Office of Service-Learning & Community Engagement

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NIE301 Learning with Communities

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What was most rewarding about the course?

"The theory-based knowledge expanded my horizon on the many big-picture perspectives regarding the environment, while the hands-on opportunities I have gained, such as tree-planting and nature guiding, went hand-in-hand with each other."

Elise Tang Rui Si
Full-Time Marketing Student
Theme: Environmental Conservation


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Why did you choose to take up the course?

"I feel that food security is an increasingly relevant issue in today's world and I appreciated having the freedom and flexibility to explore specific topics that we were interested in. Through our project, we promoted the theory of permaculture and encouraged the public to grow sustainable community and home gardens."

Lim Kim Yong Sean
Full-Time Human Resource Management Student
Theme: Enabling Sustainable Food Security


NIE301 Learning with Communities is an SUSS Core Course that utilises an experiential learning approach in collaboration with diverse stakeholders to empower students to navigate responsible action for real-world community impact

Students undertaking NIE301 will learn the skills to co-create, implement and co-evaluate reciprocal community change initiatives in collaboration with diverse stakeholders. They will be equipped with the experiences, skills and values to continue to learn through practice and critical reflection on what it means to do good well as a way of life.

Each tutorial group is centred around a curated theme and learners are expected to collaborate with community partners/members to propose and implement a Service-Learning initiative.

NIE301 Themes

Please note that the availability of themes may vary every year and/or semester.

This Tutorial Group (TG) offers a glimpse into the ageing issues and challenges faced by Singapore. According to the Singapore Population Census 2020, one in four persons will be 65 years and above by 2030. (MOH, 2020) The massive change in the population landscape in our society can be seen in workplaces and communities through our daily interaction with different seniors.

Through working with an active ageing centre (AAC) and interacting with seniors from the neighbourhoods, students are invited to discuss and consider: (1) What are the impacts of an ageing population on different aspects of our society, from the economy to the healthcare system? (2) How to create aged-friendly living environments that enable seniors to age in place? (3) the role of the community in sustaining health and supporting ageing in communities.

In one of the latest findings by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), it was reported that the average youth offending was an average of 2,500 arrest in a year.  One big area of concern highlighted by MSF that attributes to the crimes stems from intergenerational offending and family disruptions.  Whilst the exact transmission mode of each ‘habit’ is unique to each family, what is concerning is how it is passed on and continued because of how much influence family can have on their child. It takes a village to raise a child, but in this instance, it also takes one to potentially destroy their future.

Together with the social service agencies, the government has put in placed many intervention programmes when the child or youth are still in school to catch them in their formative years.  Whilst the schools are there to create one layer of safety net, their family relationship and support plays the biggest influence in their development.  Through initiatives like MSF’s ComLink (started in 2019), the government’s efforts are more concerted and holistic in the child/youth’s development phase when the families are also involved in the whole journey.

Instead of programmes that targets only at the child, increasingly, more social service agencies are looking at curating programmes that focuses on a multi-pronged strengths-based approach to promote a more holistic development of the family as a unit.

In the early years following Singapore’s independence, pressing demands on national resources to develop Singapore’s economy took precedence over culture and heritage development. The state's nation-building efforts necessitated a move to focus on pragmatic values which led to the dilution of culture and heritage within in the context of principle of collectivism.

However, the state recognizes the integral role that culture and heritage have in the nation’s development of its national identity; it fosters the cultivation of a common understanding and bond amongst the people, through shared experiences as the nation navigates through social, economic and political development. 

In line with the state’s nation-building efforts, there is a palpable need for the conservation of culture and heritage as cultural exchanges and appreciation contribute to a broader sense of community that transcends individual differences.

Beyond the state’s nation-building efforts, culture and heritage preservation supports various communities in passing down their unique history, traditions, and knowledge to future generations, fostering a sense of continuity and connection across generations.

In an era marked by rapid urbanization, climate change, and global interconnectedness, ensuring food security has become a critical challenge for cities worldwide. Here, we take participants on an immersive experience through the dynamic foodscape of Singapore as the nation embarks on its journey towards food security.

Through Service-Learning, this course is designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of food security issues as well as the various strategies and innovations by various parties to overcome them. In addition to a series of lectures, in-class activities and site visits, participants will have the opportunities to learn alongside our community partners through the design and execution of projects related to food security in Singapore.

This Tutorial Group (TG) aims to provide students with an understanding of wetland ecosystems and the challenges and opportunities in habitat conservation. Through the application of the principles of Service-Learning and other theories, students will examine the environmental conservation issues in the context of Singapore, in particular the mangrove ecosystem. They will learn to appreciate the benefits mangrove ecosystems bring to humans and the environment. Along this journey, students will enhance their critical thinking skills as they assess the impacts, challenges and opportunities in the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Lessons will involve case studies, role-play, personal reflections and the student’s active participation to explore social, economic and environmental aspects of wetland conservation, in a safe and engaging learning environment.

At the end of the course, students will be able to identify key species of Singapore’s mangrove flora and fauna, recognise the importance of wetlands, discuss environmental conservation issues through the lens of systems thinking, and assess the value of mangrove ecosystem services from multiple perspectives. The students will also be able to plan and organise a nature guided tour to engage the identified community, and execute a nature guided tour with confidence.

Persons with disabilities – in the form of physical, sensory and intellectual ones, as well as autism – have their education, employment and recreational prospects, as equal members of the community, significantly reduced as a result of these disabilities (source: Singapore’s Enabling Masterplan). Inclusion efforts aim to address this situation, lowering or removing barriers for their equal participation, which might even include our very own mindsets. In this TG, you get the opportunity to take part in Service Learning initiatives, working alongside Community Partners and persons with disabilities, to find out what are some on-the-ground strategies for promoting disability inclusion.

As you experience these efforts, you will be facilitated to reflect on how the theories and practices you have come across in this TG have shaped you to be an agent of inclusion, be it within this TG or beyond.

Other Programmes

*Service-Learning reserves the rights to amend and/or revise the above content without any prior notification.


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