Speech by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Bin Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry Of Education at the Inaugural Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors Summit 2017

Published Date: 06 July 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. I am very happy to be able to join you today at the inaugural Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors Summit 2017.

2. Technology is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. With Singapore moving towards being a Smart Nation, we look forward to a future where the affordances of technology are harnessed to improve our lives and create more opportunities.

3. MOE’s efforts in promoting the effective and appropriate use of technology in education focuses on nurturing future-ready and responsible digital learners. The meaningful use of edtech facilitate engaged learning. EdTech, when used well, also deepens students’ subject mastery and facilitates opportunities for their development of 21st Century Competencies.

4. In light of this, it is important not only to prepare our students to become future-ready, but also as responsible digital learners. MOE’s efforts in Cyber Wellness Education, is guided by the principles of ‘Respect for Self and Others’, ‘Safe and Responsible Use’ and ‘Positive Peer Influence’.

5. Even as we optimise the many possibilities offered by technology, we must also be mindful of the potential risks and challenges brought about by the increased digitalisation. Fake news and misinformation has become a concern. The nature of the Internet and social media is such that such erroneous information can be widely spread in mere seconds. This can cause false alarm and bring about serious consequences. Students, including our younger ones in particular, may also have access to inappropriate content online. Another concern include students bullying others and being bullied online. We saw earlier how our kids spoke up about how they feel very strongly against cyber bullying. Due to the draw of digital games and social media, students may also spend excessive time on the Internet and end up neglecting their studies and spend less face-to-face time with their families and friends.

6. Peers are a strong influence during a child’s formative years. As adults may not be always in the same digital space with their children, peers can provide another layer of support to watch after each other. Students can also role-model good online habits and behaviours to influence their friends positively.

CELEBRATING CYBER WELLNESS EFFORTS

7. Today’s Summit celebrates the contributions of schools who have put in place structures and programmes to promote positive peer influence amongst students. We also want to recognise students who have been exemplary in supporting their peers in cyber issues.

8. The STAR Showcase exhibition features good ideas and practices from schools. We hope that they will inspire other schools to adopt and adapt these ideas and bring it back to their schools as well. For instance, in Huamin Primary School, students conduct term talks and activities on making safe and responsible choices online. They use videos, case scenarios, quizzes, and games to make them more authentic and engaging. They also guide their peers on how they can model positive online behaviour during the school’s annual Cyber Wellness competition.

9. I am heartened to hear that schools are also working closely with parents to promote Cyber Wellness. For example, students from Regent Secondary School conducted a survey for parents to understand their child’s cyber habits and produced a video to help parents understand how they can help their child overcome spending excessive time on digital games.

10. Besides the schools mentioned, there are many more who have done good work in promoting a whole-school approach to Cyber Wellness. Please join me in congratulating all our STAR Showcase schools.

11. Today we are also recognising 6 exemplary Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors. They have been nominated by their fellow peers in their schools and shortlisted from a panel of students committee with representatives across schools.

12. One example is Ong Jiang En from Pasir Ris Secondary School. His friend shared with us how Jiang En stood up for him when he was cyber bullied. Jiang En not only counselled and supported the victim, but also reached out to the bully. He was so effective that he managed to inspire the bully to become an advocate for Cyber Wellness. Today, the former bully actively advocates for Cyber Wellness and supports his fellow students using his past experience! I think this is a very nice story with a happy ending, and I hope this can inspire more students to look out for others. The value attributes showcased by Ong Jiang En is exemplary because as we move people into the cyber world, we need not only the infrastructure but also people who can look out for one another.

13. So, I am very proud of all our Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors. You have played a very important role. Your role is pivotal to what we do in the learning journey of our people because in today’s world, we can learn using various platforms. With the contributions of the Cyber Wellness Student Ambassadors, it helps to facilitate the learning process in a positive manner. Thank you for being a role-model to your friends and a positive peer influence online.

BUILDING AND SUSTAINING A HOLISTIC CYBER WELLNESS EDUCATION

14. I would like to acknowledge the hard work of our teachers, the Cyber Wellness Coordinators. We appreciate your contribution in putting in place a school-wide approach to Cyber Wellness education and guiding your student ambassadors.

15. MOE is committed to provide schools with support, in the form of timely lesson resource packages, professional development online modules and workshops as well as tip sheets and resources for parents. We have also recently developed a Cyber Wellness Education Implementation Self-assessment Checklist. It provides a set of considerations that schools can use to plan for a school-wide approach to Cyber Wellness education.

16. An example of resources MOE has produced is a series of videos with Cyber Wellness messages. I would like to invite you to watch two clips from the video series, “You Saved the World” and “How to be Cyber Safe”.

17. These videos are not just entertaining, they carry important Cyber Wellness messages. Teachers are free to use these videos which come with lesson ideas to facilitate discussions, encourage reflection, and reinforce Cyber Wellness messages learnt from the curriculum.

18. To further support your work, MOE has produced a Cyber Wellness Student Ambassador Training Handbook. Building on the good work done by many schools, the handbook curates and presents good practices for teachers to nurture a group of strong Cyber Wellness student ambassadors. We will be launching the handbook today.

19. Beyond teachers and students, parents also play an important role in shaping their children’s values and guiding their online behaviour. MOE will continue to provide schools with resources and support to work with parents, as partners in our children’s education. I think that as parents, we should continuously educate our children to optimise the resources and benefits of the Internet.

CONCLUSION

20. The theme for this summit is “Inspire, Empower, and Celebrate”. I hope that the activities planned will inspire and empower you to strengthen Cyber Wellness education in your schools. Thank you for working with us to nurture responsible digital learners for Singapore.

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