Speech by Minister for Education Chan Chun Sing at the MOU Signing Ceremony Between the Ministry of Education, the Ngee Ann Kongsi and SPH Media Trust on 25 March 2022
The Ngee Ann Kongsi President Mr James Teo Wee Wee,
Vice-President Mr Jamie Teo,
SPH Media Trust Chairman Mr Khaw Boon Wan,
CEO Ms Teo Lay Lim,
1. A very good morning to all.
2. It gives me great pleasure to be here with our community partners and Mother Tongue Language professionals to witness this significant event. It is heartening for our community partners to work with MOE and support our children's learning of Mother Tongue Languages.
3. Bilingualism is the cornerstone of Singapore's multicultural society fabric. Our students' ability to use Mother Tongue confidently would provide them with a competitive advantage when they enter the workplace and interact with our regional counterparts. We want to make Mother Tongue learning exciting and current to what is happening in Singapore and around the world.
4. This is why the partnership with The Ngee Ann Kongsi and SPH Media Trust has great significance. It brings together the best of our strengths. The Ngee Ann Kongsi, a strong community partner supporting a number of our schools and tertiary institutions, notably the recent endowed gift of $25 million to SIT, encapsulates the spirit of community contributions; SPH Media Trust, in harnessing your team of vernacular media professionals in creating timely and relevant content that can appeal to our youths; and MOE, in tapping on our curricular and pedagogical approaches to reach out to every one of our students in a systemic and customised manner.
5. Ngee Ann Kongsi's annual donation of $2.5 million over the period of 2022 to 2027 to MOE will be used to provide our teachers and secondary school students with access to quality news resources. Under this partnership, we will deliver the programme aptly named "News at your Finger Tips", where all secondary school students will have digital subscriptions to the student publications in their respective Mother Tongue. All primary, secondary and junior college/Millennia Institute Mother Tongue teachers will also be equipped with digital access to SMT's vernacular news sites and digital products that they can use as part of their classroom teaching resources.
6. In the current landscape where students are exposed to a myriad of information online, guiding them to make sense of and be discerning of information is an important part of education, and having ready access to credible digital news sources as part of this collaboration would broaden students' perspectives on trending issues of the day and sharpen their acumen to current affairs.
7. Today, our news publications are fully digitised. All secondary school students can access the news anytime, anywhere on their personal learning devices. The digital news portal ZBSchools.sg has a wide array of digital resources and tools which appeals to our digital native students, providing an intuitive way for them to learn Mother Tongue.
8. To cite a few examples:
Berita Harian has a contemporary issue segment which carries students' perspectives on trending topics such as Singapore's goal to achieve zero waste and their role in realising this goal, something which our youths are very passionate about.
Tamil Murasu also covers lesser-known environmental issues and innovations such as Singapore's Deep Tunnel Sewerage System. The use of 3D infographics not only piqued the interest of students to learn more about the topic of water management, but it also widened their vocabulary.
Apart from contemporary issues, the student publications also report news that students can relate to. For example, ZBSchools.sg recently put a spotlight on the trend of bullying in schools and provided viewpoints from different students.
9. MOE and SPH Media Trust are exploring more ways to further strengthen our strategic partnership beyond the Mother Tongue Languages. We will tap on SPH's expertise in enriching our students' learning and teachers' professional development. It is important that our students and teachers keep abreast of what is happening around them in a fast-changing and interconnected world, and see the real-life relevance of what they are learning and doing in schools so that they can be future-ready.
One collaboration MOE is exploring with SPH Media Trust is in the area of media-related programmes for our students. For example, SPH Media Trust can partner schools to provide students with opportunities to interact with SPH's industry professionals and gain access to the newsroom, which can provide insights to the processes and considerations involved in journalism.
For our teachers, they can benefit from greater exposure to media-related fields through attachments at SPH. Such experiences will broaden our teachers' perspectives and skill sets that are brought into the classroom, reinforcing the importance of keeping up with current events and helping them to make the news even more interesting and relevant to our students. Our teachers will also be able to value-add to the newsroom by bringing with them their students' perspectives in reading the news. Such collaboration will therefore be mutually beneficial. Just like what we heard in a short conversation just now with our students. I'm sure we have benefitted much from our students' perspective on what are the things that interest them, and what more we can do to help them grow their interests and capabilities in our Mother Tongue Languages.
We look forward to developing these initiatives with SPH Media Trust, and sharing more to deepen our strategic partnership.
10. Last but not least, I would like to encourage all our students present here today to just remember this: learning our Mother Tongue Languages goes beyond doing well for examinations. Language skills are an important tool, and a capability for us to better understand and connect with the world. Language skills create a unique niche for Singapore to be a bridge in a world threatened by fragmentation. Bilingualism gives us the ability to understand different cultures and perspectives, and this will always be key to Singapore's role as a global and regional hub, where we serve as a platform for people of different perspectives to come together to collaborate and connect. The stronger our bilingual capabilities, the more opportunities we will be able to seize. 扎实的双语文化基础，将为新加坡人带来更多机遇。Or in Malay, semakin kuat keupayaan Bahasa Ibunda kita, semakin banyak kesempatan untuk semua orang Singapura. Thank you very much.