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Education Articles From Asia One 2009 - Education, Langauge and Upgrade

Education Articles From Asia One 2009 - Education, Langauge and Upgrade

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EDUCATION ARTICLES FROM ASIAONE 2009

Topics: • Singapore’s Education System vs Other Countries’ Pg 1 • Education Upgrading for Adults Pg 18 • English Language in Singapore Pg 20 • Being Different – Career Choices Pg 29 • Languages and Dialects – Their Demise Pg 33

Singapore’s Education System vs Other Countries’
>> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY

Sun, Jul 19, 2009 The Straits Times

$5.5m boost for technology in schools
By Leow Si Wan TABLET personal computers are now ubiquitous in many schools here, thanks to BackPack.NET, an initiative to push the use of technology in education. Launched in 2003, the five-year programme has been successful in developing and introducing various technologies to schools. Yesterday, the people behind it - the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore and Microsoft Singapore - announced plans to invest another $5.5 million to bring it to the next level, which will develop teachers and equip them with teaching strategies to accompany technological developments. Unveiling the next four-year phase, BackPackLive!, at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Microsoft Singapore managing director Jessica Tan, who is also a Member of Parliament for East Coast GRC, said: 'Riding on the success of BackPack.NET, this renewed collaboration with MOE and IDA will help nurture the innovative effort of teachers and give students the foundation to learn, collaborate and be equipped for the knowledge economy.' BackPack.NET, a $20 million project, first introduced the concept of a Classroom Of The Future in which technology would transform teaching and allow students to

learn anywhere. Over the past five years, a series of pilot tests and trials were conducted in schools such as River Valley High and Crescent Girls' School for students to attend lessons, do their homework and take tests using tablet PCs. Pupils in other schools such as Nan Chiau Primary were given personal digital assistants which, like the tablet PCs, could be used at wireless hot spots around the island for free and provide easy access to the Internet. Under the initiative, teachers were also encouraged to use technology in their lessons. From 2004 to last year, 26 teachers received the Microsoft-Ministry of Education Professional Development Award (MMPDA) for their effective and innovative use of technology to support learning. Winners were sponsored on trips for regional competitions. Anglo-Chinese School (Junior) teacher Matthew Ong, the distinction award winner in 2007, for instance, created a game to teach National Education, which transported students to a virtual island where they had to devise attack or defence plans based on historical information provided in their files. The recognition of teachers remains an important pillar in BackPackLive! The call for entries for MMPDA 2009 is open and will close on Aug 11. Under the new programme, Microsoft will bring in recognised international advisers as consultants for teachers. Besides the teaching community, software companies here can obtain greater support to develop educational products and advance their inventions overseas. The promotion of cyber-security and knowledge of intellectual property rights is another important focus. Said Associate Professor Philip Wong, who is the associate dean, Pedagogical Development & Innovations, at the NIE and a Microsoft international adviser: 'It is now not so much about the power of technology, but how we use the technology to make sure our students pick up the correct learning skills, such as evaluating appropriate information and constructing knowledge.' This article was first published in The Straits Times.

>> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY

Sat, Jul 18, 2009 The New Paper

$6,000 for hard-to-find subject teachers
By Santokh Singh and Liew Hanqing SOME senior teachers are cynically calling it a 'hardship grant' - paid to newbies to study and teach subjects for which there is a short supply of teachers. Officially, it is known as a 'study grant'. But it's not for all who're studying to become teachers. The scheme, launched by the Ministry of Education (MOE), is to reward only new teachers who have opted to study and teach certain subjects in secondary schools and junior colleges. The subjects facing a shortage of teachers were not revealed by the ministry. The one-time grant is a tidy sum of $6,000, that several new teachers have started to enjoy barely months into their careers. Does it smack of the type of sign-on fee used in the private sector? A ministry spokesman told The New Paper that teachers getting the grant are those who have been selected and assigned curriculum subjects in disciplines where there is a greater need for teachers. Said the spokesman: 'This grant is similar to the $6,000 study grant under the MOE Teaching Award, which is open to A-Level and polytechnic graduates, as well as local undergraduates who are pursuing a local degree in a teaching subject.' Only the cream of the crop will be selected for the study grant. The spokesman added that the grant is open to teaching applicants who have already graduated or are graduating from university. 'These are outstanding candidates who would have been eligible for the MOE Teaching Awards had they applied for them earlier,' she said. The ministry did not disclose how much has been disbursed so far. A history teacher, who recently started work at a junior college, told The New Paper that

who received the grant. 'I only found out about the bonus when I accepted the job offer . He said he was not aware of the grant when he signed up to become a teacher. In the long term. It should not be used as a carrot.' 'Pleasant surprise' Another teacher. A teacher. and the job market is such that people job-hop a lot more now. and the rest will be paid after he finishes his one-year National Institute of Education course.' She added.' Some experienced teachers. however. MOE was actively recruiting history and economics teachers.he would receive the grant in two stages. We are not naming the teachers as they need prior approval from their principals to speak with the press. was paid two months after he signed with MOE. that she was not surprised that the grant was being offered. She said: 'The money is not that important. He added that he was aware that the grant was being offered only to teachers of certain subjects. Perhaps you do need to offer a monetary reward if you want people to stay. I assumed we were getting the grant because there was a shortage of teachers for these subjects. you still have to be committed to the job for the right reasons. he said. It's a new world.' Another teacher with more than 20years of experience added that offering a grant could attract candidates who do not consider teaching their first-choice job. who has been teaching history in a JC for 15 years. Any reward should only be given for work that has been done. . teachers should have the right kind of values. are speaking out against it. She said: 'I believe teaching is a noble profession.' he said.it wasn't something that was publicised. 'Losing battle' 'We're fighting a losing battle here. said it came as a 'pleasant surprise' but that it did not figure in her decision to join the teaching force. however. The first half. said she was concerned that offering a monetary reward for signing up as a teacher would attract the 'wrong type' of applicants. 'When I was applying to become a teacher.

. This was only fair. handling subjects facing a short supply of teachers. 'In the end. I am rather envious. say. is a hardship that deserves extra compensation. should also be compensated for their hard work.He said: 'It's fair to reward a teacher for good performance. and how they can break up into smaller classes because they have the numbers. 2009 The Straits Times Govt has done an excellent job in education I REFER to the July 8 report. put it: 'I believe that we taught the subjects because we were competent in them.' This article was first published in The New Paper. 'How the S'pore education system is upgraded'. 'I do not think that it is right to offer monetary benefits to attract teachers to this profession.' But not all were against the move. he said. it is a signal to us. English or the humanities. The Government has done an excellent job with the education system in order to equip students with skills for a fast-changing future.' He added that older teachers. Worse still. She said: 'I think we would all have a lighter workload if there were more teachers. Jul 18. but a job-seeker should not be applying only for the money. We loved the subjects and we cared for our pupils just as much as the new teachers do. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sat. When I look at the science and maths teachers in my school. One example of this is the direct school admission exercise for secondary schools. A school head of department for over a decade felt that the MOE was trying to attract the numbers now to make it easier for those in the profession. who has been teaching English and history for more than 20 years in a neighbourhood school. that teaching. it is the students who will benefit from these measures and that is what education is about. As one senior teacher.

This exercise differs from the regular Secondary 1 posting exercise by allowing students to highlight co-curricular talents in a wider range of areas . Singapore's leaders not only placed heavy emphasis on education .' he said yesterday on the sidelines of the 9th World Convention of the International Confederation of Principals. have not done so as they take a long-term view of the value of education and have set aside funds to continue investing in it.from dance to robotics and niche sports. as the latter are judged on both their academic and non-academic talents. president of the European School Heads Association. some by as much as 25 per cent. like Norway. 2009 The Straits Times How the S'pore education system is upgraded By Goh Chin Lian THE recession has caused some European governments to cut their education budgets. He was commenting on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's speech at the opening of the convention. Such a level of commitment to education by a country's political leadership is evident in Singapore. I am glad that the Singapore's education system is focused on developing well-rounded individuals and that the Government remains committed to improving the system to equip students with the best tools to take on future challenges. Others. Jul 10. 'There's a good balance between recognising the cost of education and the value of it.providing the funds for it and . Ng Yi Shen This article was first published in The Straits Times. which has members from 36 European countries. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Fri. It also gives schools greater flexibility in selecting students. in which Mr Lee spoke of the importance of political leadership in driving improvements to the education system here. noted Mr Chris Harrison.

as the first wave of reforms in 1979 introduced streaming and a national curriculum that emphasised basic skills like reading. said their priorities at this meeting were to discuss how education systems could improve in order to equip students with skills for a fastchanging future. and creating more pathways to success. Actually. But they have borne fruit. a second wave of reforms in the late 1990s focused on raising the standards of teachers and principals. Mr Lee spent the bulk of his speech laying out Singapore's experience in reforming its education sector . rebalancing the curriculum to emphasise 'soft' skills.as well as taking stock of what the changes had achieved. feels Singapore can go further down the decentralisation path by giving schools even more say in determining curriculum. Students are also well-educated. took a long time and required persistent efforts to take effect.when you try to turn around performance in a very short time to meet political cycles. giving schools the means to customise programmes to students' needs.' he said to applause from 1. Other key factors accounting for the success of Singapore's education system were: having capable principals backed by competent teachers. but not too heavy-handed central support and guidance. who must be graduates.' he said. employable and have a sense of social responsibility. Attention later turned to dealing with standards and high drop-out rates. there is a high standard across the board in all schools. from 2015.500 principals and teachers from 40 countries who were at the opening. Speaking later. it focused on ramping up school places for the growing population. Sweden and Australia. Efforts to improve the system will continue. particularly the second wave. . Education Minister Ng Eng Hen and his counterparts from six other countries. 'Teachers can do what they need to do and not have their work disrupted or confused by extraneous political considerations which are educationally unsound. the cycle should be put aside and national interest should be the key driver for education reform. Schools are developing their own identities and expertise. he said. including the United States. such as in Finland.garnering parents' support . but responsive approach . Mr Lee said the reforms. Singapore's advantages lie in its stable political environment and willingness to take a long-term view of education policy. Mr Lee said. and giving schools more authority to innovate.underscored by what educators see as a managed. 'A great weakness of education across the world is 'short-termism' . and providing strong.but also shielded it from politics. having a stronger body to champion professional development. and a number of outstanding schools and many models of success have emerged. These include recruiting more teachers. When Singapore gained self-governance in 1959. writing and arithmetic. Mr Andrew Blair. president of the International Confederation of Principals. To keep up with the changing times and Singapore's evolving needs.

focusing on school leaders and teachers . many models of success. 'The move may seem like an operational matter. This was in tandem with developments in the entire public service. a high standard across all schools. beefing up pay and career prospects of teachers and principals. and students who are well-educated.' Mr Lee said. Mr Lee said that the key move Singapore made was in devolving promotions in schools to personnel boards made up of senior management in the education system. well-socialised and have the makings of leaders of tomorrow. he said that the overhaul of the school system here in the 1990s . according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Fri. Additional reporting by Amelia Tan This article was first published in The Straits Times. The revamp has produced schools that develop their own identities and expertise. 2009 The Business Times Educational reforms key to S'pore: PM By CHUANG PECK MING SINGAPORE'S educational reforms have led to a system that's helping to produce competent and creative citizens who are literate. . building new schools and deploying technology in teaching. education systems have to focus on attracting teachers with the right attitude and aptitude. a good number of outstanding schools.has achieved its main goal. creating more training opportunities for them and more advancement possibilities. but it was in fact critical to all the changes. employable and socially responsible. Jul 10.They agreed that to achieve this goal. They must also be given the best tools such as information and communication technologies. Some of these changes include putting more resources in education. They also include strengthening the education ministry headquarters. Sharing Singapore's experience in improving its educational system at an international conference of principals yesterday.

nearly half of the cohort obtain degrees. why are teachers so stressed and are so focused on finishing the syllabus on time or ahead of time so that they can REALLY work on getting the students to practice the 10-year series examination papers?. Teachers must be more competent . having living overseas for more than 10 years now. imagin you are treated in this way. teachers and pupils. especially principals. eventually.encouraging enthusiastic and dedicated teachers led by resourceful and passionate principals. self-center and resulted-oriented. He said that education is the only sustainable basis for prosperity and progress . and this is already seen slowly shaping up our new generations. 2. he said. (our) students receive a solid grounding and education. Today. I doubt we can afford it. Don't just focus on study and good results.' Mr Lee said. keen.' Mr Lee said. Singaporeans should have big plans and be more independent and business savvy. idealistic young teachers quickly lose their enthusiasm and 'switch off'.and thus there will be a stronger body to champion professional development among teachers. 'We have to ensure that we teach our people the best we can. 3. No point to produce so many qualified managers and professionals if they is no entrepreneurs to employ or engage them.Much of the focus was on what could really make a difference .. At the same time. School principals athat re motivated by promotions and teachers by incentives cannot be a sustainable model for good educational system.to much foucs on results has resulted in pressure in defined targets from schools. it was never like this during my study time in the 80s (we are the main economic drivers now and we did our country proud. Kids who follow parents overseas can't even find themselves accepted back in their home country.Failing this. for schools worry they Posted by: Posted at Sun Jul 12 11:32:47 SGT 2009 Dear AsiaOne I don't mean to throw cold water and be dismissive of the excellence of our educaitonal system. To improve.. to only focused on the excellence and not looked at some of the imperfection or cracks in our world class educational system. we may have no choice but to consider expanding the already very big government to absorb these potentially excess labours in the future with tax payers' money. why . and gain valuable skills for life. and to build networking with people in the regions. our human capital is of paramount importance. encourage our young people to participate in team sports. Wherever they graduate from. don't we?). we desparately need more entrepreneurs and competent business leaders that can take us to the global markets. Sengkangblog Posted by: Posted at Sun Jul 12 11:30:53 SGT 2009 . the whole school blossoms. Posted by: Posted at Sun Jul 12 11:31:12 SGT 2009 Singapore is not short of well-educated citizens.' Mr Lee noted that up to 1980. 'With a good principal. are critical to school performance. I agree that the Singapore educational system is one of the best and most competent in the world. With a bad one. He said that school leaders.. it will be a betrayal of loyalty to my country. However it also has its flaws. why are there a thriving Private Tuition industry in Singapore if the school system is so good? that the late bloomers are still given a chance to bloom?. the figure is 99 per cent and. pupils now grown up more selfish. Worst it become a cruel system that pupils who are bad in academic are not wanted and asked to move to other schools without too much help.. only 60 per cent of each cohort completed secondary school. who are backed by high quality staff at the HQ. 'We advanced young and promising officers to become heads of departments and principals. 'Given our limited natural resources. A few things we can do better: 1. Mr Lee said that Singapore is putting more stress now on soft skills and less attention on exams without giving up attention to results.' This article was first published in The Business Times.and the key priority for all nations must be to improve their educational systems.

both higher than the country's average growth rate of 5 percent. New quotas call for more students from the middle and west regions to be accepted into Chinese universities. About 10.000 university spots for students from six less developed provinces.>> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY More university spots go to poor Fri. Those areas are also home to most of the country's ethnic minorities. such as Anhui. students from those areas get fewer opportunities into higher education.5 percent. Also. The total number of students enrolled for the coming fall semester from the middle region will increase by 6.000 teachers-to-be for free. As a result.3 billion population. including Tibetans. Henan and Guizhou. Fourteen provinces with better education resources will provide 60. The education quality in these areas lags far behind the wealthy eastern region because of historic underdevelopment in their economies. 2.3 percent jump. complicated geographic situations and harsh living conditions.2 million high school students took part in the annual national college entrance exam in early June. The middle and western regions of China are home to nearly 30 percent of the country's 1. Inner Mongolians and Uygurs. in return for their agreement to go back to their home regions and teach for a minimum of three years. 2009 China Daily/Asia News Network By Tan Yingzi High school students in the less-developed middle and western regions of China will have a better chance to get into universities this year.000 of those spots to students from the middle and western provinces. The Ministry of Education yesterday announced new preferential enrollment policies to help boost education in those regions. while the western region will see a 7. six normal universities will educate more than 7. The top universities directly under the ministry will recruit more students from the western region. Jul 17. according to a press release on the ministry's website. Nearly two thirds can successfully make it into universities and colleges thanks to the expansion .7 percent more than last year. as well as to narrow the widening gap between east and west China. They will also cut the enrollment quota of students from their own city and give 40.

a high dropout rate in the senior high schools and a low rate of students entering higher education. "And most of the college graduates from West China are reluctant to go back to their hometowns because of harsh working conditions." Hao said. 2009 my paper THE report. 'Students get set to serve President' (my paper. Experts suggest that the government should invest more into the schools in the less-developed regions as well as explore other financial channels to help the western and middle regions.of the Chinese higher education system since 1999. the central and local governments have poured more than 20 billion yuan ($3 billion) into west China's nine-year compulsory education program. includes many incentives for the western region. despite the efforts of the Go West Campaign in the last decade. By the end of 2007. the free education project had covered the entire region. The Go West campaign. Over the past 10 years. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Doing chores can breed independence in kids Fri. But the shortage of qualified teachers and limited school facilities result in poor education quality. Jul 17. The western region has less education investment in school facilities and teaching force. begun in 1999. it says. "We must ensure students there enjoy equal access to quality education. "The major challenge in the Chinese education system is education equity." said professor Ji Zhilai from Shaanxi province's Xianyang Normal College. For example. the latest Blue Book on the Western Region of China shows. But the West remains the poorest region in the country. especially in the education resources allocation to west and east China. The training programme which some Victoria Junior College students underwent at Jumbo seafood restaurant is a good opportunity for them to experience physical labour. "a special education fund for ethnic minority groups should be set up to reward those who make great contribution in this regard." said the report. he said. according to the Blue Book. More importantly. policies and governmental investments." vice education minister Hao Ping told China Daily last week at the International Education Roundtable in Singapore. July 16). it provides them with an insight into a situation where they have to serve instead . including preferential tax rates. was an eye-opener.

I remembered that we had only a piece of bread spread with the cheapest butter brand 'Fernleaf' or margarine or just plain bread for breakfast.eradicate 3 problems at once: a) No more maid social issues eg prostitution. we slog 9. We lived in a rented room then and remembered moving 2 or 3 times during my childhood eventually into a rented 2 room HDB flat when I was just 12 yrs old. b) No more maids abuse... Parents should not give in to their children by satisfying all their needs and whims. Mr Jeffrey Law Lee Beng For more my paper stories click here. Posted by: Goldmine at Sun Jul 19 13:47:13 SGT 2009 you guys must have been pamper when you were young..10 even more hours than that everyday to make ends meet. Children should be accustomed to doing household chores as this will help them develop a sense of independence and confidence in adulthood. uniform or shoes every years? what we did maybe a little over bearing toward our kids but hey that's just us (parents). wash the crockery or even make their beds. who have to work to support their families.. My father had TB when I was 13 years and my mon was ill for a period soon after. unwanted pregnancies. I was not pampered when I was a kid. I was not borned with a silver spoon. No. Posted by: OutSider at Sun Jul 19 12:26:19 SGT 2009 Great idea. would anyone like to come back to a mesy house after that? maid is alright if you don't overload their work..of being served.. alot of people expect that their helper is top notch but are you? and yes. clear the table. Most of our young are fortunate as they do not have to cook. sometime not even a piece of bread for breakfast. My dad was the sole breadwinner... unlike some of their counterparts elsewhere. Posted by: Born2bWild at Sun Jul 19 11:53:20 SGT 2009 » View all (6) comments >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY . mind you i have two boys. My mon was a housewife studied up to primary level. crowded malls on sundays.. have anyone ever thought about why is it that we become parents? those ever lived throught hard times won't want that for their child. c) Domestically trained children.... I do not have the luxury that the kids enjoyed these days. My parent were poor. earning very little. anyone remember walking a few clicks to & from school? having to share food with your brothers & sisters? not having new books.

said the company chose to hire VJC students because it wanted to give students who have yet to enter the workforce the opportunity to learn an important life skill "of being in service to others". They will serve guests at the VJC 25th Anniversary Homecoming Dinner on July 25. Mrs Jacqueline Ang. as part of its community-outreach efforts. too. I can finally see how hard it is." she added.Thu.000 for the students' training allowance. For Miss Annabelle Tee. and you . Now I'll be more understanding about how it's like. "Now I realise it is actually quite tough." she said with a laugh. There's a sequence to follow (in laying tables). including President S R Nathan. the experience of training as a waitress was quite an eye-opener. He said: "I had never even put things on the table. 2009 my paper Students get set to serve President By Joy Fang HE HAS never touched housework before but 17-year-old Lim Kai Liang now has to learn how to set tables and serve tea. The first-year student was one of 200 Victoria Junior College (VJC) students who were trained in food-and-beverage service by Jumbo Seafood at its East Coast outlet on Tuesday. Mr Lim said he had always left everything at home to his mother.. "Maybe now I can help her out at home. It was my mum who did everything. From among the 200. among other things.. as well as $10." Jumbo Seafood will be sponsoring $31.000 for the cost of the Homecoming Dinner. another first-year student. Jul 16. 30 students will be selected to serve 30 VIP guests. the assistant general manager of Jumbo Group of Restaurants. "It'll be more meaningful to get students to serve their old Victorians. "I used to think it was quite easy and wonder why the waiters were so slow during wedding dinners.

said the experience would help her in future should she seek a part-time job. Among the 59 countries studied. This September.need to align all the utensils. Deputy Premier Muhyiddin Yassin." said the 17-year-old. He will also have to cope with more English classes as the government wants to improve the people's fluency in it. That is the quandary Malaysia's five million schoolchildren find themselves in. not the language By Cheong Suk-Wai. You get to take a peek into the service industry and see what it's really like. "There's a higher chance of my being hired because I have experience as a waitress. said the switch was necessary now that the latest Trends In International Mathematics And Science report showed that between 2003 and 2007. however. By 2014. Jul 19. 17. joyfang@sph. Senior Writer IT IS hard being a child in Malaysia these days. That was in 2004. after then premier Mahathir Mohamad ordered the switch in medium of instruction from the Malay language. he will have to take the school-leaving examinations in Malay. 2009 The Straits Times It's the teachers. after the government reversed last week the six-year-old teaching policy which had cost RM40 million (S$16. who is also Education Minister. Singapore was No." she said.2 million) a year to run. Malaysia's proficiency in maths plunged from 10th to 26th place. who was among the first students to learn maths and science in English. Take 12-year-old Hazwan Arif." Another student. 1 in science. .com. its science placing slid from 20th to 28th. Hazwan will take the Primary School Evaluation Test's (UPSR) maths and science papers in English. Miss Chen Jiali. Mr Lim said: "It was a brand-new experience. 3 in maths and No. Agreeing.sg >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sun.

however. once pointed out that teachers learnt best from fellow teachers. the government lowered the bar for entry into teaching to the lowest credit one can get in school-leaving exams. Teaching used to be a well-respected profession in a country where teachers shaped political thought and political parties. To stem the exodus. It will soon issue a blueprint for professionalism called. added: 'Teaching involves impromptu interaction. But in the boom years between 1990 and 1997.' Dr Hannah Pillay. For many Malaysians. the ministry finally made a move to tighten the screws on the quality of teachers. science shows included. and being made to feel small is anathema. a Malaysian educationist. have ample access to the Internet and satellite TV channels with English-language programming.000 or so teachers who make up the bulk of its civil service are mostly ethnic Malays. Madam Cheong.000 or so who voted were against the switch. Then came the 1997 Asian financial crisis. which left more than 600. attitude is not a blueprint or budget consideration. The government then aggressively recruited them for teaching.6 per cent in 1999) on . who trained maths and science teachers to teach in English in anticipation of the 2003 change. Its education system is already fragmented into four different types of public schools: national (Malay).Dr Mahathir has since responded to the government's volte face by polling Malaysians on whether they agreed with the change. who taught in a teachers' training college between 1983 and 2003. even those in kampungs. But this is a politically prickly poser since the 300. having to ask for help is seen as humiliating. 62. the country's brightest graduates eschewed teaching for banking and law. So far. To be sure. They've to search for the right words in English all the time. Today. most of them of Malay ethnicity. Malaysian Teacher Standards. said the training programme consisted of intensive cramming of all that the teachers had to learn into all of three weeks. the profession has become a job of last resort. Madam Cheong Chin Yoke.' Madam Cheong agreed. On their part. The real issue is the poor quality of its teachers. late last month.000 graduates jobless. especially not when the government already spends 25 per cent of its yearly budget (up from 6. Many Malaysians. Tamil and religious. So it is very taxing on teachers who are weak in English because they are not sure if they are getting their message across with the words they may be using. Teachers are still poorly paid and often given short shrift by parents of the children they teach when things do not go well. Chinese. 86 per cent of the 86. some teachers have been known to not be above hurling racist slurs at students. Things got to such a head that. 'It's a vicious circle. It is not even about playing politics in the schoolyard by debating whether Malay or English is more effective in uniting Malaysia. But language hindering classroom learning is not really the crux of the issue. well.

Like finding the direction in which to take your future career. non-Malay teachers like her who were made to teach in Malay from 1970 just dove into the deep end as it was a matter of putting food on the table.education now. She mused: 'Maybe teachers today are just not trying hard enough. They were two of the 23 participants in the 2009 summer intake of SIM Global Education's (SIM GE) Asian Business Study Abroad programme in Singapore. sleep. These experiences were what international students Shozo Yamamoto and Yavuz Ziddioglu cherished the most after a heady six weeks in Singapore. 21. to little effect. is a third-year BSc in Accounting student at UB. the State University of New York. This programme started in 2005 in partnership with the University at Buffalo (UB). Mr Yamamoto. UB. joined the Singapore programme after spending a year at UB. This article was first published in The Straits Times. in turn. has an exchange programme with Konan University in Japan. 2009 The New Paper They eat. breathe S'pore for 6 weeks MANY things can happen in six weeks. As Dr Pillay once noted.' They will need to try harder. . it is pointless to talk about the Malay language as a means of uniting the various racial groups when they are already riven apart anyway by unequal career opportunities simply because some were taught well and most were not. Jul 18. Or coming out of your shell and jetsetting with a group of new friends. a final-year economics and business administration student at Konan University. Mr Ziddioglu. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sat. 20. As Madam Cheong pointed out.

'It's a unique concept that combines the good points of a hotel and a residence. Mr Yamamoto said he found the visit to Frasers Hospitality. He said: 'We have similar serviced apartments in Japan. He said: 'I was surprised to hear that the current recession has helped in taking the company to the US. but I never had the chance to visit one. The structured programme consists of seminars. . like China. all the multi-national companies want to expand to the West.' Informative visit For Mr Ziddioglu. which manages serviced apartments globally.SIM's Study Abroad programme features visits for students to companies in Singapore. Citibank Singapore and the National Library Board. which focuses on doing business in key markets in Asia. an eye-opener. 'Mr Eu said with many stores closing down there. said: 'We ask the company representatives. the Eu Yan Sang visit proved particularly informative. and also to highlight the factors to consider and the challenges involved. who are often senior management. Mr Neo Beng Tong.' The company visits complement the programme's anchor course: Asian Business and Global Economy. Chair of SIM's Education Abroad Programme. All students have to take the course.' The course culminates in a final project where students work in teams to develop a business plan for a company that is interested in entering an Asian market. Eu Yan Sang was able to get the best store locations in the malls. 'For example. He said: 'In Japan. In the final week.' Students visited six companies in total. students will have to present their final project and take tests. to explain to the students how they expanded overseas. consultations and project work. 'I'd rather work for companies that want to expand to South-east Asia because I think that's where the global economy will develop in future. Eu Yan Sang CEO Richard Eu talked about working with the regulatory framework in China. including Sun Microsystems. Mr Yamamoto said the insights from these visits have helped him decide on his 'future direction' career-wise. as well as the role Asia plays in the global economy. India and Singapore.

He said: 'In Japan. who was born in Turkey but raised in Bahrain. Mr Ziddioglu said: 'The best part of the programme was always being with 23 people as it forced me to be more social. for weekend trips. I was surprised by the multi-racial society in the US. including human resource management. organisational behaviour and basic business Mandarin. 'Being in the programme let me see Singapore from the inside. Clarke Quay and Chinatown.' They also flew to nearby countries. He said: 'I never think to tell people that I'm Bahraini even though I grew up there all my life. said he was struck by how locals of different ethnic backgrounds all identify as Singaporeans. but Singaporeans live together very well. Jul 08. Mr Ziddioglu.' Mr Yamamoto too shared a similar observation about Singapore's society. If I'd come as a tourist. It's the same here. We visited places. we've only one language and race.' This article was first published in The New Paper. like Little India. like Thailand and Malaysia. Mr Ziddioglu took up HR management while MrYamamoto learnt Mandarin.' said Mr Yamamoto. 'I've many opportunities to speak Chinese outside of class. like when ordering food. 2009 The Straits Times .In addition to the compulsory module. students can choose a second module from a variety of courses. 'The more outgoing people would drag me out. Education Upgrading for Adults >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Wed. I'd only have seen Singapore from the outside.

and using this quiet period to reposition their skills over the next 18 months. As the economy slows. Now that things are slower.is up 50 per cent from last year. the EMBA with a focus on entrepreneurship that is part-sponsored by enterprise agency Spring Singapore 'is picking up steam'. associate dean of Nanyang Executive Education at Nanyang Technological University's Nanyang Business School. 'These are relatively new programmes in East Asia so there is a natural uptick. said Dr Nilanjan Sen. Enter the Executive Master of Business Administration. it also means there is more time to get the training done. 'More people are self-sponsored.' Dr Sen said applications for Nanyang's EMBA programmes have surged by around 25 per cent this year. say business schools here. senior executives and managers in companies may be feeling the urge to go back to school. Most EMBA applicants are partly. which is quite common for new products in any market. He added: 'They couldn't come earlier because of lack of time.' Mr Buckingham said that enrolment for the Tsinghua-Insead EMBA programme .which combines international business education with a focus on Asia . or EMBA. The programme's first batch of students graduated in January this year. which has a campus in Singapore. In particular.' Mr Edward Buckingham. agreed: 'There are counter-cyclical elements that manifest themselves in different ways. There are two opposing forces at work. 'counteracting that is upper and middle management who want to do the EMBA programme while they still have job security'.' A spokesman for the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School's EMBA programme . director of EMBA programmes at French business school Insead. sponsored by their companies.and this seems true even in education. they have more opportunity. While a slowdown in the economy translates to a smaller training budget.It's back to school in times of downturn By Michelle Tay IT IS oft said by business leaders that there are many opportunities in a downturn . He said: 'This year saw the highest intake of 18 students for that track. The programme is seeing a surge in popularity as managers try to upgrade themselves on the company payroll. if not fully. Although companies are cutting costs.

since EMBAs are considered 'luxury goods' and companies have cut back on training.makes for a very cohesive group and outstanding networking opportunities. the University of Chicago Booth School of Business' programme is taught in Chicago. For example. general management responsibilities (and) need exposure to all facets of business. Then they head back to the office to immediately try out some of the concepts they have learnt. while Insead's programme is taught in Singapore. London and Singapore. and are typically made up of middle to upper management employees of both large and small companies. Fontainebleau and Abu Dhabi. Students forge very strong bonds that last throughout their careers. This article was first published in The Straits Times.said: 'In general. and can take you around the world.' And don't forget the invaluable network one could gain during the course. associate dean at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business: 'Our executive students are significantly older. Added Dr Sen: 'They've already proved themselves in their respective functional roles. the past year since the financial crisis struck has also been a challenge. The programme is also a 'modular one'. English Language in Singapore >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY . 'We call it sandwich learning. However. Every six to eight weeks. and now they want to move into general management or leadership roles.' NUS said its EMBA students need to have worked for at least 10 years. meaning that students would not need to spend all their time on campus and would therefore not need to quit their jobs to study. 'Our executive programme. 'They are now reaching a point in their careers where they are required to take on broad. with more experience than our full-time students. Classes are also intimately sized.' said Mr Kooser. applications have risen.. Everything is more focused. they take about one week off work to attend class. and entrepreneurs. from strategy to marketing to operations and finance. depending on the school you go to..' An EMBA programme can take about 15 to 21 months.' said Mr Buckingham. where your work is your laboratory. Said Mr Bill Kooser.

be it Mandarin. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY .in English. Hindi. that's why'). my sister speaks English and Malay and is now learning German in Switzerland. We are all Singaporeans. We are Singaporeans and are proud of it because we are well-educated and hardworking and a multicultural nation. 2009 The Straits Times S'pore is her home because of multiracial and religious harmony . so be proud in that knowledge and let us walk the talk . Learn another language . Sharmala Huey Yuen Bala Raju (Ms) This article was first published in The Straits Times. Hokkien and Cantonese although she is of Fuchian descent. Spanish or Japanese.English. or if English is the most popular language in the world. speaks English. What matters is the importance of national inclusion. nationalities and religions exist in harmony because we embrace people's differences and understand each other through one language . Both of us are not well-versed in Mandarin and Tamil because we converse mainly in English. I agree with Mr Yang that unity is the reason why English should remain our main spoken language. But no language should have predominance over another here as no one race is superior over another. Hokkien and Malay. My father. I am of Chinese-Indian descent and migrated from Malaysia when I was 14 years old. who is Indian. Jul 18. Here is a place where people of all races. I speak English.and English I REFER to Tuesday's letters on the emphasis on Mandarin by Mr Mak Sek Hung ('Why not?') and Mr Kelvin Yang ('Unity. Malay and a smattering of French. My mother speaks Mandarin. It does not matter what China does. I made Singapore my home because this is where I feel I belong.Sat.

2009 The Straits Times Keeping Singapore bilingual Why not? 'What is wrong if Chinese becomes the dominant language instead?' 'I remember before independence when most Singaporeans did not speak English and most shop signs were in Chinese. We agree to see ourselves as Singaporeans first.Thu. It will be stronger and more popular in Asia and eventually the world. and Chinese. . Jul 16. Malay or Indian second. that's why 'English binds the races. they will lose out. Many spoke Chinese dialects and lived in harmony. What is wrong if Chinese becomes the dominant language instead?' Related links: MR MAK SEK HUNG » Survival in the balance » No motivation for Mandarin speakers to learn English » No excessive emphasis on learning Mandarin Unity. whatever their language and cultural background. There was no racial conflict because of lack of communication in English. English may not be the language of commerce and communication in this part of the world. In the future. Mandarin is spoken and written in China and East Asia.' 'Let us not forget that English is a linguistic compromise that binds the races and ethnicities in Singapore. If Singaporeans do not take the opportunity to master Chinese in a conducive environment like Singapore. We were not poor because we did not master English. but not at the expense of English. Improve Mandarin.

they will lock you up. but not at the expense of their advantage in English.' MR KELVIN YANG This article was first published in The Straits Times. not any more. all those advantages that singapore now enjoys as an english speaking country will be lost. Mandarin should not have a more exalted status in Singapore simply because of the rise of China. If you do it. by making chinese the dominant language. by the way. many send their kids here to have english immersion. Posted by: sugoku01 at Mon Jul 20 09:30:28 SGT 2009 Many immigrants choose singapore because it is a westernized society that retains some chinese characteristics. Just that one should also be proficient in their own mother tongues so as to retain their own cultures/roots lor. If a trade or commercial advantage can be maintained only by compromising our identity. Hence. to live in a country where english is the dominant language where one is able to fall back on chinese in emergencies.English has become ingrained in the identity of Singapore. Singaporeans should try to improve their advantage in Mandarin over other countries. regardless of race or ethnicity. enough said. 2009 The Straits Times English has an economic advantage too . and it is an english-speaking country where chinese can be used if one is not proficent in english. :D Posted by: ILostMyBall at Sun Jul 19 22:12:56 SGT 2009 >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sat. Anyway. it's still better for English to remain as the dominant language over here. as our local history has shown us if they only talk when making suggestion to emphasize the Eastern value. and to subvert its place as Singapore's most important language is to put at risk the cherished notion that every Singaporean can communicate effectively with his countrymen. good chinese results used to be required for kids to enroll in local universities. Rraymond is making a hoharher. Posted by: stalingrad at Mon Jul 20 08:21:10 SGT 2009 The Way I See It: The above writer's view is misleading and it hold no values. it is an advantage Singapore can do without. Jul 18. government obviously does not agree with you. I predict less economic prosperity not more if you have your way.

I fully agree with Mr Yang that English binds the races and ethnicity in Singapore. In the course of my work. Ronnie Lee This article was first published in The Straits Times. and would like to take it one step further . Jul 13. to choose to continue in their monolingual state. I have had the opportunity to engage with senior management personnel in various multinational corporations and all things being equal. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Mon. let us not shoot ourselves in the foot and forgo this competitive advantage. in terms of economic value.it is a major 'marker' that makes us Singaporeans. more than a few have expressed their preference for hiring Singaporeans to run key positions in their Asian operations simply because we straddle Asian and Western cultures well. Too bad for non-Mandarin-speaking or non-Chinese Singapore residents . let us keep English as the lingua franca. For this reason alone. Our leaders' emphasis on the need to speak Mandarin could be perceived as a clear signal to encourage those of mainland China origin. one of the largest groups here. Where is the motivation for foreign residents from China to learn English or another official language? . So. for example.let them integrate. kindly allow me to share this.I REFER to Tuesday's letter by Mr Kelvin Yang. Take language. 'Unity. that's why'. 2009 The Straits Times No motivation for Mandarin speakers to learn English PERHAPS the 'us and them' schism ('Crossing the 'us versus them' barrier'. For those who advocate the 'economic value' of Mandarin. July 2) between what the writer described as residents and non-residents has been propagated by what many see as our leaders' expectations that Singaporeans should make a greater effort to integrate with foreign residents.

'No motivation for Mandarin speakers to learn English'. particularly in the services sector in 2005. deeming it an excessive emphasis on a particular language. Also unfounded is her assumption that one reason for the decline in the percentage of Malay PMETs (professionals. with festering resentment against whole neighbourhoods taken over by foreign residents and altered beyond recognition. managers. Jul 15. managers. fast turning this into a Chinese enclave. supposedly proud of our four official languages? We ignore the early beginnings of a disturbing trend to our detriment. Mr Abdul Shariff Aboo Kassim's letter last Saturday ('Not a mindset issue') urges that barriers to Malays' progress be identified and removed. Now. I think Ms Loh has misunderstood or misinterpreted what our political leaders said about the need to speak Mandarin.Geylang used to be a mixed multilingual area. running the risk of what has happened in Western countries. executives and technicians). 2009 The Straits Times No excessive emphasis on learning Mandarin I READ with interest last Saturday's letter by Ms Amy Loh. Is Singapore regressing from being a country known for the English fluency of its multilingual population to one where Mandarin is becoming the de facto national language? Amy Loh (Ms) This article was first published in The Straits Times.integration efforts must be mutual. executives and technicians). Let us not have mixed messages from our leaders and those in authority . a comfortable outpost of China for new residents from that country flooding the district. Is this something to be encouraged in multilingual Singapore. may be the lack of Mandarin language skill. . I suspect one reason for the decline in the percentage of Malay PMETs (professionals. particularly in the services sector in 2005. almost all new shop signs are in Chinese only. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Wed.

she also asked if Singapore is regressing from being a country known for the English fluency of its multilingual population to one where Mandarin is becoming the de facto national language. Naturally. Singapore will continue to use English as a powerful communication tool. export-driven country. It is undeniable that China is emerging as a powerful economy. Teo Kueh Liang This article was first published in The Straits Times. English. Malay and Tamil will remain the four official languages used in all government organisations and educational institutions. 2009 The Straits Times Language Arts Festival a hit By Amanda Tan . Chinese. Nevertheless. and Singaporeans will continue to be proud of their fluency in English. Mandarin is the effective language they use to settle deals. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sat. most of the shop signs there are in Chinese. it has no choice but to capitalise and ride on the vast economic opportunities in China and other Asian countries.may be their lack of Mandarin language skills. It is coincidental that an influx of Chinese immigrants and foreign workers choose to live in Geylang. When Singaporeans do business with their Chinese counterparts. Jun 06. Moreover. With its historical background and the critical requirements of trade and industry. global. where there are also more Chinese Singaporeans. And as Singapore positions itself as a strategic.

The session gave pupils an insight into the interviewing and writing techniques used in newspaper reporting. and credited his win to 'hard work' . who was the guest of honour at the NSC. as well as a media literacy workshop conducted by The Straits Times' Little Red Dot journalist Malini Kaseenathan.' he said. was impressed. aimed mainly at Primary 4 pupils who are exceptionally proficient in English. during one event of the third annual Language Arts Festival. included game booths and workshops on storytelling.' she said. this year drew an estimated 1.DANIEL Tan. emerging as champion at the second National Spelling Championships (NSC). which he culled from the Internet. The day-long event. breezed through the spelling of 'colossus' and 'indemnity'. pupils could 'learn from the professionals in the field'. said that through the event.that is.' Other highlights at the festival. a Henry Park Primary School pupil. poetry and creative writing. This article was first published in The Straits Times. The Primary 6 pupil from Nan Hua Primary School beat 23 others from 21 schools. Marcus Choo. said he had found it 'fun'. spending two hours a week for the past three months memorising more than 20 pages of words used in a previous competition. There was also an essay writing competition called INKPressions! and an Inter-school Debate Championship. organised by the Ministry of Education's Gifted Education Branch. Madam Elaine Yee. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY . I wouldn't think a primary school kid would be able to grapple with that. Associate Editor of The Straits Times Bertha Henson. He took two hours to bag top spot yesterday. 'A lot of the words were quite tough. 12. 10. 'I thought they were quite good.200 pupils from more than 140 schools. 'It was very interesting learning the basics on how to become a journalist. Parents interested in getting their children's schools to subscribe to Little Red Dot or IN should direct teachers to call Candy Chew on 6319-2306 or e-mail cirschool@sph.com.sg for more information. a gifted education officer.

had other reasons for supporting his choice. IBM Australia. 2009 The Straits Times Aussie students shun Asian languages By Jonathan Pearlman. by the country's top eight universities. The decline in Asian language skills has alarmed the leaders of some of Australia's biggest companies. 'For travel or work. 'If he can master the language. 12-year-old Kane Weber returned home to Melbourne. rates of study of second languages such as Chinese. Of the remaining 5 per cent. and made an unusual decision: He wanted to learn Chinese. His parents found a school that offered Chinese. the majority are from a Mandarin-speaking background. The finding from a 2007 report.Wed. including the Australia-Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.After living for two years in Beijing.' Yet. Ms Heather . Australia. The slump has continued for decades. in Australian schools. May 20. AUSTRALIA: .' she said. To the growing dismay of the country's business and political leaders. titled Languages In Crisis. Indonesian and Korean are among the lowest in the developed world. Singapore Airlines. the figure fell to 13 per cent. Typically. which have formed a group. where his father had a work contract. most of his classmates chose to learn Italian. to promote the study of Asian languages and culture. where the number of languages offered dropped from 66 in 1997 to just 29 in 2007. The slump extends to universities. he can master the culture. his mother. the Business Alliance for Asia Literacy.000 or so Australian high school students who learn Chinese drop it before their final year. While Kane found Chinese 'more fun' to learn. noted that nearly 40 per cent of students completed a language for their final-year exams in the 1970s. despite Australia's increasing trade and cultural ties with its Asian neighbours. students such as Kane are a rarity. But after language study was dropped as a prerequisite for university entrance. The alliance was launched this month by the head of the Australian Industry Group. Ms Melinda Smith. Members include the Commonwealth Bank. Almost 95 per cent of the 87. however. he will have a level of cultural understanding that he would not get otherwise. Qantas and 11 international business councils. For The Straits Times CANBERRA.

During a visit to Singapore last year. 'Once we come out of this economic downturn. improve classroom and online learning materials. He has no plans to drop his studies. Ms Kirby said this was partly due to the Japanese government's support by helping young Japanese come to Australia for a gap year as teachers.Ridout. Japanese. Back in Melbourne.' he said. and provide grants to schools and Asian community groups that develop initiatives to promote literacy. 'It is a totally different language.' she said. compared with 600 hours for French. knowing the languages. One model for potential success is the relatively high take-up of Japanese. Now is the time to be preparing. Indonesian or Korean within a decade. the government has launched a A$62 million (S$68.' Efforts to promote Asian language literacy have been bolstered by the election in 2007 of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. 'Modern Japanese is also a much more simplified. Kane said his class has learnt almost 50 characters in its first six months.4 million) plan to double the number of final-year students fluent in Chinese. he said he wanted to make Australia 'the most Asia-literate country in the collective West'. is clearly essential for our future prosperity. Since then. The United States Foreign Service Institute has estimated that an English speaker needs about 2. who said the global financial crisis had made it even more pressing for schools and education departments to promote Asian studies. 'There is no alphabet. cultures and traditions. executive director of the Asia Education Foundation. 'Understanding Asia. character-based language than Chinese. The funds will be used to train teachers. and funding to assist the training and recruitment of teachers. Australia will be looking to Asia as a core driver of our own recovery. a government-funded organisation that promotes Asian studies. said one of the main reasons for the low demand for Chinese is that it takes an English speaker almost four times as long to learn it. compared to the time taken to learn a European language.' she added. we are only just starting to grapple with how to teach Chinese. I just like learning the strokes of the characters and how to speak it. and teaching our children about our near neighbours. The business alliance has called for incentives and scholarships to encourage students to take up Asian studies.' This article was first published in The Straits Being Different – Career Choices ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY . 'Across the world.200 hours to develop proficiency in Chinese.' Ms Kathy Kirby. who is fluent in Chinese.

including debates on current cutting-edge research matters. He studied at Karthagam Arts and Science College. India. Karthick. Jul 17. he tends to get to the campus early to spend some time with his books in the library. But. He lived there with his parents and his younger brother G. And he's made many friends from the cosmopolitan bunch of students there too. he is getting to know Singapore.Fri. he didn't spend too much time worrying about where he was headed.' As his classes run from 2 to 10pm. After all. They have a lot of experience in the industry and are able to explain things clearly and in detail if we have trouble understanding things. 2009 tabla! An experiment that worked BY PRADEEP PAUL WHEN Gopinath Govindaraj was doing his BSc in bio-chemistry in Coimbatore. And he had many friends.' says Gopinath. Enticed by the agent's pitch. 'I am really happy with the BSc Honours course in bio-medical sciences that I am currently doing. He decided to give it a try. 'The lecturers are very good. he landed in Singapore in October last year with a suitcase full of clothes and a heart full of aspirations. He also has the luxury of being part of MDIS' Journal Club which encourages students to take part in extra curricular activities that are science related. He finds MDIS' Stirling Road campus 'fantastic' with four labs devoted to life sciences and a very modern ambience. A bank loan and some tearful mummy hugs later. Having set up home in Little India . it's the quality of the education that has truly impressed him.the . especially when it comes to complicated experiments. Gopinath did some research and discovered that MDIS 'has a good reputation all over the world'. And he wasn't disappointed. delving into the reactions taking place in the human body. being an academic at heart. In his spare time. 21.' He is also happy that his previous qualifications were recognised by the University of Bradford (MDIS' university partner): 'I got an advance standing into the 2nd year of the degree programme. his life revolved around the Tamil Nadu city. Then he met an education agent who recommended Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) for his next step in education.

he hasn't done much sightseeing yet. to the young. While some may argue that being a teacher is less glamorous than being a weapons . 'I like Singapore and I can see myself staying here for my further studies and even working here. 'I have a lot of friends back in Coimbatore and I chat with them quite often via Skype. It is. Jul 18. decided that he should create bright sparks in schools instead by teaching.' he says. He does manage to find the time to stay in touch with his friends in India. London. he was a weapons specialist tasked with loading bombs and missiles onto F16 fighter jets. Mr Ng. >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sat.' says Gopinath. Gopinath plans to continue on the academic path with an MSc and eventually work in the field of bio-medical research. 2009 The New Paper Airforce man gives up bombs and fighter planes to teach By Desmond Ng BACK in the airforce. This desire could be helped by MDIS' mission of helping its graduates find jobs and opportunities for further study. But after 10 years of dealing with demolitions. I tell them about MDIS and encourage them to come here for their studies. Once he's done with the two-year course at MDIS. In fact. but plans to do so soon.' he says. a former airforce regular. 34. he's become an 'unofficial ambassador'. 'Whenever I call my pals in Coimbatore. And just to prove how much he likes the country and the institution he's studying at. I'm hopeful that my brother can come here to get a second degree after he completes his BSc course. It recently assisted one of them gain admission into Imperial College.choice of location was tactical as he confesses that he can't do without his daily dose of south Indian food . one of the most exciting and 'cool' jobs out there. noted Mr Ivan Ng.

900 newly-qualified teachers received their NIE diplomas earlier this week. When he was a relief teacher for the first six months.' he said. The workload was tiring. and I realised that after 10 years in the airforce. I took a paycut of about 30 per cent to venture into something quite unknown. hitting the books was the toughest part because he was never academically inclined. His initial fears about not being able to juggle family commitments and studies proved unfounded. Madam Yvonne Tham. he said. has a one-year-old son. Some 1. But I had to push myself if I wanted to be teacher. who is married to a leasing manager. the arrival of his first child made it doubly difficult. Mr Ng would tell you otherwise.' For Mr Ng. He beat about 650 students to emerge the valedictorian in a graduation ceremony on Tuesday. and will be bonded with the Ministry of Education for three years.' The former staff sergeant then enrolled for a two-year diploma in education programme with the National Institute of Education (NIE) in 2007. mark assignments. Mr Ng graduated with a diploma in mechatronics from Singapore Polytechnic in 1995. He was paid about $2. He also picked up the Dr Shila Fernandez Prize for the best performance in the Diploma in Education programme ( communication skills for teachers and the English language). 34. Mr Ng. He said: 'It was a difficult decision. he had to plan the lessons. I am a very technical person and I prefer a hands-on approach instead. She said: 'It was tough taking the pay cut.000 a month while studying. 'But I saw that he has a passion for teaching and he should pursue that. And he readily agrees that making a mid-career switch is never easy .especially when it means studying something totally unrelated. Pushed himself 'I am not the studying type. I can't do that (being a weapons specialist) for good. But I wanted a change of environment.specialist. For this new father. His wife. He gave up one dream job to pursue another. and he often returned home late. teach. said she had some reservations when her husband wanted to be a teacher. .

a new father and meeting deadlines for course assignments. 'If that happens. he had to constantly juggle his responsibilities as a husband. the flame in us that fires our passion must never die. a year ago. He admitted that teaching is not a cushy profession but said that the interaction with students from diverse backgrounds and making a difference to their lives will more than make up for his personal sacrifice. 'Please leave the profession. When he started the course at NIE. In his valedictory speech. the diaper changes. There were the late-night feedings for the baby. one of my tutors quoted. who were in their early 20s. the arrival of my son. . for you are doing more harm than good'. wives can be pleasant distractions). Ian. lessons to attend during the day and readings to do at night. He has since been posted to a neighbourhood primary school where he'll teach English. Mathematics and Science.He also completed his part-time bachelor of science degree programme with the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) four years ago. my wife (yes.' But he learnt to manage his time and resources to cope with the rigorous demands of school. He said: 'I was the oldest student in my tutorial classes and initially I felt out of place with my classmates. 'I also faced distractions from family issues.' This article was first published in The New Paper. and most recently. 'A jaded teacher who doesn't care will not be able to polish the raw diamonds that are our students. Mr Ng said: 'While we will sometimes feel deflated and tired.

In line with the symposium was the premiere of an art installation piece named Singapore's Voices. Mar 08. an active researcher in the field of bilingualism. Dr Ng Bee Chin.' 'All it takes is one generation for a language to die.' she added. 40 years ago. was hosted by NTU's Centre for Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies.Languages and Dialects: Their Demise >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sun. While many languages are in danger of dying. said: 'One way to promote and protect linguistics is to allow . The event. there is still hope that efforts can be made to preserve existent languages. acting head of the division. Professor Li Wei from the University of London. and to create new ones. Young children are not speaking some of these languages at all any more. 2009 The Straits Times One generation . a marrying of linguistics.500 known languages currently in use worldwide will be extinct by 2050. art and technology to make language a tangible item through photographs and sound.that's all it takes 'for a language to die' LANGUAGE experts estimate that about half of the 6. Nanyang Technological University (NTU) held a two-day Language and Diversity Symposium to promote the preservation of dying languages of the world. such as the Chinese dialects Hakka and Teochew and the Indian languages of Malayalam and Telugu. we were even more multilingual. which was launched Thursday. The piece features interactive images of speakers whose languages are becoming obsolete here. said: 'Although Singaporeans are still multilingual.

Hence. acting head of Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies: 'Although Singaporeans are still multilingual. Mar 07.' JALELAH ABU BAKER >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Sat. the more languages a person learns. 40 years ago.contact among different cultures and people. There are linguistically gifted individuals who can handle multiple languages. to make it the mother tongue for all Chinese Singaporeans. Singaporeans have to master English. This is the common language of the 1. Using one language more frequently means less time for other languages. the greater the difficulties of retaining them at a high level of fluency. regardless of their dialect groups. Young children are not speaking some of these languages at all any more. we were even more multilingual. it has to be used regularly.' To keep a language alive. It is our common working language and the language which connects us with the world. It interferes with the learning of Mandarin and English.that's all it takes 'for a language to die').3 billion people in China. It mentioned a quote from Dr Ng Bee Chin. but Singapore's experience over 50 years of implementing the bilingual education policy has shown that most people find it extremely difficult to cope with two languages when they are as diverse as English and Mandarin. This is why we have discouraged the use of dialects. 2009 The Straits Times Foolish to advocate the learning of dialects I REFER to yesterday's article by Ms Jalelah Abu Baker ('One generation . New languages are created through such contact. overseas Chinese . To engage China. We also emphasised the learning of Mandarin.

it must be a language hub. 2009 The Straits Times Create love of languages WHATEVER hub Singapore aims to be. That was the reason the Government stopped all dialect programmes on radio and television after 1979. then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew also stopped making speeches in Hokkien. but also with foreigners whether here or abroad.and foreigners are learning Mandarin and not the dialects of the different Chinese provinces. Having said this. They enable us to tap into the . Mar 20. Singapore must be an international city where these and many other languages flourish. visits to dentists or mothers-in-law. It would be stupid for any Singapore agency or NTU to advocate the learning of dialects. Languages enable us to communicate not only with our immediate neighbours. English and Mandarin are certainly necessary but definitely insufficient. This is a resource which we can and must develop. We have achieved progress with our bilingual education in the past few decades. Not to give conflicting signals. To this end. which must be at the expense of English and Mandarin. let us remember that something that is imperative may not be pleasurable: for example. Many Singaporeans are now fluent in both English and Mandarin. If this fails. Chee Hong Tat Principal Private Secretary to the Minister Mentor >> ASIAONE / NEWS / EDUCATION / STORY Fri. which he had become fluent in after frequent use since 1961. all others will not succeed.

oriental or occidental.immense store of knowledge and wisdom of the greats. Even the poor can have immense collections of libraries and entertainment resources on his desk. whether past or present. but the key to these treasures is linguistic capability. Much information on myriads of topics is available with a click of the mouse. All these are within easy reach because of the Internet. Ee Teck Ee .

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