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New Character and Citizenship Syllabus Takes on Local Flavour and Encourages Family Bonding

06 Jan 2014

Art Niche at Naval Base Secondary School

The new Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) syllabus and textbooks were launched on the first day of school in 2014.

A new syllabus for Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) was recently launched in the new year, in line with the current emphasis on a values-driven education. Students will be able to relate easily to the content, which is designed based on their daily life experiences. For example, the first topic for Primary One students is "The First Day of School".

"The new Character and Citizenship syllabus, as well as the textbooks, make use of lively and interactive modes, and encourage our students to reflect on their actions and internalise these values through specific acts," said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who launched the new textbooks at Rivervale Primary School on the first day of the new school year.

The new CCE syllabus will continue to be taught in the various Mother Tongue Languages (MTL). In the new textbooks, locally flavoured stories of multicultural Singapore are used to teach values. For example, in the Tamil textbook, a well-known story of the cap seller and the monkeys* is used to teach children to use their intellect to solve problems.

Promoting "Family Time"

In addition, a new segment in the syllabus on "Family Time" encourages parents to reinforce their child's learning and promote family bonding through suggested activities. For example, students can plan their holiday timetable together with their parents.

"I will try to weave it into my daily life," said Mrs Joelle Yeo, a parent of two children who attend Rivervale Primary School.

Art Niche at Naval Base Secondary School

At Rivervale Primary School, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat views the new CCE teaching and learning resources together with parents.

Mrs Yeo would teach her son to say, "Excuse me," instead of jostling his way through a crowd. She also hopes that he will learn to be responsible, such as remembering to bring his things to school on his own accord.

"I believe that values set the basis for academic learning," said Mrs Yeo.

During class time, students can share with one another what they have done with their family, and motivate one another. Community partners will also provide resources to support the CCE lessons. The National Environment Agency, for example, provides learning materials for the "Clean Singapore Learning Trail" to help students understand how their behaviour affects the environment.

Creating Opportunities in School

Character is not just taught, but caught. To provide opportunities for students to apply what they learn in real situations, schools are given the freedom to develop school-based programmes according to the profile and needs of their students.

Art Niche at Naval Base Secondary School

The new Chracter and Citizenship Education syllabus will include an important segment of "Family Time" to encourage the involvement of parents and promote family bonding.

For example, at Rivervale Primary School, GOTCHA was initiated in 2013 to reward students' good behaviour when it is spotted by teachers or even their peers. The teachers also plan for "Breakfast in Rivervale", where each class is given a budget and can decide together, what they would like to have for a balanced breakfast.

"While they are making breakfast for their peers, they also learn the value of care," said Mdm Ng Wan Jun, Subject Head for Character and Citizenship Education at Rivervale Primary.

Students will have much to look forward to as the new school year kicks off on this exciting note. As they learn the right lessons and develop good values at a young age, it would stand them in good stead for their educational journey and life ahead!

*The Cap Seller and the Monkeys is a traditional children's story told in Tamil. A cap seller dozed off under a big tree after he had made a few sales. The monkeys on the tree took caps from his bag, put them on and climbed back up the tree. When the cap seller awoke and noticed what had happened, he threw his cap on the ground. The monkeys imitated the action of the cap seller, who collected the caps and went away happily.

Watch this video about the launch of the new syllabus!