Led by Chairperson Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower, and Vice-Chairperson Ms Sim Ann, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Law, COMPASS members visited Yu Neng Primary School on 16 April 2012 to observe how the school works with its stakeholders to build character and citizenship in its pupils.
Kicking off the school visit was a presentation by officers from the Character and Citizenship Branch from MOE. They spoke about the importance of Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) in schools and how the inculcation of values and the teaching of social emotional competencies can be done through various curricular and co-curricular activities in the school. Through a 21st Century Competencies’ Framework that places values at its core, the CCE Branch explained how its 8 learning outcomes to develop character and citizenship could be attained, and why the reframing of CIP to ‘Values in Action’ is necessary—to reflect a more coherent and sustainable learning through community involvement. Lastly, acknowledging the fact that character education cannot be the sole responsibility of schools alone, the presenters emphasised the need for schools to involve its stakeholders, particularly the parents, in their journey to nurture Singapore citizens of good character.
Providing an insight to how CCE is actualised through school activities, Yu Neng Primary’s Principal, Mdm Elis Tan Lee Ching, outlined how the school nurtures pupils’ character and citizenship through a Home-School-Community partnership. With school values at its core, its CCE framework engages its pupils’ head, hands and heart to Appreciate the Singapore story, Build bonds with its community and to Contribute to the Singapore story in various ways. Through CCAs, its pupils demonstrate the talent and skills acquired to positively impact and serve the community. An example of a Service Learning Project is when its Info-Communication CCA Club members coach the senior citizens from the Moral Neighbourhood Link on how to navigate the Internet and communicate online with their grandchildren overseas.
COMPASS members were then brought on a school tour of 6 stations that includes observing how its Parent Volunteers teach the value of respect and care for the environment to pupils through the recycling of used cooking oil and newspapers. They also observed a Form-Teacher-Guidance-Period (FTGP) on how teachers interact and build positive relationships with their pupils to support their holistic development during the period. COMPASS members saw how this quality curriculum time set aside allows for purposeful pupil-teacher interactions and the explicit teaching of social and emotional competencies to pupils through games, activities and conversations. The Captains of the school table-tennis and badminton CCAs also explained to COMPASS members how they learn about fairness, responsibility and how they build resilience through the playing of the sport. The tour also introduced how its P3 pupils ‘Appreciate the Singapore story’ through its Sand Animation Project, and how it partners with Starbucks to make compost out of their used coffee beans to plant crops in the school garden and beyond.
Mr Hawazi, Ms Sim Ann and the COMPASS members then engaged the school’s stakeholders in interesting conversations over tea. The Prefects, CCA leaders, Parent Support Group, SAC, Alumni Chairpersons and Key Personnel exchanged views on issues pertaining to character and citizenship with the COMPASS members. Discussions ranged from how the school balances academic rigour with the inculcation of values and skills, and how its stakeholders work hand-in-hand with the school to promote citizenship and build character.
Stakeholders thanked the COMPASS members for their attention and engagement with the pupils during the school tour segment before taking their leave. COMPASS Members proceeded with their COMPASS meeting shortly thereafter.