Speeches

Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli BMM, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs at the Official Launch of the E3 Cluster Schools' Home3 Trail on 13 November 2010 at Tampines West Community Club at 3 pm

Mrs Mary Koh,
Superintendent of E3 Cluster Schools

Principals

Chairman,
Tampines West CCC

Chairman,
Tampines West CCMC

Colleagues

Ladies and Gentlemen

Boys and Girls

Good afternoon

It gives me great pleasure to be here with you today as we celebrate the Official Launch of the E3 Cluster Schools’ HOME3 Trail. The HOME3 Trail, which was developed by the E3 Professional Engagement Committee, or NE in short, for National Education and the Humanities, represents its efforts in promoting National Education, especially the sense of community belonging, through a community trail.

Community Trail: Fostering a Sense of Belonging

As the country becomes more globalised, our community fabric has also become more complex. This happens as we receive new citizens who have chosen to make Singapore their home, as well as foreign talents and workers whom we engage to support our economy. The unique cultures which they bring along with them have further enriched our diverse cultural landscape.

The HOME3 Trail is hence, a timely response to these changes to our social fabric. The NE hopes to foster a deeper sense of belonging in its stakeholders by helping them ‘re-discover’ the place where they live, learn, work and play. By visiting selected landmarks located in Tampines New Town and the adjacent Pasir Ris New Town, participants on the Trail will learn about the history of Tampines and Singapore as well as the unique socio-cultural landscape of the various ethnic and civic groups in Singapore. These landmarks include places of worship such as the Jiu Tian Xian Nu Temple and Masjid Darul Ghufran, civic institutions such as the Jamiyah Home for the Aged and Changi Chapel and Museum. I am sure that some of us here might not be aware that Tampines New Town was accorded the World Habitat Award1 in 1992. If this is so, why not find out more about this award from our young NE ambassadors during the learning journey?

Community: Service and Leadership

I am also pleased to note that from 2011 onwards, the National Education ambassadors from the twelve E3 Cluster Schools will work with Tampines West Community Club to conduct the HOME3 Trail for future new citizens as well as residents as part of their community involvement programme. Details of the collaboration will be made known to the residents in the near future.

For our young ambassadors, this collaboration provides a platform not only to hone their communication and leadership skills, but also demonstrate the principles and purpose of National Education. This hands-on approach is critical as community cohesion becomes more meaningful when built through purposeful interaction among stakeholders than through formal lessons in the classroom. As I understand, 2 cohorts of NE ambassadors comprising some 200 students from the E3 schools went through intensive training with a service provider between 2008 and 2009. In the last two years, trained NE ambassadors of the HOME3 Trail have conducted numerous trips for their respective schools as well as overseas visitors.

With effect from this year, the NE has started its own ‘in-house’ training for the trail. The NE began by training NE ambassadors from the secondary schools. These in turn conducted training for NE ambassadors from the primary schools. This form of peer-to-peer support is to be encouraged if we are to build a cohesive society.

I urge the grassroots organizations to look upon this trail as yet another opportunity to work closely with schools and their student-leaders. In so doing, it is my hope that our grassroots organizations will help schools and their student leaders acquire the essential knowledge and skills to render voluntary service to the community in a more structured and purposeful manner.

E3 Cluster Schools

I would like to commend the E3 Cluster Schools for taking the initiative to foster collaboration among themselves and their community stakeholders. It is through such efforts, that schools can benefit from the combined synergy and resources of stakeholders and community groups to make their programmes more engaging and relevant for their students.

The presence of community partners today as well as the showcasing of NE efforts by the various E3 Cluster Schools speaks volumes about the E3 Cluster Schools’ commitment to National Education.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that the goal of building community cohesion and fostering a sense of belonging to one’s community will require a conscious effort from all community stakeholders. The NE has done well in initiating and developing the HOME3 Trail.

On this note, I would like to wish all of you a wonderful learning experience this afternoon.

Footnote

  1. The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 by the UK-based Building and Social Housing Foundation to recognise projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems. Tampines Town, being one of the more recently built new towns in Singapore at that time, demonstrates how the country is providing high-quality, high-density and affordable housing for its citizens, while retaining socially cohesive communities.