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NextGen Youth Seminar Q2. To what extent is the National Education syllabus still relevant and effective for secondary school students in modern Singapore?

NextGen Youth Seminar Q2. To what extent is the National Education syllabus still relevant and effective for secondary school students in modern Singapore?

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Published by Terence Tay

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Published by: Terence Tay on Apr 30, 2011
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NextGen Youth Seminar 
Q2. To what extent is the National Education syllabus still relevantand effective for secondary school students in modern Singapore?
NationalEducationMessageWhile Singapore’s education system places a lot of emphasis onacademic excellence and the nurturing of every student to the best of their abilities, it also wants to trains students who will becomeresponsible and morally upright Singapore citizens who care for their country and are willing to contribute back to Singapore’s society.To infuse the students with a sense of belonging and ownership toSingapore, Singapore’s education system has also included nationaleducation (NE) in its syllabus. NE not only teaches the students factsabout Singapore which every Singaporean should know, it also arousesa sense of pride and belonging to Singapore as it does so. Studentslearn about Singapore’s history, culture and characteristics, and learnto love and protect their country in doing so, killing two birds with onestone.Singapore’s core values, which is also the basis on which NE is builton, are reflected in the following six messages:Message 1Singapore is our homeland; this is where we belong.This message reminds students that Singapore is where their home is,and there is no other country that can replace that in their hearts.Singapore will and forever be their one and only homeland where theytruly belong.National Day marks our Separation from Malaysia, and our emergenceas an independent country in the community of nations. Since 1998, aNational Day Ceremony was introduced in schools. This Ceremonyaims to bring to the students a greater sense of the historicalimportance and solemnity of National Day. Schools conduct a
15-minute National Day Ceremony
which is more formal than thefestivities that schools usually organise.Message 2We must preserve racial and religious harmony.Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-religious country. As such, in order to live together peacefully and prevent racial or religious riots frombreaking out, it is important that students understand the importance of respecting another race of religion, and not be bias or prejudice, which
can bring about internal breakdown, diminishing the nationalcohesiveness of Singapore.Schools commemorate Racial Harmony Day on 21st July. On this dayin 1964, Singapore saw racial riots. Racial Harmony Day serves toremind our pupils that social division costs us dearly and that race andreligion are potential fault-lines in Singapore society. It is a day for schools to reflect on, and celebrate our success as a harmoniousnation and society built on a rich diversity of cultures and heritages.With Racial Harmony Day, students will understand the customs andtraditions of the different races and religions and learn to respect thesecustoms and traditions and the need for the different races andreligions to coexist peacefully. Students will also learn about theconsequences of a breakdown in racial and religious harmony. Theselessons can be drawn from our own history as well as recent incidentsin the world. The message is that racial and religious harmony cannotbe taken for granted.Message 3We must uphold meritocracy and incorruptibility.In order to contribute to society, everybody should work to the best of their abilities and strive hard to achieve success. In Singapore, there isno such thing as taking shortcuts, only by working hard and reflectingyour best in every work that you do then can you achieve what youwant.Among many nations, Singapore is the closest to being a meritocraticsociety as academic credential plays a large role in our society.Education in Singapore also works largely on the basis of meritocracy.Today, our education system aims to nurture a child holistically. With asystem of meritocracy, everyone in Singapore, despite rich or poor,have equal opportunities to learn and achieve good academicperformance. With the fact that our four main races work together andlearn together, this has helped contribute in building a multiracial yetcohesive society out of the immense diversity in Singapore, and fueledeconomic development.Meritocracy was and still is important in maintaining a raciallyharmonious and integrated society till today. Through meritocracy,there is one less barrier to racial integration in our society.
Message 4No one owes Singapore a living.Singapore belongs to Singaporeans, and therefore, Singaporeans mustbe the ones to find a way to survive and prosper. We cannot depend onother countries to help us and allow us to survive. As Singaporeans,students must understand that they themselves have to work hard tokeep Singapore going.Self-reliance is not only important for oneself but also for the country. Acountry must be self-reliant, it should try not to depend on other countryif possible. For the case of Singapore, we have no natural resources,we do not have enough reservoir, so we have to rely on Malaysia to sellus water. Think about this, if one day, Malaysia does not want to sell uswater, what do we do? Therefore, our government are always on thelookout for ways to produce more water.What if a country is not self-reliant? What would be the consequences?For the case of a country, if she depends on others for essentialsupplies like raw materials, and one day, the supplies stop coming.There would be disorder in the country, what would the people feedon? Factories will not be able to function because there are nosupplies. Jobs would be lost. Chaos and unrest would result andeventually people would want to migrate to other country. Very soon,the country would be forgotten. This is no joking matter. It could happento Singapore. So, have you realized how important self-reliance is?Message 5We must ourselves defend Singapore.Singapore is our home, and we have to protect it. We must be the oneswho protect it as we would be the ones who truly care about home andgive in our best to defend it. We cannot depend on others, they are notresponsible for Singapore’s safety and their defence would belackluster. We must defend Singapore for it is our home, not others’.Schools commemorate Total Defence Day on 15 February annually tomark Singapore's fall to the Japanese in 1942. Total Defence Dayserves to remind our pupils that Singapore is defensible and is worthdefending, and we ourselves must defend Singapore.With Total Defence Day, Students will understand the rationale behindit, i.e. the logical response to the threat of Total War in which an enemywages a war of attrition at all levels. They will also know that TotalDefence is the cornerstone of Singapore's deterrent strategy. Themessage is that Total Defence is crucial to the continued security,survival and success of the country.

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