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  1. #5050
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    Default MOE to enhance development of student athletes

    By Alvina Soh | Posted: 05 September 2011 2045 hrs


    SINGAPORE: The Education Ministry plans to add more programmes to its Junior Sports Academies (JSAs) training to enhance the development of student athletes.

    It said it will include nutrition, mental strength, values and more Sports Science related programmes in the coming years.

    More than 300 student athletes from the Junior Sports Academies (JSAs) celebrated their graduation at Hwa Chong Institution Monday.

    They received their certificates of participation from Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Manpower Hawazi Daipi.

    They are the third batch of graduates who have completed the two-year JSA programme.

    The JSAs were launched in December 2007 to identify and develop talented athletes.

    Mr Hawazi Daipi said: "In the JSA, students from different schools with a similar passion for sports could come together to hone their fundamental skills and compete among themselves in a healthy environment to improve their standard of play."

    And 12-year-old Shameelia Saharudin is one of them.

    She joined the programme for Wushu in 2010 and her training has paid off.

    She recently clinched the top prize in the National Inter-Primary School Wushu Championships.

    "It teaches me how to be focused and mentally prepared whenever I am in competitions... Also, I love Chinese culture so I can learn more about it," said Ms Shameelia.

    There are a total of 21 JSAs catering to 11 sports. More than 800 students have graduated from the academies since they were launched three years ago.

    - CNA/cc

  2. #5051
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    Default S'pore to get first maritime museum next month

    Posted: 05 September 2011 1815 hrs



    Artist's impression of the Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium (MEMA) at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) waterfront. (Picture from www.rwsentosa.com)



    SINGAPORE: Singapore will get its first maritime museum on October 15. Called the Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium (MEMA), it'll form the latest attraction at the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) waterfront.

    RWS said the museum will be housed in an iconic steel and glass ship hull at the waterfront and will give museum goers a new experience that includes maritime talks and exploration on life-sized replica historical ships.

    This includes the Bao Chuan, a full-sized replica of the bow of legendary seafarer Admiral Zheng He's treasure ship.

    And also the Jewel of Muscat, a replica of a 9th Century Arab dhow that was a gift from Oman to Singapore.

    The museum was designed by Ralph Appelbaum, whose firm Ralph Appelbaum Associates is one of the largest museum design and planning firms in the world.

    RWS said admission to the museum will be priced affordably to reach out to as many segments of the community as possible.

    - CNA/cc
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  3. #5052
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    English language standards here must be raised: Lee Kuan Yew

    Published on Sep 7, 2011


    But former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew (above), who was speaking to some 1,200 educators and English Language experts gathered at the launch of the English Language Institute of Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: LIM WUI LIANG

    By Sandra Davie

    The emphasis on learning English as well as the mother tongue languages has given Singapore a headstart in relation to its neighbours.

    But former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who was speaking to some 1,200 educators and English Language experts gathered at the launch of the English Language Institute of Singapore, cautioned that this edge would not last forever as others in the region play catch up.

    To stay ahead and ensure that Singaporeans can hold their own internationally, Mr Lee said English standards here must be raised further.

    He said: 'Communication skills are one of the most important competencies needed in the 21st century workforce. If one is to succeed, he or she will need a mastery of English because it is the language of business, science, diplomacy and academia.'


    American English 'likely to prevail': Lee Kuan Yew

    Published on Sep 7, 2011





    By Leow Si Wan

    The American version of English will probably prevail over other forms and teachers may have to eventually accept this as inevitable, former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew on Tuesday.

    The growing dominance of the American media would mean that our population will increasingly be hearing the American version of English, he said.

    Speaking at the official opening of the English Language Institute of Singapore (Elis), he said that he, too, had been consciously switching between British and American English on the computer, and that he saw himself moving towards American English in a nod to the US being 'a dominant force'.

    Teachers might thus do well to accept this trend, and teach their students to recognise - and even speak - American English, he said.

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  4. #5053
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    Default World Bank to set up 'knowledge centre' in Singapore

    Published on Sep 7, 2011

    Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam (right) and World Bank President Robert Zoellick at the World Bank-Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit at the InterContinental hotel on 6 September 2011. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN


    The World Bank and its varied units will draw on Singapore's infrastructure expertise to set up a hub that will help developing countries.

    The new 'knowledge' centre, which was outlined by World Bank president Robert Zoellick at a conference here on Tuesday, will see its staff strength grow to about 70.

    'We need to unlock private-sector interest in infrastructure and bring more investors to the table,' said Mr Zoellick, who signed an agreement yesterday with Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam at the World Bank-Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit.

    'We need an integrated approach to support practical solutions for jump-starting the public-private partnership market. Our new hub can help meet those needs.'
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  5. #5054
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    Default Last-minute mystery donor clinches $8 million dinosaur deal

    Prominent Singaporean tops up donations to buy 3 skeletons from US

    Published on Sep 7, 2011


    Twinky, the baby among the three dinosaur skeletons that Raffles Museum has bought, was mounted last weekend in Utah in the US. -- PHOTO: RAFFLES MUSEUM OF BIODIVERSITY RESEARCH


    By Tan Dawn Wei

    The dinosaurs are really coming, thanks to a last-minute multimillion-dollar donation from a mysterious donor.

    After racing to raise $8 million to buy three near-complete dinosaur skeletons dug up from Wyoming in the United States, the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research sealed the deal on Monday.

    It almost did not happen, after the museum missed the July 31 deadline set by the sellers, Wyoming-based fossil company Dinosauria International.

    The museum had managed to raise close to only $2 million of the amount needed to secure the fossils.
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    Default Republic Poly students get real plane to tinker with

    Published on Sep 7, 2011


    Republic Polytechnic students putting a Jabiru J-160 aeroplane, bought second-hand from a private owner in Malaysia, back in running order yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: NURIA LING

    By Stacey Chia

    For three hours on Tuesday, students in Republic Polytechnic's diploma course in aerospace engineering awaited the arrival of an aeroplane on campus.

    No makeshift runway was needed. The plane, a Jabiru J-160 the school had bought second-hand from a private owner in Malaysia, was coming in a deconstructed state on board a lorry.

    The 8.2m wide and 6m long plane which arrived at about noon from Kuala Lumpur was re-assembled by six students, the first batch from their cohort due to start an internship with aerospace companies here next month.

    Third-year student Toh Wei Xiang, 21, said of the hands-on learning experience: 'We can finally put theory into practice. Up until now, the most realistic training that we've had has been on a flight simulator.'
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  7. #5056
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    Default Singapore, Australia in $4.5m science research tie-up

    Published on Sep 7, 2011

    A*Star chairman Lim Chuan Poh said: 'This agreement with NHMRC is a reflection of our growing scientific relations with Australian institutions in recent years. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA


    Singapore and Australia have signed a $4.5 million deal to further their collaboration in health and medical research.

    Singapore's Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) and Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will put that amount into the endeavour over the next three years.

    The money will fund research collaborations between groups in both countries in areas such as emerging infectious diseases and nanotechnology.

    The public-sector research agencies will also organise joint scientific conferences, with the first symposium scheduled to take place next year.
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  8. #5057
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    Default S'pore to help China in toll-road management

    Posted: 05 September 2011 1548 hrs


    ERP gantry (file pic)


    SINGAPORE: A deal has been signed to share Singapore's experience in toll-road related transactions with a state-owned conglomerate in Shandong, China.

    The deal was signed on Monday morning by the World Bank, the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE) and the Shandong Highway Engineering Group.

    Under the deal, the SCE will be the lead agency to bring in relevant financial, legal and technical experts to help the conglomerate divest its toll-road related assets to private sector investors.

    The World Bank will facilitate the provision of technical assistance on structuring and policy issues related to the transaction.

    The deal was signed ahead of the annual World Bank - Singapore Infrastructure Finance Summit which opens on Tuesday.

    - CNA/fa
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  9. #5058
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    Default NUS develops new technology to treat ballast water

    Posted: 05 September 2011 1201 hrs


    National University of Singapore


    SINGAPORE: A new more compact and environmentally-friendly technology developed locally to disinfect ballast water in ships may soon be used on vessels plying international shipping routes.

    The new technology is developed by a team of researchers from the Faculty of Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS).

    It treats the water using electrolysis and is already approved by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

    The system uses a patented and cost-effective electrode and a series of supporting devices to treat ballast water over a period of 10 to 12 hours.

    An NUS spin-off company has been formed to commercialise the technology in the next few years.

    The IMO requires all existing ships to be fitted with such systems by 2016.

    The development of the system was funded by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA).

    Ballast water is taken on and discharged by ships to maintain their stability while loading and unloading cargo. It is disinfected to prevent aquatic organisms being transferred from one environment to another, which could be harmful to the biodiversity of the local marine ecosystem.

    - CNA/fa
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  10. #5059
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    Default Stellar way to teach English in primary schools

    Story-telling and role-playing are effective, study finds

    Published on Sep 8, 2011


    Bukit View Primary 6 pupils (from left) Avani Gupta, Willard Ng and Rayhan Rahadian, all 12, donning costumes and role-playing characters under the Stellar programme. -- ST PHOTO: MUGILAN RAJASEGERAN


    By Sandra Davie & Leow Si Wan

    If children in primary schools appear more articulate and ready to speak up, it could well be a result of the way they are taught English.

    Called Stellar, short for Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading, the more interactive, fun way of learning the language was tried out on Primary 1 pupils in 30 primary schools in 2006 and rolled out islandwide three years later.

    Now, a Ministry of Education (MOE) study tracking pupils on this programme has data from a study to show that this way of teaching English goes beyond child's play to produce results.

    Dr Elizabeth Pang, MOE's programme director for literacy development who oversees the Stellar programme, explained that in the study, the listening, speaking, reading and writing skills of pupils from 10 Stellar pilot schools were monitored in the last four years and compared against those of their peers from schools where the programme was launched later.
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  11. #5060
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    Default Alzheimer's association uses iPad to help battle memory loss

    Alzheimer's association wins $15,000 in creativity contest among welfare organisations

    Published on Sep 8, 2011


    Sister Gerard Denise Lee, 80, pondering over the answer to a quiz on the iPad with nursing aide Elaine Lum (in yellow) by her side at the New Horizon Centre in Toa Payoh yesterday. The money won by the Alzheimer's Disease Association (Singapore) in the creativity contest will go towards buying more iPads for its four day-care centres. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

    By Judith Tan

    Madam Heng Kim Tow, a 97-year-old patient with Alzheimer's disease, has taken to using the iPad like a duck to water.

    She views the photographs of her family on the tablet computer, putting her back in touch with the people and events in her life, and plays an eye-hand coordination game of balancing a virtual egg on the screen of the device.

    The iPad is not hers. It belongs to the Alzheimer's Disease Association (Singapore), which is using the device to slow down the deterioration of the illness among the senior citizens in its day-care centres.

    Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. The symptoms usually set in slowly and worsen over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.
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  12. #5061
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    Default Singapore moves to 2nd spot in WEF Global Competiveness Report

    Published on Sep 8, 2011


    Singapore has nudged aside Sweden to claim second spot in the latest global competitiveness ranking as it continues to tread on a sure footing of economic growth and strong public institutions. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

    By Esther Teo

    Singapore has nudged aside Sweden to claim second spot in the latest global competitiveness ranking as it continues to tread on a sure footing of economic growth and strong public institutions.

    It moved up from third position last year - maintaining its lead among Asian economies - losing out only to Switzerland in the latest annual World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report released in Geneva on Wednesday.

    The United States continues its decline for the third year straight, falling one more place to fifth position.

    In addition to macroeconomic vulnerabilities that continue to build, concerns about government inefficiency and low public trust in politicians continue to weigh on its assessment.
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  13. #5062
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    Default Low fertility rate, no immigration will lead to S'pore's population decline

    By Tan Qiuyi | Posted: 07 September 2011 1105 hrs


    SINGAPORE: Singapore's resident population will decline and become extremely aged if the Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is extremely low and if there is no immigration.

    This is according to a landmark study on future population growth and change for Singapore published on Wednesday by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

    The study produced four population scenarios based on varying TFR and immigration levels.

    The study said with TFR at 1.24 births per woman and zero net migration, Singapore's population will decline to 3.03 million in 2050.

    With 30,000 migrants added annually, the population projection is 4.89 million in 2050.

    And with 60,000 migrants added annually, the population projection is 6.76 million in 2050.

    The study also looked at a situation where TFR can be raised to 1.85 births per woman by 2025 with no new immigration. With such a scenario, the study said population size can still only hit 3.37 million in 2050.

    The ratio of working people (between the ages of 15-64) to the elderly will also decrease. For instance, with low fertility and 30,000 new residents a year, the ratio drops from 8.6 in 2005, to 2.7 in 2050.

    A key conclusion obtained from the study is that without immigration, the total population will decline, even if Singapore's total fertility rate rises from the current 1.15 to 1.85. The number of working people available to support each elderly person is also set to drop in all the scenarios.

    However, Dr Yap Mui Teng, who is a senior research fellow at Institute of Policy Studies, said immigration can reduce the dependency burden.

    Dr Yap said: "Under the scenario with higher net migration, there will be more people of working ages to support each elderly, compared to the scenario with low migration or scenarios with zero net migration."

    Amid growing concerns from the ground about overcrowding and stiffer competition from foreign labour, some asked if population growth is absolutely necessary and how much is enough.

    Associate Professor Paulin-Tay Straughan from the National University of Singapore said it is important for the government to determine how much population growth is needed to ensure a balance between a vibrant economy and the social health of society.

    She said: "That's why these projections are so important. For us to understand how the projections are made, so that as a community together, we agree that these are the opportunity costs we're willing to accept because we all want to strive for this quality of life."

    The government had earlier said it does not target a specific population size.

    The study also projected that there will be fewer young people in Singapore if fertility rate remains low. The number of young people under 14 years of age will go down by more than half from 699,000 in 2005 to 274,400 by 2050.

    - CNA/fa/ac

  14. #5063
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    Default Badminton ramp up talent search

    Coach Liu confident a star will emerge from the National Intermediate Squad


    by Low Lin Fhoong
    04:45 AM Sep 08, 2011

    SINGAPORE - The Singapore Badminton Association (SBA) are ploughing an additional S$100,000 into their newly-formed National Intermediate Squad (NIS), boosting their yearly kitty to S$300,000 in their bid to bring back the Republic's golden years.

    Launched on May 30 with an initial batch of 19 shuttlers aged 12 to 16, the group will be expanded to 29 as the association lob for medals at the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics and the Summer Games in Rio two years later.

    Trials will be conducted next month to pick another 10, with invitations sent to badminton coaches to nominate up to two shuttlers each to battle for places in the squad.

    SBA staff and coaches will also be out talent-spotting at the ongoing Kason Age Group Badminton (Invitational) Tournament at the Chinese Swimming Club.

    Said SBA chief executive officer Bobby Lee: "We hope our next generation of badminton stars will come from the NIS. Our next Youth Olympics representative will definitely be from this group as we will be investing between S$10,000 and S$15,000 annually in each player for overseas competitions, facility rental, training and coaches."

    The sentiment was echoed by coach Liu Qingdong: "There will definitely be one - in the next four years a good player will come out from this batch. My hope is for them to get better in the next few years and earn a place in Team 1 with the seniors."

    The youngsters spend some 20 hours weekly under the watchful eyes of coach Liu, who handled the Sichuan province women's team prior to the Singapore appointment, as well as former Singapore internationals Jiang Yanmei and Liu Fan.

    Plans are also underway to conduct nightly training sessions for NIS players at a new badminton facility along Geylang Lorong 23 called the Singapore Badminton Hall. Being built by events company Arina Hogan at a cost of S$2 million, the 2,500 sq m venue will house a 300-seat gallery, a gymnasium, a 30-bed hostel and 14 courts, six of which will be air-conditioned.

    The public can book the courts after the hall's launch in the middle of next month, while the SBA will enjoy discounted rates. The national sports association also intend to host five of their annual age-group and national tournaments there starting next year.

    Said Arina Hogan general manager Richard Tan: "We built this out of a love for badminton and named it Singapore Badminton Hall out of nostalgia for the old place (along Guillemard Road). We want these to be the best courts in Singapore in terms of experience and facility."









    Plans are underway to conduct night training for NIS players at the new Singapore Badminton Hall being built along Geylang Lorong 23. Photo by SYAFIQAH HAMID
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  15. #5064
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    Default NUSS Choir Concert "September Reigns" at the Esplanade Concert Hall

    I've been a member of this choir since its inception in 1998. Many changes have taken place since then and four music directors/conductors have since shared with us their experience in classical, contemporary and popular music.

    Our choir has grown to about 60-strong now although for this Concert held last Wednesday 7 September, about 50 singers participated, most of whom are members of this graduate society, which is essentially a social club for local and foreign graduates.

    The facilities here are varied and this is where I get my regular dose of badminton in the relatively new multipurpose hall that houses four badminton courts. No more having to scour all over the island for courts as our badminton section used to do previously.

    Most of our choir members are past their fifties with a few in their seventies and to most they are considered "uncles and aunties" who just love to sing. Only a handful have music backgrounds. On the other hand, our choir conductor is a talented musician who is young enough to be the son of many of our members.

    But we were challenged for this fundraising concert in aid of supporting research on Alzheimer's disease and dementia in the National University of Singapore. For the first time the choir has to "drop scores", i.e, to memorize the lyrics of every song and to remember the choreography.

    But on concert night we received tremendous support with almost a full house. Not only did our adult friends turn up, there were many young faces too. You see, our conductor also conducts in primary and secondary schools and a polytechnic.

    The "durians", a popular reference to the Esplanade-Theatres on the Bay, is a magnificent building for the arts. This is the first time that our choir was given the opportunity to perform in their Concert Hall, one of the two durians.

    More information on this arts complex can be found here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esplana...res_on_the_Bay

    Some pictures taken during the Full Dress Rehearsal and on Concert Day before the performance.
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  16. #5065
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    Default IMH wins Asia awards to snag Hospital of the Year title

    The hospital won the inaugural Grand Award for the Hospital of the Year, because of its good showing in six out of nine other award categories. -myp

    Sophie Hong

    Fri, Sep 09, 2011
    my paper

    SINGAPORE'S Institute of Mental Health (IMH) beat over 80 hospitals in Asia to snag the top accolade at the Asia Hospital Management Awards (AHMA) last night.

    The hospital won the inaugural Grand Award for the Hospital of the Year, because of its good showing in six out of nine other award categories.

    The awards were held as part of the Hospital Management Asia 2011 conference.
    Dr Ashok Nath, chairman of Hospital Management Asia, said that the Grand Award was created to "encourage hospitals to excel in not just one award category, but to also strive for more wins".

    The AHMA, held yesterday at the Resorts World Convention Centre, is in its 10th year. The judges include representatives from Johns Hopkins Medicine International and the International Hospital Federation.

    Dr Chua Hong Choon, IMH's chief executive, said the hospital was honoured to win the Grand Award and that the win "gives us the affirmation that our programmes are evaluated by international consultants to be of best-practices standards".

    The hospital also won the Most Outstanding Project in the Service Improvement for Internal Customers Project category for its Case Management Service, a follow-up service for discharged patients.

    It was started in 2003 but was tweaked last year to include an information-technology system that supports the follow-up care process.

    Under the service, patients of IMH are assigned a case manager who makes sure that they continue to receive care after they are discharged. Case managers also often double as confidants for their patients.

    Said Joe (not his real name), 34, an IMH patient who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2003: "When I have a lot of problems on hand and no one to talk to, that tends to increase my stress levels. As my condition is easily aggravated by stress, that triggers a relapse, causing me to check in and out of the hospital."

    However, Joe's condition improved after he was assigned a case manager in December 2009. He spends time talking to her every time he goes for a medical checkup, and she counsels him on some of the problems that he faces.

    Other patients were also found to have fewer relapses and re-admissions, after having a case manager assigned to them.

    Between January last year and May this year, IMH saw an improvement in patients' compliance with follow-up treatment, from 78 to 88 per cent, partly due to the improved Case Management Service.

    There was also a fall in re-admission rates and the number of patients not completing their treatment.

    IMH also received two excellence awards in the Operational Customer Service Project, and Marketing, PR or Promotional Project categories for its Mental Health - General Practitioner Partnership Programme.

    The programme aims to improve access to mental- health care, especially in the heartland, by providing general practitioners with psychiatric knowledge.
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    Default New online portal for kids to learn Chinese

    By Joanne Chan | Posted: 08 September 2011 1024 hrs


    File picture of primary school children in Singapore


    SINGAPORE: Primary school students in Singapore can look forward to a more interactive experience while learning Chinese.

    Developed for Primary 1 to 3 pupils, a new online tool, called the Chinese Language Oracy eLand portal, uses multimedia content to teach commonly-used vocabulary and sentences.

    Educators said this is especially useful for students from English-speaking homes.

    Flash animation, videos and audio clips are used to guide students.

    The lessons revolve around everyday topics such as "important dates" and "activities".

    The aim is to help students improve their oral communication, especially those who come from English-speaking homes.

    The portal was piloted in three schools in May this year, and feedback has been positive, with more than 80 per cent of students who enjoy using it.

    "I like the eLand portal because it's fun and interesting," said one student in Mandarin.

    "The eLand portal can help me learn Chinese as my Chinese is not good," said another.

    Teachers too, have found it easier to hold the attention of their young students.

    "They are more responsive. Instead of during normal classroom teaching, some of the kids, when they couldn't understand my instructions, they tend to drift away and could not concentrate because my talking doesn't interest or attract them," said Tan Shih Ray, Level Head of Chinese at Temasek Primary School.

    The portal also caters to the different needs of students. It allows teachers to customise their lessons according to a student's proficiency in the language.

    For example, a beginner may be given a scene and ask to read along with the sentences provided by the teacher, while an advanced student can create his own story line. The idea is to help students be comfortable using Mandarin in everyday settings.

    The portal was launched at a Chinese conference on Thursday by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who stressed the importance of bilingualism.

    "English, as the common language of instruction, enables our students to plug into the globalised world, while learning mother tongue languages enables our students to have a sense of identity, and connect to our Asian cultural values and heritage," said Mr Heng.

    He also reiterated the government's stand to help those who face difficulties in learning their mother tongue.

    Mr Heng said: "Teaching methods must take into account the different home language backgrounds and language abilities of our students, especially in their foundation years."

    The eLand portal will be rolled out to all schools later this month.

    - CNA/cc/ls
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