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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 5 October 2007

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Five schools to pilot boarding programmes for students


New Boarding Programmes: Strengthening Character, Forging Bonds

Five schools will be piloting various models of boarding programmes starting from 2008, to support the all-round development of their students.
The five schools are Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) (ACS(I)), Hwa Chong Institution (HCI), National Junior College (NJC), National University of Singapore High School of Mathematics and Science (NUSHS) and Raffles Institution (RI).
The announcement was made by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, at the MOE Work Plan Seminar 2007 on 2 Oct 2007.
Character and leadership development has been a key focus of our schools. This includes instilling in our students the instinct to serve, developing bonds amongst them and a sense of rootedness in the community. Boarding will deepen the schools’ efforts to develop these traits.
Boarding also encourages close interactions between students from different social and cultural backgrounds.
In addition, it will give students more opportunity to pursue intellectual interests in a non-examinable setting and under close mentorship of teachers or House Masters.
Boarding has proven to be a useful platform in several top schools overseas, with the aim of providing a rounded and rigorous education, and developing in students a sense of communal responsibility.
The boarding experience in these schools is integral to the education they provide, and is not limited to or aimed at students whose families live a distance away from the school.
The approaches and duration of boarding will vary across the five schools. They will also go beyond the current limited boarding experiences for local students, both in the scope of the programmes envisaged and the number of local students involved.
As all five schools are also delivering the Integrated Programme, they have greater flexibility to incorporate the boarding experience into school life.
Some key features of the boarding models that the schools will adopt are:
a. Boarding by cohort: This will allow schools to organise the whole school experience for a cohort around boarding, such as designing timetables and programmes to enable studies, Co-Curricular and Service Activities, leadership development and other enrichment activities to be woven together into students’ regular schedule. NUSHS and NJC will pilot this model.
b. Boarding across levels: This will provide opportunities for mentorship and guidance between older and younger students, and create a close knit and familial learning environment. ACS(I) and HCI will be adopting this approach.
c. Boarding with a focus on leadership development: Some schools will have a more selective programme focusing on leadership development, with more opportunities for team-building activities and to serve the community. RI and HCI intend to adopt this model.
For most of the schools, there will also be more time and space for students to take on additional non-examinable academic subjects, such as philosophy, political science and anthropology. Students will be able to pursue intellectual topics of their interest or even design their own multidisciplinary subjects in a closely guided environment, mentored by teachers and housemasters.
The 5 schools will evolve and reshape their boarding programmes over time, based on the experience in the initial years.
The schools will provide subsidies for the cost of boarding to ensure that no student is denied the opportunity to participate in the boarding programme due to financial difficulties.
Please see Annex A for further details on each boarding programme.
More..... (Annex)

Source: Press Release 1 Oct 2007

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Public Holidays HARI RAYA PUASA is the next public holiday. It falls on 13 October 2007.