Building Internships that Matter

Building Internships that Matter

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Media Type
NIE News September 2015,

By Office of Teacher Education

Above: Ms Charissa Ong (right) enjoyed her overseas experience in Gopeng, Malaysia

Above: Mr Lishanth Thangavelu (in front) with a fellow camp instructor at Camp Challenge

On 11 May 2015, the Office of Teacher Education officially launched BUILD, as a three academic unit elective for students within the Teaching Scholars Programme (TSP).

Traditionally, student teachers are not exposed to organisational culture outside the school environment. Building University Interns for Leadership Development (BUILD) is a five-week industrial attachment programme that bridges this gap.

Differing from most internships, the BUILD programme encompasses a project element that will value-add to the functions of the host organisation. Projects could involve any innovative and practical solutions that address management issues and leverage on corporate opportunities. These projects could take on but are not limited to an education slant.

Above: Mr Lishanth Thangavelu (in front) with a fellow camp instructor at Camp Challenge

Mr Roysmond Sim hard at work at the MOE headquarters

One of our TSP students, Ms Nurazilah Mohamed Shukor, was attached to the National Heritage Board. For her, BUILD helped her experience things beyond the school syllabus and outside the classroom. Her project involved conceptualising activities for a heritage walk targeted at primary school students and their families to explore buildings and structures that mark major milestones in Singapore’s history. Using her theoretical knowledge, she is able to come up with teachable moments while infusing the trails’ activities with values explored in the Character and Citizenship Education syllabus.

Mr Roysmond Sim was posted to the Higher Education Division Policy Section 3 at the Ministry of Education (MOE) Headquarters. He was involved in outreach efforts to gather opinions from various stakeholders regarding the New Science Centre forecasted to be built by 2020. Roysmond was given the opportunity to put his finger on the pulse and conduct focus group discussions with different public bodies. He feels that working with MOE has given him greater insight on how policies are planned and executed with various considerations taken into account.

BUILD also encourages students to self-source their internship projects. This paid off for Mr Lishanth Thangavelu and Ms Charissa Ong. They were placed as camp instructors and were required to conduct outdoor activities for primary and secondary students. Additionally, Charissa’s stint with Camp Challenge also gave her the chance to travel overseas to Gopeng, Malaysia. During her time there, she was involved in a programme targeted at a group of at-risk secondary school students. The programme also included an overseas community involvement component where the students assisted with the construction and repair of the houses owned by the indigenous Orang Asli community.

Dr Paul Grahame Doyle, from the English Language Institute of Singapore, had this to say about the three interns: “We have all recognised that our NIE ‘BUILDers’ are delightful and conscientious students of subject literacy, and our broader work in schools. They have contributed valuable insights to discussions and participated fully in the Institute’s activities.”

BUILD runs during the vacation period after semester two of each academic year. We look forward to next year’s edition!

This article first appeared in NIE's quarterly publication NIE News in September  2015.