Parliamentary Replies

November 20, 2018

UPLIFT - Target group and scope

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education whether the inter-agency taskforce on Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families will be looking at issues affecting older children other than pre-school children, and youths in their review of the support in place for students from disadvantaged families.

Response

1. We have set up UPLIFT (Uplifting Pupils in Life and Inspiring Families Taskforce) to find ways to better support students from disadvantaged homes, especially those who are under-performing in our schools.

2. The Taskforce will seek to help students across all ages. There will be a particular focus on preschool and primary school students so we can prioritise the upstream interventions, where there is greatest potential for positive change and long term impact. However, we will also look at how other age groups can be best helped.

3. UPLIFT has preliminarily identified three areas of focus that span all student age groups. First, we will consider how these students’ motivation and resilience can be improved and strengthened, so that they can get the most out of the current school efforts to level them up academically. Second, UPLIFT will study the extent and the underlying reasons of long-term absenteeism in our primary and secondary schools, exploring ways to close this small but persistent gap. Third, we will consider how to strengthen engagement and outreach to parents of disadvantaged families, with a view to improving their awareness of and connection to social and other relevant assistance, empowering them to overcome challenges and obstacles and providing support that would enable them to prioritise their children’s education.

4. The Taskforce has begun engagements with stakeholders who are in the frontline of working with disadvantaged children and their families, including teachers, school personnel, social workers, self-help groups and community partners. Their experiences and insights will help us to crystallise the issues that need to be addressed and to develop practical strategies and solutions to uplift students of the target profile and help them realise their full potential.