmes

Despite warnings of disciplinary action against students and their leaders involved in questionable behavior during orientation programmes, yet another incident of crude behaviour has surfaced, as reported in” NTU probes video of students making crude chant and gestures” (The New Paper, Aug 16,2019).

A strong signal must be sent that such incidents will never be tolerated – period.

I am sure students can be taught more value-added lessons.

Singapore has a fast ageing population and we have an acute shortage of volunteers.

It's so heart-wrenching to see the elderly sick in hospitals. Often their caregivers are their own elderly spouses. Some of the elderly sick may not have children, some have children who are not able to care or visit them as the children fall into the sandwich class where they have children of their own to take care of.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) could make bold changes to its orientation programmes by exposing students to community work where students and their leaders can visit the elderly sick in hospitals and befriend them.  

Training can be provided by professionals from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

The collaborations between MSF & MOE on support for the elderly sick during orientation programmes could be a pilot scheme and if proven successful, could be included in all future prorgmmes at all tertiary institutions

Bottom line: Students must reject outright immoral activities and provide love and support to our seniors that will build the all-rounded student.




Dear Mr Raymond Fernando,
Thank you for your email to Minister Ong.
We agree with you that such inappropriate behaviour has no place in our universities. Besides taking disciplinary actions against students involvedin the incident, NTU will also counsel them, and emphasise to them the importance of values such as respect and inclusiveness in the NTU and wider Singapore society
Indeed, caring for vulnerable groups like the elderly is an important attribute we hope to nurture in our students. Today, our universities havea range of student groups who volunteer in the community, including in old folks homes and hospitals. We will share your idea with the universities, to see how elements of such activities could be incorporated into their orientation programmes.

Thank you,
Guo Yiran (Ms)
Assistant Director, Higher Education Policy Division
Ministry of Education (Singapore)


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