Speeches

Speech by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence at the Closing Ceremony of Jamb 100 cum 3rd ASEAN Jamboree on Wednesday, 8 December 2010, at 7.30 pm at Sarimbun Scout Camp

Mr Noel Hon,
President, Singapore Scout Association

Mr Tan Cheng Kiong,
Chief Commissioner, Singapore Scout Association

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Participants

Good evening

Introduction

I would like to congratulate the scout movement on its 100th centurion anniversary. It is a significant milestone and I am honoured to be able to celebrate this special occasion with you. The scouting movement in Singapore has come a long way since it was first officially inaugurated here in 1910. As one of the oldest youth movements in Singapore, it has currently 10,000 members, with 900 volunteers that serve the scout movement with dedication and commitment. The Singapore Scout Association is also the second largest non–national uniformed group with 120 scout groups in Primary Schools and 65 in Secondary Schools.

21st Century Competencies

The scout movement is very much part and parcel of the Singapore education system – an integral partner that helps its student members build character and leadership. Its self–education programme encourages individuals to be actively involved in and be responsible for their own development as a self–reliant, supportive, responsible and committed person.

These too are the desired outcomes and 21st century competencies that we want to see every student embody. We aim for each child to be a confident person, self–directed learner, active contributor and a concerned citizen. We want to imbue students with knowledge and soft skills underpinned by values such as respect, responsibility, care, resilience and harmony. MOE believes, like the scout movement, that this will help students manage their emotions, develop care and concern for others, make responsible decisions, establish positive relationships, as well as handle challenging situations effectively. The 21st century competencies framework aims to impart to our students global awareness, civic literacy and critical thinking, and information and communication skills necessary for the globalised world we live in.

Scouting’s role in the community

The scout movement’s goals are therefore very much aligned to MOE’s framework of skills, knowlege and values. Scouting encourages the holistic physical, mental, spiritual and social development of youth with a strong emphasis on duty to country and helping other people. It is grounded in values and practices that help one to develop a strong sense of rootedness. These include “promoting a culture of peace”, “developing socially–committed members”, “inclusiveness” and “gender balance”. These values and practices have moulded scouts to contribute to world peace and racial harmony, and build positive interpersonal relationships. These are also important values for nation–building, especially in a multi–racial and multi–religious society like Singapore.

Scouting has also expanded beyond school–based groups, leading to 28 open groups formed with a total of 774 members. The SSA promotes family and community bonding through its strategic thrust – Scouting builds Families; Scouting builds Community. I am told that parental involvement in scouting activities has increased. Notable among them are the scout groups in Henry Park Primary and Gongshang Primary, where many parents take the lead and volunteer their time to organise scouting activities. This is encouraging as this would lead to greater family bonding. I understand also that the Scout Association is reaching out to senior citizens or retirees since 2006, who had missed the opportunity to join scouting in their younger days. The SSA has since trained some 273 seniors (those 50 years and above) in community scouting. This, I am sure, helps to promote inter–generational bonding and life–long learning.

I understand that the SSA has recently embarked on an aggressive recruitment drive based on the concept that “Everyone can be a Scout”, and plans are afoot to expand the outreach to attract more youths. I wish the SSA every success in your recruitment drive.

Jamb 100 – 3rd ASEAN Jamboree

I understand that every scout aims to attend at least one jamboree in their scouting journey, as it is a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. This year’s jamboree commemorates 100 years of scouting and has 3,000 scouts and leaders from Singapore, and countries from ASEAN and other parts of the world. Tonight’s jamboree is the finale of five mega events held over the past six days, ranging from sporting and adventure activities, to art and cultural exchanges, educational visits and leadership programmes.

I am happy to see members from other Uniformed Groups such as St John Ambulance Brigade (SJAB), Girl Guides and National Cadet Corps participating in the jamboree. Members of SJAB also provided first–aid and set up educational booths to raise participants’ awareness in first–aid related issues. The International Service Team comprised leaders of Overseas National Scout Organisations who volunteered to share their expertise and experiences with our local leaders. All these further strengthened the bonding during the jamboree.

I can tell from the happy faces tonight that you must all have had an enjoyable and fulfilling time at the jamboree. I wish every participant many more quality years of scouting. I now declare the 3rd ASEAN Jamboree closed.