The Straits Times

This category contains 233 posts

Dwindling Non-Graduate Teachers Signals Need For Diversity

At first glance the dwindling number of non-graduate educators and principals, who respectively make up around 13 per cent (about 4,400 out of 34,392 educators) and just one per cent (four out of 372 principals) of their respective cohorts (ST, Feb. 9), can be attributed to the higher number of graduates in Singapore. Yet the numbers also reflect the persistent focus on paper qualifications, especially as a signalling mechanism – even though since 2015 the Ministry of Education (MOE) has abolished the differences in remuneration structure for graduates and non-graduates – and signal the need for diversity not just in the types of qualifications, but also in the specialisations and even professional backgrounds of the teachers. Continue reading

To Improve Volunteerism Rates Among Young Adults, Study School-Based Community Programmes

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin is hardly the first to emphasise the importance of volunteerism in Singapore, with the accompanying statistic that among young adults aged 25 to 34 “only 29 per cent of respondents [to the Individual Giving Survey, administered by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre] in that age group volunteered for a social cause in 2016” (ST, Jan. 27). Yet progress has hardly been made, because little is known about the effectiveness of school-based community programmes – Values in Action, the Community Involvement Programme, and service-learning projects – as well as the reasons why young adults may not be willing to or able to volunteer. Continue reading

Donors – Not Just Crowdfunding Websites – Must Exercise Discretion

Even though the abuse of crowdfunding websites in Singapore appears to be the exception, rather than the norm, the Commissioner of Charities (COC) is right to work “with key players in the crowdfunding scene to develop a set of best practices for crowdfunding sites” (ST, Nov. 30). Yet missing from this endeavour is a more concerted call for donors themselves to exercise greater discretion when giving money – online, and even offline – and in this vein hold non-profit causes and organisations to greater account. This is even more critical, if one considers the ease with which potential abusers can turn to other platforms such as direct bank or money transfers to solicit donations for ill intentions. Continue reading

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