MOE FY2020 COMMITTEE OF SUPPLY DEBATE RESPONSE BY SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR EDUCATION, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR MUHAMMAD FAISHAL IBRAHIMINTRODUCTION
Mr Chairman, as I hear about how we are supporting our people to seize the opportunities of the future, I am reminded of the importance of nurturing well-rounded individuals guided by a strong set of values.
Indeed, MOE remains committed to this cause. That said, I am also reminded how important it is for all of us – parents, teachers, and the community – to work together to bring out the best in our children.
Mr Chairman, allow me to first speak in Malay.
EDUCATION IS A COLLECTIVE EFFORT
Sejak beberapa tahun ini, ramai ibu bapa yang saya temui berkongsi kebahagiaan serta pelbagai cabaran mereka sebagai ibu bapa – hingga ada yang tidak dapat tidur malam. Sebagai ayah kepada dua orang anak, saya faham akan sentimen mereka.
Sebagai ibu bapa, kita mahukan dan berusaha untuk memberikan yang terbaik untuk anak-anak kita. Pada masa yang sama, kita juga bertanggungjawab untuk membentuk mereka menjadi insan yang bertanggungjawab yang memiliki hala tuju berteraskan nilai-nilai moral, menghargai warisan, dan
seperti yang dikongsikan oleh Menteri Ong – asas yang kukuh untuk melayari dunia di hadapan mereka.
Inilah yang MOE sama komited untuk lakukan sedang kami melakukan perubahan pada sistem pendidikan seperti yang telah diperjelaskan oleh rakan-rakan seperjuangan saya. Cik Cheng Li Hui dan Encik Seah Kian Peng bertanyakan bagaimana usaha sama kami dengan ibu bapa, masyarakat dan
industri dapat membentuk nilai, sikap dan kemahiran yang betul alam diri pelajar-pelajar kita.
Pertama, sekolah-sekolah kita aktif mendekati ibu bapa dan bekerja rapat dengan mereka untuk menyokong anak-anak kita meneruskan kekuatan dan minat mereka dan membentuk nilai dan sikap yang baik. Garis Pandu Kerjasama SekolahKeluarga yang dikeluarkan tahun lepas disambut baik oleh ibu bapa dan sekolah-sekolah, dan kami melihat tanda-tanda yang memberangsangkan. Contohnya, tumpuan perbualan antara guru-guru dan ibu bapa kini berpindah daripada penekanan yang berlebih-lebihan pada pencapaian akademik ke kecenderungan pembelajaran pelajar, kesejahteraan fizikal dan mental mereka dan kelakuan mereka dalam bilik darjah.
Saya sangat teruja apabila Puan Titek Rohani, yang mempunyai anak bongsu yang kini berada di Sekolah Menengah berkongsi bagaimana beliau berusaha untuk belajar daripada guru-guru, kekuatan dan minat anaknya, hubungan anaknya dengan pelajar-pelajar lain dan sama ada anaknya menyumbang pada pembelajaran rakan-rakan sedarjah. Beliau juga bekerja rapat dengan pihak sekolah untuk membimbing anaknya meneroka laluan pendidikan berbeza.[English Translation for Paras 3-7] [Over the last few years, many parents have shared with me that being a parent has brought them tremendous joy – but equally, many sleepless nights. As a father of two children, I can
ROLE MODELS FOR OUR STUDENTS
Second, schools and parents work closely to role model good values and attitudes for our students. Values are both caught and taught, and likewise both practised and preached. I am very heartened to hear how parents and teachers are collectively encouraging and galvanising students amidst the COVID-19 virus situation. They are indeed role models for our students.
Our teachers have seized the opportunity to educate our students about the virus and their part to play. They do this through teaching scientific knowledge; inculcating good hygiene practices; as well as facilitating discussions on empathy, resilience, and a sense of community.
Parents too, have volunteered their time and effort to support the school community. For example, Rulang Primary School had sent out a circular to parents to inform them of the extra cleaning measures undertaken to ensure that the premises remained clean. In response, members of the Parent Support Group volunteered to help with cleaning efforts, which reduced the load of frontline support staff. In addition, the parents put together care packages to encourage the staff, cleaners and security officers for their hard work in ensuring that the school premises remained clean and safe.
From both our teachers and parents, our students are learning how they too can be part of the solution: by demonstrating kindness and being socially responsible. Together, they demonstrate the resilient, caring spirit of partnership that binds the nation together in trying times.
BROADENING STUDENTS’ HORIZONS WITH COMMUNITIES & INDUSTRIES
Lastly, community and industry partners have a big role to play in developing our students holistically. Our schools have been actively engaging them to provide a richer learning experience for our students and broaden their horizons. Mr Terence Ho asked what our plans were for developing local arts
institutions and suggested introducing local composers and compositions as part of our music curriculum.
This is something that we have done. One of MOE’s key learning objectives of the Music syllabi is for students to appreciate music across local and global cultures. During music lessons, our students are introduced to traditional and contemporary music in Singapore through a selection of songs
that reflects Singapore’s diverse and rich culture.
Some schools have gone further and engaged local artistes to contribute to their programmes. For instance, Boon Lay Secondary School works closely with industry practitioners – such as Ms Melissa Quek, the Head of the School of Dance and Theatre at the LaSalle College of the Arts – to plan and deliver dance lessons/workshops under the school’s Learning for Life Programme. This partnership has inspired students to appreciate the arts more deeply, and exposed them to different career possibilities.
MOE and MCCY will continue to closely study plans to develop our local arts institutions, including Mr Ho’s suggestion of an arts university, taking into account the evolving arts education landscape and developments in the industry.
REAFFIRMING OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR STUDENTS
Mr Chairman, I would also like to take this chance to reaffirm the government’s commitment to supporting our students. Ms Anthea Ong asked if we would extend subsidies for Primary school students with foreign passports.
All students in our primary schools benefit from education subsidies, with some differentiation in the amount of subsidy to reflect the benefits of citizenship. Likewise, Singaporean students in MOE-funded schools who need financial support are eligible for financial assistance schemes. Nonetheless, noncitizen students with at least one Singaporean or Permanent Resident parent can approach our schools for assistance. We will assess their situations and exercise flexibility on a case-bycase basis.
Mr Muhamad Faisal Abdul Manap asked if we would extend the Financial Assistance Scheme and Edusave Award to fulltime madrasah students. He drew a parallel with the provision of Edusave Contributions (EC) to madrasah students.
This comparison is mistaken. All Singapore Citizens age 7 to 16, regardless of school, receive an annual EC based on their age. This ensures every Singapore Citizen child receives support for secular enrichment activities.
The Edusave Awards, by contrast, is part of the programme in our national schools. They recognise the character, leadership, conduct, learning dispositions, and academic achievements of students enrolled in national schools. Similarly, the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme caters to students in MOE-funded schools. Students in private schools are hence not eligible for the Financial Assistance Scheme or Edusave Awards.
That said, the Government recognises the role that the madrasahs play for the community. Hence, students in madrasahs receive support through the Edusave Contributions.
They are also eligible for the Madrasah Student Awards administered by MUIS, which recognise madrasah students’ educational excellence.
In addition, MUIS provides assistance for madrasah students from low-income families through the Progress Fund Madrasah Assistance Scheme (PROMAS). Furthermore, PROMAS recipients who perform well in both their religious and secular subjects and exhibit exemplary character are also
eligible for the PROMAS Performance Award.
Mr Chairman, in closing, I would like to reiterate that it is only through our collective efforts – with parents, teachers, and the community – that we bring out the best in our children and nurture well-rounded individuals guided by a strong set of values.
While we may play different roles, we can all work together, as MOE’s mission statement proclaims, ‘to mould the future of our nation’.
Watch the speech here