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Thread: Singapore Also Can
01-01-2014, 10:22 PM #7872
First day for five MOE-run pre-schools
Published on Jan 02, 2014
Five-year-old Eitan Leong with his mother Wong Li Wah, 36, and sister Emma, three. He is among some 250 children enrolled in five new kindergartens set up by the MOE in a move to raise pre-school standards in Singapore, and will attend the centre in Tampines which is near his home. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
By Pearl Lee
Eitan Leong is looking forward to storytelling, singing, dancing and lots of play when he starts school today - and there will be no dreaded spelling tests.
The five-year-old is among some 250 children enrolled in five new kindergartens set up by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a move to raise pre-school standards in Singapore.
The five centres, which are the first of 15 to be set up by 2016, will develop best practices in childhood education and share them with other pre-schools.
These include focusing on letting children learn through play.
01-02-2014, 05:28 PM #7873
I'm listening.You can't stop.
01-02-2014, 08:32 PM #7874
01-02-2014, 09:56 PM #7875
Government to build 45 new childcare centres this year
Published on Jan 02, 2014
Teacher Yang Tingting, 24, with Brandon Goh, two, and 22-month-old Claris Seow at Sparkletots centre in Punggol yesterday. -- PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
By Priscilla Goy
Some 45 new childcare centres are expected to be built this year islandwide, said Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing on Thursday.
The Government is paying particular attention to Punggol and Sengkang where there are many young families and there is a high demand for childcare services. In Punggol, where there are 30 centres, some 17 centres will be built by end-2017. In neighbouring Sengkang, which has 73 centres, another 19 are expected to be built by end-2017.
Mr Chan said the Government is "on track" in meeting its target of 20,000 more places by 2017, or enough places for one in two children. To increase accessibility of childcare services, he said some centres have been built in existing facilities which are underutilised or integrated with new facilities.
Mr Chan was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of a visit to a PAP Community Foundation Sparkletots centre, located at a multi-storey carpark in Punggol. He later officiated the opening of an NTUC My First Skool centre at Braddell Heights Community Hub in Serangoon, which was formerly a bus interchange.
01-02-2014, 10:21 PM #7876
Have more children and a happier family
The above is another attempt by the Government to try to get married couples have more children as the country's birth rate is very low and there will be more elderly folks to care for in years to come.
Today's young couples in Singapore are more career-minded and often work long hours. They have less time to start a family and without "outside" help such as the child care centres and reliable kindergartens, less couples will be willing to have children or more of them. There are other financial packages to entice couples but these seem to have little effect thus far.
So apart from the above, it was recommended that a more agreeable work-life balance to allow couples to spend more time together may help solve the problem. But young working couples must learn how to shorten their working hours (with the agreement of their bosses) and enjoy family life more.
01-02-2014, 11:02 PM #7877
Growth outlook positive for this year despite soft Q4
TODAY file photo
- By Wong Wei Han
Published: 03 January, 6:41 AM
SINGAPORE — Economists are upbeat about Singapore’s outlook this year, expecting gross domestic product to expand by about 4 per cent, despite a weaker-than-expected close last year after growth in all key sectors slowed in the fourth quarter.
In the last three months of 2013, GDP grew 4.4 per cent year-on-year, preliminary estimates from the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) showed yesterday, below the 4.7 per cent forecast in a Reuters’ poll of economists and down from the revised 5.9 per cent growth in the third quarter. For the full year, the economy grew by 3.7 per cent, as announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his New Year message, in line with the official 3.5 to 4 per cent forecast.
DBS economist Irvin Seah said the sluggish year-end performance was not surprising “given the cyclical downswing in the biomedical cluster, post-festive season moderation in the electronics sector, as well as risk aversion in the financial market from fear of the tapering of QE (quantitative easing).”
The manufacturing sector — which accounts for about one-third of Singapore’s economy — grew 3.5 per cent on-year in the fourth quarter, slowing from 5.3 per cent in the third. Services expanded by 5.5 per cent, down from 6.5 per cent previously.
On a sequential basis, manufacturing and services shrank 4 per cent and 1.7 per cent in the fourth quarter, respectively, after growing by 1.2 per cent and 3 per cent in the preceding three months. This led to a 2.7 per cent quarter-on-quarter contraction in overall GDP in the last three months of the year.
The latest GDP data followed November’s disappointing export numbers — including an 8.9 per cent on-year decline in electronics shipments after the year-end external festive demand peaked in October.
“The key question now is whether such underperformance will persist into 2014. The answer is no,” said Mr Seah. “The moderation in electronics is seasonal in nature and it doesn’t imply that external demand is collapsing. Long-term demand will continue to rise on improvement in the global outlook,” he said.
“We also need to be mindful that flash GDP estimates, particularly on-quarter figures, can be rather unreliable … and are often subject to significant revision,” he added.
The MTI will release the final fourth-quarter and full-year GDP data in February. Credit Suisse analyst Michael Wan said: “ Recovery in our externally-oriented sectors will likely be led by a more buoyant United States economy, coupled with a Europe that is continuing its climb out of the mire of recession. We expect the manufacturing sector and trade-related services to benefit in the coming quarters.”
Indeed, the recovery in the US is gaining pace, with GDP growing 4.1 per cent on-year in the third quarter — the fastest since the fourth quarter of 2011. The jobless rate also fell to a five-year low of 7 per cent last November.
With these positive indicators, “we have pencilled 4 per cent GDP growth for 2014” for Singapore, Mr Wan added, reflecting a similar forecast by Mr Seah from DBS, while Barclays economist Joey Chew estimated 3.8 per cent growth. All three estimates are at the upper end of MTI’s official 2 to 4 per cent growth forecast.
However, while the external outlook is encouraging, domestic constraints may still throw a spanner into the works, Ms Chew warned.
“The downside risks for 2014 are mostly domestic in nature, rather than global,” she said. “Structural drags in terms of loss of competitiveness and supply-side constraints such as manpower restrictions are mitigating positive spillovers from the global recovery.”
“Furthermore, we think high household debt and elevated real estate prices in Singapore, in the context of eventually higher interest rates, could derail growth in a worst-case scenario,” she added.
Last edited by Loh; 01-02-2014 at 11:06 PM.
- By Wong Wei Han
01-02-2014, 11:14 PM #7878
Syllabus on character, citizenship education launched
By Sumita d/o Sreedharan
Published: 03 January, 4:03 AM
SINGAPORE — At Rivervale Primary School, Primary 5 and 6 students get to share their interest in topics, such as cars and spiders, every day with their counterparts in lower primary.
This exercise not only helps to build the speakers’ confidence, but also teaches the younger ones to respect the older students.
This is part of the new Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) syllabus that was introduced yesterday. Parents will also have an active role to play as key chapters will have “family time” activities, where students are encouraged to share what they have learnt in school with their parents.
The CCE, which was launched by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat at Rivervale Primary, will be introduced this year in stages in Pri 1 and 2 and secondary schools, before being extending to Pri 3 to Pri 6 next year.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines, Mr Heng hoped parents would make use of the CCE syllabus to bond with their children.
“Ultimately, parents are the child’s first and most important teacher,” the minister said.
The new syllabus will be more interactive and draw from actual daily experiences of the students, as well as stories from their culture and heritage.
It will also feature more activities that encourage putting values into action. CCE lessons range from two to two-and-a-half hours each week in school, and all teachers are trained to conduct the programme.
As the syllabus provides broad guidelines, its implementation will differ from school to school.
01-05-2014, 09:43 PM #7879
More than good grades needed for a place at UniSIM
Four-step selection process for its three full-time degree courses
Published on Jan 06, 2014
Flexibility will be a key feature of the full-time courses. Students can crunch a four-year course into three years by taking more modules. -- ST FILE PHOTO
By Sandra Davie Senior Education Correspondent
SINGAPORE'S sixth university, SIM University (UniSIM), will openapplications for its three full-time degree programmes next Wednesday.
But to secure one of the 200 places in accountancy, marketing or finance, applicants will need more than good grades.
Students will be selected based on not just academic results, but also other attributes such as social consciousness and commitment and creativity.
UniSIM provost Tsui Kai Chong said about 400 applicants will be shortlisted for the four-step selection process.
- First interview: View a video online at home. Interview question will be related to video.
- Group interview
- Cognitive abilities test: 15-minute test assesses reasoning and problem-solving abilities
- Individual interviews before a panel
01-06-2014, 01:33 AM #7880
More than half of Sota students achieve top scores for IB exam
Published on Jan 06, 2014
By Amelia Teng
The School of the Arts (Sota) handed out the results for the International Baccalaureate (IB) exam to their students at 2pm on Monday.
The school, which saw its second batch of 110 students take the exam in November, attained an average of 39.18 points out of a maximum 45, compared to the Singapore average of 36.53 and global average of 29.95. More than half of Sota students scored between 40 and 45 points, with 26 of them getting top scores of 42 and more.
There were 43 perfect scorers in Singapore, with the bulk coming from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) which had 32 of them.
Singapore emerged top - for the fourth year running - among countries in Asia-Pacific which took part in the exam. There are 20 schools here which offer the IB programme, including international schools.
32 ACS (I) students attain perfect scores for IB exam
Published on Jan 06, 2014
By Amelia Teng
International Baccalaureate students at the Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) received their results from the school at noon on Monday.
Of the school's 457 students who took the exam, 32 attained the perfect score of 45 points, slightly less than the 37 students who did just as well in 2012.
The school's average score was 41.54 points, and 81.2 per cent - or 371 students - obtained 40 or more points.
In total, Singapore had 43 candidates who achieved the maximum score of 45 points and the average score was 36.53 points. Globally, the average score was 29.95 points with 221 students achieving 45 points.
Last edited by Loh; 01-06-2014 at 01:38 AM.
01-06-2014, 01:45 AM #7881
Singapore comes out tops for the fourth year in International Baccalaureate exams
Published on Jan 06, 2014
International Baccalaureate students from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) rejoicing at the release of the programme's results at the school's Dover Road campus on Jan 6 2012. Singapore has topped the Asia-Pacific region in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exams for the fourth consecutive year in 2013. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
By Amelia Teng
Singapore has topped the Asia-Pacific region in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exams for the fourth consecutive year.
Of the 975 students here who took the exams in November last year, 43 students here achieved the perfect score of 45, up from 41 in 2012.
96.82 per cent of students here passed the exam, with an average score of 36.53 points. This is compared to the global pass rate of about 80 per cent and the global average score of 29.95 points. The IB results were released over the weekend to over 3,360 students in 22 countries in Asia Pacific.
There are 20 institutions in Singapore which offer the IB diploma programme, which is more broad-based than the A levels, requiring students to take six subjects and Theory of Knowledge, a course combining philosophy, religion and logical reasoning. Students also take a second language, undertake research, write a 4,000 word-essay and be involved in a community service project.
01-06-2014, 10:29 PM #7882
Former PM Lee Kuan Yew given Russia's Order of Honour
Published on Jan 06, 2014
Ambassador of the Russian Federation Leonid Moiseev presents the Order of Honour to former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. -- PHOTO: MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND INFORMATION (SINGAPORE)
By Robin Chan
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew was on Monday presented Russia's Order of Honour for his contributions in strengthening ties between Russia and Singapore.
The award was presented to him by Mr Leonid Moiseev, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Singapore, at the Istana.
The Order of Honour is "for his substantial contribution to strengthening friendship and cooperation with the Russian Federation and development of scientific and cultural relations", the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
It was first conferred on Mr Lee by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 10 last year in conjunction with Mr Lee's 90th birthday.
01-06-2014, 10:50 PM #7883
Singapore tops IB exam in region for fourth year
SOTA student Fong Tyen Ying had earned a PSLE score of 222 but emerged from the IB exam with 43 out of 45 points. PHOTO: OOI BOON KEONG
43 achieve perfect results, out of 1,747 students here who took test last year
By NG JING YNG
Published: 07 January, 4:03 AM
SINGAPORE — For the fourth consecutive year, Singapore has topped the Asia-Pacific region in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma examination. Of the 1,747 students here who took the IB diploma exam last year, there were 43 who scored a perfect 45 points — two more compared to a year ago.
The students here achieved an average of 36.53 points, higher than the global average of 29.95 points. A total of 96.8 per cent of students who took the exam last year earned an IB diploma, down from the 97.9 per cent who did so in 2012.
Students can score up to 45 points in six subjects, such as history and mathematics, and they must complete requirements such as submitting a 4,000-word essay. To pass and receive an IB diploma, 24 points are needed.
Among the 20 schools here offering the IB Diploma programme, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) produced the bulk of perfect scorers, with 32 students achieving the distinction. Its students also achieved an average score of 41.54. A student who scores 36 points and above is considered excellent by educators.
St Joseph’s Institution (SJI) International, meanwhile, celebrated its best-ever results, said Principal Bradley Roberts. A total of 37 per cent of its students scored 40 points or more in the latest IB result, compared to a quarter of students who achieved such a result in 2012.
At the School of the Arts Singapore (SOTA), more than half of the 110 students scored between 40 and 45 points. The students, who are the second batch to sit for the IB diploma exam at the school, also managed an average score of 39.18.
Theatre student Fong Tyen Ying, 19, was among SOTA’s top performers. Entering the school with a Primary School Leaving Examination score of 222, she emerged from the IB diploma exam with 43 points.
Ms Fong said her experiences at SOTA have enriched her. When she went to the Philippines in 2012 for a community involvement project, she used theatre to advocate against corporal punishment.
Her essay on the ethics of population control, meanwhile, was selected for publication in SOTA’s annual Anthology of Essays.
For the past two years, Ms Fong also volunteers weekly at an after-school programme for underprivileged children, while performing in a band to raise funds for charity.
With these commitments, Ms Fong said she had not watched television for the past few years. By taking time out for rehearsals amid a packed study schedule, the eldest daughter of two lawyer parents said: “They were a mental break for me and I become more motivated.”
01-06-2014, 10:59 PM #7884
SOTA achieves 100% pass rate for 2013 IBDP test
The School of the Arts' 2013 graduating cohort. Photo: School of the Arts' Facebook page
Published: 06 January, 4:34 PM
SINGAPORE — The School of the Arts (SOTA) has reported a 100 per cent pass rate among its 110 students who sat for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) examinations last year, upholding the benchmark set by its first batch of students who graduated in 2012.
In a statement today (Jan 6), the school also said more than half the graduating cohort last year obtained a score of between 40 and 45 points, with 26 students achieving top scores of 42 points and above.
This is better than the showing among the 2012 graduating cohort — 43.75 per cent of the cohort obtained a score of between 40 and 45 points.
Last year’s graduating students scored 39.18 points on average, higher than the Singapore average of 36.53 points and global average of 29.95 points.
SOTA said last year’s graduating cohort performed particularly well in the Group 6 (Arts), with a mean score of 6 to 7 points in Dance, Film, Music, Theatre and Visual Arts at Higher Level. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
01-08-2014, 11:36 PM #7885
Singapore to review how the country takes care of its environment
The Straits Times
Published on Jan 09, 2014
Environment and Water Resources Minister, Vivian Balakrishnan, at the Singapore Sustainability Symposium 2014 Opening Ceremony organised by NTU's Sustainable Earth Office. Singapore will this year embark on a national exercise to review how the country takes care of its environment, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan. -- PHOTO: NTU'S SUSTAINABLE EARTH OFFIC
By Feng Zengkun, Environment Correspondent
Singapore will this year embark on a national exercise to review how the country takes care of its environment, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan.
"Our circumstances and challenges have changed so drastically that it is time for us to redefine our vision and values and our approach to the environment," he said yesterday.
The review will start with a public consultation from next month or March to the middle of the year to discuss what people want for the environment.
The findings will be shaped into concrete plans in the second half of the year, before being used to revise the Singapore Sustainable Blueprint by the year's end.
NEW APPROACH NEEDED
Our circumstances and challenges have changed so drastically that it is time for us to redefine our vision and values and our approach to the environment.
- Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Vivian Balakrishnan, on why the Government is embarking on a national exercise to review how Singapore is taking care of its environment
01-08-2014, 11:42 PM #7886
First community museum at Taman Jurong pulls in heartlanders
Published on Jan 09, 2014
NHB's Mr David Chew (squatting) with some contributors to the new galleries (from left) NTU undergraduate Louise Evangeline Ng, 22; volunteer curator Daniel Leong, 26; Beacon of Life Academy Arts Club founder Kim Whye Kee, 34; and arts club members Muhammad Aslam Kan Mohd Anuar Khan, 15, and Pavithran Mahendran, 16. -- ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG
By Melody Zaccheus
More than 24,000 visitors have thronged Singapore's first community museum in Taman Jurong since it opened its doors last January.
Most of those who headed for the 85 sq m museum in Yung Sheng Road were heartlanders, drawn by artworks from Singapore's national collection.
These include paintings, multimedia installations and sculptures of artists such as Ong Kim Seng and Donna Ong.
"Our Museum @ Taman Jurong is a great way to introduce the arts to residents here without them having to travel to museums in the city," said product designer Kim Whye Kee, 34, a long-time Jurong resident.
01-09-2014, 12:00 AM #7887
Former top civil servant launches book on leadership
Published: 09 January, 4:02 AM
SINGAPORE — The goal was to create a civil service open to change and innovation by encouraging feedback. But as years passed, the goals of the Public Service for the 21st Century (PS21) movement became an afterthought, with civil servants focused on collecting and tallying suggestions.
Sharing this observation yesterday, former top civil servant Lim Siong Guan, who introduced the PS21 movement in 1995, said the original intentions behind policies can be forgotten over time.
Launching his book, The Leader, The Teacher & You: Leadership Through the Third Generation, yesterday, Mr Lim, who headed the Civil Service and served as Permanent Secretary in various ministries before he retired in 2006, said the “whys” of a policy must be understood to make improvements. “Otherwise, you will be throwing away stuff without knowing how this is an improvement,” he said.
Also often lost as the baton is passed from generation to generation are leadership skills and experience. Through the book — which contain personal anecdotes from his career over the past four decades — Mr Lim, 66, currently the Group President of GIC, hopes to pass on the values and lessons of the founding generation.
In the book, which was written with the help of his daughter, Mr Lim wrote: “The true mark of success for a teacher is when one’s student surpasses one’s self ... A leader’s most critical contributions are what still remains when a leader is no longer around.”
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who spoke at the launch yesterday, concurred, saying the best legacy of a leader is the people he has developed. “To lead and succeed through the generations call for style of leadership that is selfless, values-based and other-centred,” he added.
S'pore leaders will not waver on two core beliefs as pursuit of excellence evolves: Heng
Published on Jan 08, 2014
Former civil service chief Lim Siong Guan (left) and Education Minister Heng Swee Keat (right) at the launch of Mr Lim's book, The Leader, The Teacher And You: Leadership Through The Third Generation. Singapore's leaders will not waver on two core beliefs even as they continue striving for success, Mr Heng said at the launch on Wednesday, Jan 8, 2014. -- ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM
By Andrea Ong
Singapore's leaders will not waver on two core beliefs even as they continue striving for success, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Wednesday.
These are that everyone must have a role and stake in the success, and that the key to future success lies in developing the young.
"How we go about pursuing excellence will change with time and conditions, but what must not change is our belief that success must be shared, both in the making and the partaking, by all in our society," he said at a book launch by former civil service chief Lim Siong Guan.
"Nor do I see us changing our deep belief that the road to future success lies in developing and growing our young to their fullest potential."
01-09-2014, 01:36 AM #7888
Republic Poly launches new aquaculture centre and diploma course
Published on Jan 09, 2014
By Carolyn Khew
A new facility which aims to support research and learning for students keen on joining the aquaculture industry here was launched at Republic Polytechnic (RP) on Thursday.
The new Aquaculture Centre called 'The Aquaria' is the first of its kind at a local polytechnic and complements the launch of RP's new Diploma in Marine Science and Aquaculture programme, which aims to take in its first cohort of 50 students this year.
The course is the first-of-its-kind to be launched across tertiary institutions and will focus on aquaculture technology, marine biology and conservation.
Speaking at the launch event, guest of honour Dr Maliki Osman, Minister of State for National Development, said that the new centre and diploma course will help to develop the industry's manpower capabilities.
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