Education Efforts in the IHLs Regarding the COVID-19 Situation

Published Date: 26 February 2020 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Mohamed Irshad, Nominated Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education what efforts are being undertaken to educate our educators and lecturers in our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) so that they are aware of (i) the effects of the novel coronavirus (ii) efforts undertaken by the Government to manage the developing situation and (iii) the part they can play in social defence by calming any unnecessary panic that may arise among our IHL students.

Response

1. The Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have been actively keeping their campus communities updated on the evolving COVID-19 situation. Government efforts to manage the outbreak in Singapore as well as the precautionary measures taken are explained to the communities in these IHLs. They are doing this through various advisories and resources.

2. Ground practices play a part in education too. These include reminders on the importance of good hygiene, wearing a mask when sick, twice-daily temperature-taking, requiring those returning from mainland China, or now Korea, to stay at home for the first 14 days, and cancelling, deferring or adjusting large-scale events to mitigate risks.

3. Beyond technical knowledge, the COVID-19 situation is also a teachable moment to build resilience. In ITE, a Total Defence lesson package covering content on the COVID-19 situation will be used in all Life Skills classes this month. Polytechnics will roll out similar packages later in April, after their exams and term break. The universities will incorporate similar lessons where opportune. For example, SMU's core curriculum for all Year 1 undergraduates includes a course on social resilience and total defence, using the SARs outbreak as one case study. It will incorporate insights from the ongoing COVID-19 situation.

4. Many students and staff are also stepping forward with help and moral support. In the universities, student groups have rallied to provide support and daily food deliveries for their peers living on-campus but required to stay in their rooms. In our polytechnics, staff from our Nursing schools help to train their colleagues in conducting temperature screening. These ground initiatives and actions are contagious, demonstrated the courage of the Singapore society, and has more education value than many formal courses.

5. We should build on these positive initiatives to build a more resilient and cohesive Singapore. Together, I am confident we can overcome this COVID-19 episode.

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