The Ministry of Education congratulates the Singapore team for winning the 27th World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) held in Singapore. A total of 53 nations participated in this event that took place from 27 July to 6 August. The first runner-up and second runner-up are Canada and Pakistan respectively.
The five-member Singapore team consists of:
- Arthur Lee from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent);
- Bryan Yan from Hwa Chong Institution;
- Chong Ee Hsiun from Raffles Institution;
- Ernest Goh from Raffles Institution;
- Samuel Loh from Raffles Institution.
They are led by their coach, Mrs Geetha Creffield, Head of Department for Arts at Anglo-Chinese Junior College, and team manager Miss Evelyn Woels, Senior Curriculum Specialist at the Ministry of Education.
Two of the team members, Bryan Yan and Ernest Goh, also garnered top accolades for their overall performance in the WSDC, by ranking 4th and 8th respectively out of 250 competing debaters.
Coach Mrs Geetha Creffield said: “The competition process was extremely challenging, as the WSDC is a global platform that gathers the most able debating students from all around the world. I am very proud of the students, who have shown extreme grit and determination, made full use of their skills and knowledge, as well worked hand-in-hand as a team despite the challenging process. I am certain that the experience has been an enriching learning experience for them.”Competition Format of the WSDC
The WSDC is a global competition for debaters between the ages of 14 and 19. Each participating nation submits a team of five students to debate social, moral and political issues.
The competition format is a combination of prepared and impromptu rounds of debates, with teams having one hour to prepare for the latter. Teams had to first go through eight preliminary rounds. After which, the top 16 teams faced each other in knock out rounds, followed by the quarter-finals, the semi-finals, and then the Grand Final that took place in the evening of 5 August.Background of the WSDC
The inaugural WSDC was held in Australia in 1988 with six participating nations: Australia, Canada, England, Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United States.
Singapore first participated in the WSDC in 1995 and has since been a regular participant. Our past good results in the WSDC include: emerging 2nd in 2003 and 2007, 3rd in 2009 and 2010, and winning the Championship in Scotland in 2011.
The WSDC 2015 was organised by the Schools Debating Society with the support of the Ministry of Education. This is the second time that Singapore is hosting the WSDC; Singapore has previously hosted the WSDC in 2002 with 28 nations participating.
A two-day conference on Higher Education Futures that gathers leaders and experts in academia and public policy to discuss trends and challenges in global higher education will be held in Singapore from 14 to 15 October 2015. The first of its kind among conferences organised in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the conference will also explore ideas to meet these challenges and leverage opportunities in higher education.
There are four themes for the OECD-Singapore Conference on Higher Education Futures:
- Mapping and meeting future demand for higher education;
- The rise of higher education in Asia and the impact on the global landscape;
- Technology, disruption and the 'unbundling' of higher education: challenges to traditional modes of education; and
- Two sides of the same coin: resource challenges, the drive for quality and imperatives for relevance.
The conference comprises four plenary sessions and accompanying parallel sessions in a seminar/workshop format, which features Ministers, academics and senior practitioners who are internationally recognised and well regarded in their respective fields.
Minister for Education, Singapore, Mr Heng Swee Keat, and Deputy Secretary-General of the OECD, Mr Stefan Kapferer, are slated to deliver opening addresses at the conference. Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, Singapore, Ms Indranee Rajah, is also scheduled to speak at the first plenary session. The line of speakers includes:
- Professor Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, USA;
- Professor Bertil Andersson, President, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore;
- Professor Madeleine Atkins CBE, Chief Executive, Higher Education Funding Council for England, United Kingdom;
- Professor Simon Marginson, Professor of International Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education, University College of London, United Kingdom; and
- Professor Ka Ho Mok, Vice President (Designate) and Chair Professor of Comparative Policy, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
For more information about the programme, speakers and registration, please visit www.oecdconference.sg. The closing date for registration is 9 October 2015.
For queries on the conference, please contact:MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Ms Lian Hui
Senior Officer, International Relations
Ms Wang Jiehui
Senior Head, Policy
Higher Education Division
ORGANISATION FOR ECONOMIC CO-OPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT (OECD)
Professor Peter Coaldrake
Chair, Institutional Management in Higher Education Governing Board
Queensland University of Technology
First Scholarships Awarded Under New Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme (START) - Giving Singaporeans a Career Jumpstart in Academia
At the inaugural Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme (START) Award Ceremony today, students keen on a research and academic career received their scholarships from Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education. The scheme will support our universities in building up a strong Singaporean core of academic and research talent. This year, 19 students were awarded scholarships under START. The list of recipients can be found in the Annex.START
START aims to support young Singaporeans who are keen to pursue academic careers at our local Autonomous Universities (AUs) by providing scholarships at the undergraduate as well as the postgraduate levels. START comprises the Ministry of Education - Autonomous University (MOE-AU) Scholarship and selected postgraduate faculty development programmes offered by the AUs to Singaporeans.
The MOE-AU Scholarship sponsors students’ undergraduate studies at local or overseas institutions. Generally, recipients are expected to complete their undergraduate and Master’s degree (if any) in four years. Each MOE-AU Scholarship recipient is paired with an AU, with the university providing tailored academic mentorship and other developmental opportunities during the recipients’ studies. Upon completion of their studies, MOE-AU Scholarship recipients are expected to apply for and obtain a postgraduate scholarship from the AU with which they are paired. The MOE-AU Scholarship is fully funded by MOE.
At the postgraduate level, MOE will co-fund 50 per cent of the cost of postgraduate faculty development programmes offered by the AUs, such as the National University of Singapore’s Overseas Graduate Scholarship and Overseas Postdoctoral Fellowship, and the Nanyang Technological University’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences International PhD and Postdoctoral Scholarship. These scholarships support outstanding students as they pursue PhD and postdoctoral programmes at top overseas institutions, before returning to serve in our local AUs.Enhancements for PhD and Masters by Research Students in AUs
At the event, Mr Heng also announced enhancements to the terms and conditions for Singaporean PhD and Masters by Research students in our AUs who are on Research Scholarships supported by MOE. Effective 1 August 2015, there will be an increase in their monthly stipends and they will also start receiving Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions while doing their programmes.
MOE supports research scholarships in the AUs to train postgraduate manpower to support Singapore’s long-term vision to be a research-intensive, innovative and entrepreneurial economy. The research scholarships are given to deserving postgraduate research students in the AUs to cover tuition fees in addition to a monthly stipend. The stipend is meant to cover living expenses and lower the opportunity costs of pursuing postgraduate research programmes (as such students would otherwise be working and earning a salary). From 1 August 2015, the monthly stipends will be increased for Singaporean students. Singaporean PhD and Masters by Research students will also start receiving monthly voluntary CPF contributions, pegged at the prevailing employer’s CPF contribution rate of 17 per cent. These enhancements will help reduce the opportunity costs and better support Singaporeans pursuing their PhD and Masters by Research in our AUs. Currently, postgraduate research students do not receive CPF contributions as they are not employees.
Keen in nurturing a love for Mother Tongue Languages in children? The Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) Symposium is back again this year to help you do that! Be inspired by our speakers and pick up useful advice from local and international experts on how we can help children enjoy learning and using their MTL!
The 4th MTL Symposium will be held on Saturday, 29 August 2015, from 11 am to 8pm, at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre. Themed "Our Mother Tongues as Living Languages", this year's MTL Symposium emphasises the importance of building a firm MTL foundation from young and how the family can help the child acquire the MTL confidently.
Into its fourth year, the MTL Symposium aims to bring together Singapore schools and the community to share their collective efforts in developing our children as active learners and proficient users of MTL. As in previous years, the focus of the Symposium will be on children from pre-school to lower primary levels. The emphasis will be on the importance of creating a home environment that is supportive of MTL acquisition.
The Symposium will feature a total of 20 sharing sessions and workshops, and 40 exhibition booths.
Sharing sessions and workshops: Participants can learn from local and international experts, and invited parent speakers, on fun and engaging ways to involve children in the learning of MTL. An informative session on the revised 2015 Primary School MTL Curriculum will be conducted by curriculum developers from MOE. Registration for the sharing sessions and workshops is now open to the public at www.mtls.com.sg.
Exhibition booths: Set up by pre-school centres, schools and community partners, parents and educators can explore fun and innovative ways of igniting a child's love for MTL learning.
A new feature in the symposium this year is the sale of a wide range of selected MTL learning resources. Children can also participate in "The MTL Challenge" activities at various booths, win attractive prizes, and be treated to an all-day programme of storytelling and performances at the MTL Wonderland.
Admission to the Symposium is free. The first 5,000 visitors will receive a goody bag. Registration is on a first-come-first-served basis. Members of the public may visit the website www.mtls.com.sg for a list of activities and exhibitions at the MTL Symposium and to register their interest.
The 2015 Singapore Youth Festival (SYF) Art Exhibition, themed “artist: Past. Present. Future” and inspired by SG50, celebrates the artist in every student and signifies the access to art for all students in our schools - an integral part of holistic education. For the first time, the exhibition will be presented to the public in the layout of a playground, to encourage visitors to be creative, light-hearted and open-minded while appreciating the artwork of students.
The exhibition will be launched by the Director-General of Education, Mr Wong Siew Hoong. He says: “The annual Singapore Youth Festival is a useful opportunity for students to showcase their talents and the product of their hard work to the public. Students have reflected on what SG50 means to them personally, exploring the links between Singapore’s history and what their hopes are for this country. This introspection is reflected in the artwork on display. It’s inspiring to see the thought and effort that has gone into every piece of art, as the students worked as a team and persevered to produce their best work. I invite the public to come view the exhibition as we celebrate our nation’s birthday.”
The SYF Art Exhibition will showcase 177 selected pieces of artworks by primary and special education students. A range of artwork, encompassing a diversity of art forms and media, will be on display. In addition, 5 TVs on-site will showcase digital images of all 489 pieces submitted from 190 schools. A list of selected artwork for reporting can be found in Annex A.
The SYF Art Exhibition will be held at Raffles City Shopping Centre from 9 to 19 July 2015. Members of the public are welcome to the Art Exhibition to support the artistic endeavours of our youth. Admission is free.
Visit the SYF website at www.singaporeyouthfestival.sg for more information, and follow SYF on:
The 2015 School Placement Exercise for Returning Singaporeans (SPERS) is open for registration from 8 July 2015 for Singaporean children who are returning from overseas and wish to join our secondary schools, junior colleges (JC) or Millennia Institute (MI) at the beginning of academic year 2016. The registration can be done online at the following links:
- SPERS-Sec: http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/spers-sec/
- SPERS-JC/MI: http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/spers-jc-mi/
SPERS is a centralised placement exercise held at the end of the year for Returning Singaporeans (RS). With SPERS, Singaporean parents working abroad can look forward to easier re-entry into the mainstream school system for their children when they return to Singapore. RS children will only need to sit for one set of centralised SPERS tests for school admission.
RS children seeking admission to Secondary (Sec) 1 to 3 in 2016 can take the SPERS-Sec tests on 29 September 2015. RS seeking admission to Pre-University (Pre-U) 1 can take the SPERS-JC/MI tests on 18 November 2015. As Sec 4 and Pre-U 2 are national examination years, RS generally would not re-join at these levels. Applicants will receive their school placement results in December 2015 and will be able to join our secondary schools and JC/MI at the start of the school term in early 2016.Supplementary Placement Exercise
For RS who are unable to return in time to take the SPERS-Sec tests in late September 2015, MOE will also conduct a Supplementary Placement Exercise in December 2015 to facilitate their admission into our secondary schools. The centralised tests for the Supplementary Placement Exercise will be held in mid-December 2015 and applicants will receive their school placement results in early February 2016 for school admissions from February 2016. Registration for the Supplementary Placement Exercise will open in October 2015.
While RS can choose to take part in either the SPERS-Sec or the Supplementary Placement Exercise, RS are advised to register for SPERS-Sec if they are able to return in late September as their children would benefit from starting the academic year 2016 in January together with their peers.Information/Registration Website
Details of the 2015 SPERS-Sec, SPERS-JC/MI and the Supplementary Placement Exercise can be found in the Annex. For more details and registration, please refer to the MOE website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/admissions/returning-singaporeans/ or contact us at the following:MOE Customer Service Centre
1 North Buona Vista Drive
Tel: 6872 2220
RS who are unable to participate in the centralised placement exercises may wish to refer to the MOE website or contact MOE for other options for school admission.
RS seeking admission to primary schools may approach MOE at any time of the year for assistance. MOE will offer the RS a place in a primary school with vacancies near the child's home at a level appropriate for the child's age cohort. The RS will not have to sit for any placement test for admission, although the primary school may conduct assessment tests after admission to ascertain the child's current attainment level and provide the appropriate assistance to help the child settle into the school.
92 students received the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS) at the 2015 SgIS Award Ceremony today which was graced by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education. This is also the first year that 34 scholars - comprising recipients from the inaugural batch of SgIS Full-Term scholars and SgIS Mid-Term scholars from 2013 and 2014 - will graduate and start work with their respective Sponsoring Organisations in the industry.
This scholarship is unique as it is the first multi-industry scholarship with a strong partnership between the Government and private enterprises to develop a strong core of Singaporeans to anchor strategic sectors that are critical for Singapore’s development. In line with the national SkillsFuture movement, which aims to provide Singaporeans with opportunities to develop their fullest potential through the mastery of skills, SgIS has a strong focus on meaningful industry exposure and skills development.
Whilst studying in university, scholarship recipients undertake induction programmes, internships and mentorships by senior management, as part of the SgIS Scholars’ Development and Engagement Programme, The Programme enables them to develop skills and gain industry-relevant professional experiences with their Sponsoring Organisations, expose them to have a broader perspective and nurture a culture of serving the community. It also helps scholarship recipients have greater certainty and clarity about their passion and career aspirations, integrate into the workplace much better and faster and contribute even more meaningfully as future leaders of key industry sectors in Singapore.
The number of Sponsoring Organisations participating in SgIS has grown over the years to 47 organisations this year, as they recognise the importance of grooming a core of Singaporean talent to give them the competitive advantage in a global market. They come from 16 wide-ranging industries, from engineering, aviation, tourism, power, maritime, healthcare, to arts and culture and social services (see Annex B for the list of Sponsoring Organisations). These are important future growth sectors which will meet critical needs in our society.
Since 2012, about 380 Singaporean students have received the SgIS scholarship. With a strong focus on skills mastery and continuous learning, SgIS will continue in its long term commitment to groom Singaporean talent into future industry leaders for the various strategic sectors in Singapore.
The Outstanding Pre-school Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Teacher Award1, jointly presented by the committees2 to promote MTLs, and supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, recognises pre-school teachers for their passion in making the learning of MTLs interesting and in nurturing a love for languages among pre-school children.
This year, 13 award recipients were selected from a total of 100 nominations. Minister of State Ms Sim Ann will be presenting the six Outstanding Awards and seven Merit Awards at the 4th Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) Symposium on Saturday, 29 August 2015. The list of award recipients can be found in Annex A.
The selection panel consisted of nine experienced pre-school educators and academics. On-site lesson observations were conducted and the teachers also presented their lesson plans and training videos to the panel members during interviews.4th Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) Symposium
Into its fourth year, the MTL Symposium brings together Singapore schools and the community to share our collective efforts in promoting MTL through creative and engaging programmes. The MTL Symposium, jointly organised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the committees to promote MTLs, will be held at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre, from 11:00am to 8:00pm on Saturday, 29 August 2015.
Themed “Our Mother Tongues as Living Languages”, this year’s MTL Symposium emphasises the importance of building a firm MTL foundation from young and how the family can help the child acquire the MTL confidently.
A new feature in the symposium this year is the sale of a wide range of selected MTL learning resources. Children can also participate in “The MTL Challenge” activities at various booths, win attractive prizes, and be treated to an all-day programme of storytelling and performances at the MTL Wonderland.
Besides 20 sharing sessions and workshops, there will also be 40 exhibition booths set up by pre-school centres, schools and various partners, showcasing innovative teaching methods and community programmes that help to nurture children as active learners and proficient users of their MTL. A list of activities and exhibitions at the MTL Symposium can be found at www.mtls.com.sg. Admission is free.Footnotes
- The Outstanding Pre-school Chinese Language Teacher Award was first introduced in 2009 by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning. From 2013, the award has been renamed the Outstanding Pre-school Mother Tongue Language Teacher Award to recognise the contributions of all MTL teachers.↩
- The committees comprise the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning, the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee, and the Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee. ↩