Opening Ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on Character Development through Service and Experiential Learning

Opening Ceremony of the 2nd International Conference on Character Development through Service and Experiential Learning

Date
Tuesday, 17 March 2009

OPENING CEREMONY OF THE 2ND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT THROUGH SERVICE AND EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING ON TUESDAY, 17 MARCH 2009, 10.30AM AT LECTURE THEATRE 1, BLOCK 6, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION, 1 NANYANG WALK, SINGAPORE

Organised and hosted by NIE, the second International Conference on Character Development through Service and Experiential Learning will be held on 17 and 18 March 2009 at the NIE/NTU campus. The opening ceremony will be officiated by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education on 17 March 2009, 10.30am at NIE. The programmes for the two-day conference are enclosed in Annexe A and B respectively.

Highlights of the Conference

Drawing attention at this year's conference is the Youth Voice in Service Learning (YVSL) where participating schools will put forward their best practices in service-learning in Singapore at a two-day exhibition, which aims to enrich, engage and empower youths in service-learning. YVSL is also a solution to all needs and queries in service-learning.

13 Service-Leaning project teams will be conferred the Youth Service-Learning Award 2009 (YSLA) on 18 March 2009. Organised by the National Youth Council (NYC), this is the only award that is presented to outstanding and innovative youth S-L projects at the national level. The Award ceremony will be held at NIE in conjunction with the conference. Mr Teo Ser Luck, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development, Youth and Sports, and Transport, and Chairman, National Youth Council will be the Guest-of-Honour for this award ceremony.

There will be five keynote speakers, all of whom are practitioners in the building of character through service and experiential learning. Further details about the distinguished keynote speakers are available in Annexe C.

Besides keynote addresses and paper presentations, there will be poster sessions put up by student teachers of NIE of their Group Endeavours in Service Learning (GESL) projects, students from Primary and Secondary Schools and Junior Colleges. Some of the outstanding GESL projects are enclosed in Annexe D.

In addition, there will be 80, 23 and 13 booths of GESL, YVSL and YSLA projects showcasing respective learning outcomes during the conference.

Background of the Conference

Character development is an essential part of schooling and children are exposed to various opportunities to develop good values and character so that they grow up to be useful citizens of Singapore. Schools in Singapore have many avenues for the inculcation and nurturing of these values through the curriculum such as through Civics and Moral Education, through National Education messages via subjects like social studies, history and geography, literature and others, but more so through the informal curriculum through connecting and interacting with the community through service and experiential learning.

Since 2005, all new student teachers were required to implement a mandatory GESL project as part of their Initial Teacher Preparation Programmes. NIE is one of the few institutions in the Southeast Asian region where Service-Learning (SL) is implemented campus-wide. In addition to this, over 500 student teachers have volunteered in international SL projects in many Asian countries since 2004.

Through planning, executing and reflecting on their experiences, the GESL engagements have raised greater awareness in student teachers of the needs of the community, sense of empathy for the less privileged and a sense of self worth at being able to contribute to meeting those needs. GESL has also developed social and emotional skills in student teachers and have prepared them, to some extent, for Community Involvement Programmes when they go to schools as teachers.

Conference website http://www.servicelearning.nie.edu.sg

ABOUT THE NATIONAL YOUTH COUNCIL

The National Youth Council (NYC) is the national coordinating body of youth affairs in Singapore. The NYC aims to develop a vibrant, highly-connected and self-sustaining youth sector so as to nurture World-Ready Youth.
 
The Youth Service-Learning Award is an initiative of the National Youth Council to recognise outstanding and innovative Service-Learning projects at the national level. It promotes the engagement of youth in communities, enhance youth learning through service and empower youths for impact.

Speeches

Speech by Prof Lee Sing Kong, Director, NIE

Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Education