As part of SIM University's (UniSIM) contributions to advance service-learning (S-L) in Singapore, the University co-organised and hosted the national Service-Learning Conference for the first time, in collaboration with Youth Corps Singapore (YCS), on 3 March 2016.
Themed "Learning to Serve: From Self to Community", the conference brought together 300 educators, youth sector organisations and youth leaders to focus on better enabling youth sector professionals to develop youths to become innovative contributors to change, founded on awareness of self and others. The conference equipped the attendees with in-depth S-L knowledge through interactive workshops and simulations conducted by established scholars and experienced S-L practitioners. Mr Baey Yam Keng, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, was the Guest-of-Honour at the event.
At the conference, UniSIM and YCS also inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), undertaking to collaborate to advance S-L in Singapore, most notably, to design, develop and offer a range of professional certification courses in S-L. UniSIM announced the launch of these courses that will cover the philosophy, principles and practices of S-L to support much-needed effective S-L practitioners who can play a key role in facilitating S-L programmes, and community practitioners who can nurture the next generation of youth for service to society. This collaboration aligns with UniSIM's aim to serve as an open, inclusive community resource, forming part of the larger ecosystem that contributes in service of society.
UniSIM students also shared their S-L experiences at the conference poster session, explaining what they have learnt from and contributed to the communities they serve.
Panellists of the plenary session on "Service-Learning: Bridging Policies, Pedagogies, Practices": (from left) Mr Ong Kah Kuang, Executive Director of YCS; Mrs Anita Low-Lim, Director of TOUCH Youth at TOUCH Community Services; Mr Puvan Ariaratnam, Director of the Character and Citizenship Education branch at the Ministry of Education; Ms Grace Wee, Immediate Past President of the National Institute of Education Service Learning Club; and Mr Scott Ganske, Senior Director of Youth Service America,
with moderator Dr Yap Meen Sheng, Director of Service-Learning & Student Life at UniSIM.
The signing of the MOU by (front, from left) Professor Tsui Kai Chong, Provost of UniSIM; and Mr Ong Kah Kuang,
Executive Director of YCS, was witnessed by (back, from left) Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of UniSIM;
and Mr David Chua, Chief Executive Officer of National Youth Council.
UniSIM S-L student leaders with Mr Baey Yam Keng (centre).