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More Constructive Ways To Commemorate National Service

S$100 vouchers are nice (TODAY, May 18). A campaign for the public to salute national servicemen may seem respectful (TODAY, Jun. 18). And free bus and train rides for servicemen in their uniforms are well-appreciated – albeit somewhat contrived – gestures (TODAY, Jun. 19). But to meaningfully celebrate 50 years of National Service (NS), these one-off, short-term initiatives should be completed by broader policy discussions for the long-term, and in particular to improve the well-being and experiences of full-time national servicemen (NSF). In fact, these improvements should be based on direct feedback, not views filtered through the chain of command. Otherwise, these nice and respectful gestures will do little to advance conscription or NS for the next 50 years. Continue reading

Learning A Third Language Through Homes, Not Schools

The proposal for Singaporeans to acquire the mother tongue of another racial group in Singapore – so as “to expand our cultural consciousness beyond our individual ethnic groups” (TODAY, Jun. 9) – is well-intentioned, though more practical thought should be given to its policy implementation. The benefits, for instance, are clear, but what about the costs? At first glance, the school appears to be the most expedient platform for this extension to language education, but bearing in mind demographic changes and a growing body of research affirming the importance of preschool instruction, the home may provide a more conducive platform for such learning. Continue reading

Youth Career Platform “Todo Todo” Has Much To Do

Young Singaporeans will benefit from career mentorship and guidance, especially within a global economic landscape that is increasingly competitive and ambiguous, and therefore on paper the new initiative “Todo Todo” – a new mentorship programme which matches young job seekers with older volunteer career guides, who are “young PMEs with at least five years of working experience” (May 1, TODAY) – should provide participants with greater career and industry knowledge. As it stands, however, on its new website and its mobile app, there is still much for the People’s Association and the National Trades Union Congress to do, to improve the user experience and ultimately to make it easier to access the matching platform and network. Continue reading

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