Committee Of Supply Debates 2023 Speech By Senior Minister Of State For Manpower And Defence Zaqy Mohamad On 06 March 2023
Empowering a Capable and Contributing Community Success
Mr Chairman, our Malay community can be proud of the significant progress that we have made over the years. As more achieve success, we must continue mobilising and rallying one another to contribute back, inspire others and help those in need. With this spirit of togetherness, we can overcome challenges, achieve our aspirations, and lead meaningful lives. To empower a capable and contributing community,
a. We will provide a strong educational foundation for our young;
b. Nurture a strong community spirit through youth volunteerism and mentoring; and
c. Help Malay/Muslim professionals fulfil their potential and enable them to inspire others to pursue their dreams.
Chairman, in Malay please.
Asas pendidikan yang kukuh untuk golongan muda kita
Pendidikan kekal sebagai asas kejayaan kerana ia akan membuka peluang yang dapat membantu kita mencapai cita-cita kita. MENDAKI akan membantu kanak-kanak dan para belia kita untuk memenuhi potensi mereka dengan mempertingkatkan mutu program pendidikan dan pembangunan kami secara kerap. Encik Sharael Taha dan Cik Mariam Jaafar bertanya tentang keberkesanan program-program MENDAKI.
a. Satu program utama yang dikendalikan MENDAKI di bawah naungan rangkaian M³ ialah program KelasMateMatika atau KMM.
i. Program ini telah menyokong hampir 4,000 pelajar, berumur empat hingga enam tahun, sejak 2018. Ia juga membina keyakinan ibu bapa untuk membantu anak-anak mereka dalam subjek Matematik. Sepanjang tiga tahun yang lalu, sekitar 8 bagi setiap 10 pelajar yang menyertai program KMM bersedia untuk menduduki subjek Matematik di peringkat darjah satu dan tidak perlu menghadiri Program Sokongan Matematik (LSM). Ini amat memberangsangkan kerana sebuah kajian yang dijalankan bersama oleh MENDAKI dan Universiti Sains Sosial Singapura (SUSS) mendapati bahawa asas yang kukuh di peringkat darjah satu mempunyai kesan jangka panjang dan berhubung kait dengan prestasi pelajar di peringkat PSLE.
ii. Selain pendedahan awal kepada subjek Matematik, pelajar-pelajar KMM akan menyertai kem pengekodan khas, serta perjalanan pembelajaran atau “learning journeys”, untuk menerapkan ilmu Matematik dalam kehidupan seharian mereka.
iii. Kelas KMM akan dijalankan secara fizikal dan dalam talian, agar lebih ramai kanak-kanak dan ibu bapa dapat menyertainya. Tahun ini, kami menyasarkan seramai 2,500 kanak-kanak ke dalam KMM. Sesi-sesi khas akan dianjurkan di tadika-tadika yang terpilih, termasuk kesemua 15 tadika yang berpusat di masjid.
b. Sebuah lagi program yang sudah sebati dengan usaha pendidikan MENDAKI ialah Skim Tuisyen MENDAKI atau MTS.
i. Tahun lalu, MTS telah menyokong lebih 7,600 pelajar dari serata Singapura. Saya berbesar hati kerana pusat MTS yang ke-100 telahpun dilancarkan di Sekolah Rendah Greendale pada Februari lalu. Sejak tahun lalu, kami juga telah mengurangkan yuran MTS kepada hanya $10 setahun berbanding dengan $210 sebelum itu. Dengan pembukaan pusat MTS di kawasan kejiranan dan yuran yang lebih dimampui, saya berharap lebih ramai lagi dapat menyertai dan meraih manfaat daripada program ini.
c. Selain pencapaian akademik, para belia juga perlu mempunyai sistem sokongan sosial yang kukuh. Selain daripada keluarga, para mentor boleh membimbing belia-belia meluaskan ufuk pemikiran mereka. Sedang mereka menjadi lebih peka akan laluan pendidikan dan kerjaya yang ada, kami harap mereka akan bercita-bercita tinggi dan gigih berusaha untuk membuat impian mereka menjadi nyata.
d. Dalam ucapan COS saya tahun lalu, saya telah mengumumkan bahawa program pementoran #amPowered akan dilancarkan di Institut Pendidikan Teknikal (ITE) dan bandar-bandar M³ secara bertahap-tahap. Sebagai menjawab pertanyaan Cik Nadia Ahmad Samdin, program #amPowered kini telahpun dilaksanakan di ketiga-tiga kolej ITE, serta tiga bandarM³ di Jurong, Chua Chu Kang dan Marsiling-Yew Tee.
i. Semasa pandemik COVID-19, kami terpaksa mengalihkan sesi pementoran kami kepada dalam talian. Akibatnya, lebih sukar untuk membina hubungan erat antara para belia dan para mentor mereka. Mujur, mulai tahun ini, sesi pementoran dapat dijalankan sepenuhnya secara fizikal. Kami juga telah menyemai konsep pembelajaran berasaskan pengalaman dan kerja kebajikan dalam program pementoran kami supaya para belia lebih terdedah kepada peluang pendidikan dan pekerjaan serta lebih peka akan isu-isu semasa.
ii. Sepanjang tahun ini, MENDAKI bakal manganjurkan sekurang-kurangnya satu program pementoran belia di setiap bandar M³. Ini akan memudahkan lagi para belia untuk mendaftarkan diri mereka bagi program-program sebegini, tidak kira lokasi kediaman mereka. MENDAKI juga sedang menilai program pementoran kami dengan teliti untuk memahami sajauh mana program ini telah memberi faedah kepada para belia kita.
Melalui program-program pendidikan dan pementoran ini, kami berharap golongan muda kita akan cemerlang di sekolah dan membina asas dan rangkaian yang kukuh supaya mereka dapat mencapai kejayaan yang lebih tinggi pada masa akan datang.
Tuan Pengerusi, dalam Bahasa Inggeris.
Nurture the community spirit through youth volunteerism and mentoring
Uplifting a community requires each of us to play a part. At the centre of our education and mentoring programmes, is a strong, dedicated team of volunteers who understands the needs of the community. In the past three years, more than 1,000 volunteers were deployed across MENDAKI programmes to engage beneficiaries at different life stages. Therefore, our volunteers need to be equipped with the necessary skill sets and expertise to engage the beneficiaries effectively. One of our volunteers is Ms Nur Alwany.
a. Ms Alwany was a recipient of the Tertiary Tuition Fee Subsidy (TTFS) when she undertook her studies in Polytechnic and the University. She wanted to give back and first volunteered with MENDAKI in 2016 for the KidsRead programme and subsequently with KMM.
b. As a KMM facilitator, Ms Alwany builds her students’ interest and capability in basic numeracy though fun and engaging ways. She also encourages her students to actively participate in her class to build their self-confidence.
c. For her dedication, MENDAKI encouraged Ms Alwany to attend a family conference by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) last year. Through the conference, Ms Alwany gained better insights to the needs of her students and was able to apply the lessons she learnt to her role as a KMM facilitator.
I have met many like Ms Alwany, who had benefited from MENDAKI’s programmes, and now feels a sense of duty to help others. I am heartened by their generosity and spirit of gotong-royong. This virtuous cycle of support will be the engine of our community’s progress.
Mr Sharael Taha asked how we can encourage more youth to come forward as volunteers.
a. Last year, as we celebrated the achievements of our students, we made a call for them to step up and make positive contributions to the community. MENDAKI has established the YOUth@M³ platform to engage TTFS and Anugerah recipients at the respective M³ Towns to encourage them to befriend and help their peers. I am heartened that over 130 youth have so far indicated their interest to be volunteers across our M³ towns.
b. We will continue to support the passion and energy of our youth to make positive changes they want to see within their communities. It is through these volunteering opportunities that our youth develop skills, discover interests, build relationships and guide others to success.
Fulfilling potential and inspiring others to achieve their dreams
While we create strong foundations for our young, we must also focus on supporting our Malay/Muslim workforce. As a community, we must continue supporting one another to improve employment and upskilling opportunities so that more can have good jobs and achieve their career goals.
I thank Mr Saktiandi Supaat for his suggestions, and would like to update him that,
a. We have strengthened the partnerships across the M³ network, employers and the Malay/Muslim Organisations (MMO) to support our workers. We established our employability networks, involving agencies such as NTUC e2i, NTUC Learning Hub, Workforce Singapore (WSG), and SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), to better assist our Malay/Muslim workers with their employment needs. This covers training and upskilling, and landing job placements. Since establishing this referral process, we have reached out to close to 2,000 Malay/Muslim workers to advise and guide them on their careers.
b. MENDAKI has also formed the Professional Networks programme, for Malay/Muslim professionals to know others in their field, exchange ideas and help younger workers enter growing industries. Last year, MENDAKI connected with more than 400 Malay/Muslim professionals in the Care, Green and Digital sectors.
i. This year, MENDAKI plans to expand its Professional Networks to include other in-demand industries such as Finance, Sustainability and Engineering. This will create more opportunities to connect our youths with professionals who can inspire and guide them to pursue a wide range of career pathways. I would like to urge early- and mid-career professionals in these sectors to join our effort to build this community network of success.
c. MENDAKI also shares best practices with other MMOs through the Community Leaders’ Forum (CLF) to help them deliver more effective programmes. Mr Faisal Manap asked for an update on the CLF and the Malay/Muslim Community Development Fund (MMCDF).
i. The CLF serves as a platform to ensure efficient and effective management of resources by the various MMOs, to avoid duplication of programmes and services. In 2022, more than 170 participants attended sharing sessions on programme evaluation, volunteer management and governance. This provided an opportunity for CLF partners to come together to contribute to the learning and development of best practices.
ii. Since 2013, the MMCDF has been expanded to support project implementation and organisational development efforts of our MMOs. Through the MMCDF, CLF provides funding support for our MMOs to develop and implement programmes that uplift the community. To the member’s question, our last review was in 2021. Last year, we disbursed $900,000 in support of 47 such community projects. One such project supported by the CLF was AMP’s Micro Business Programme. The programme empowers individuals from less privileged households by equipping them with trade and business skills to start or enhance their home-based business as additional source of income. Beyond projects, MMCDF also supports initiatives to groom the next generation leaders of our MMOs through the Tunas Bersama M³ programme. This is our way to build capacity because these are the leaders who will be at the helm of our MMOs in charting the community’s way forward in the near future.
MENDAKI will continue to work with the Government, fellow Malay/Muslim Organisations, sector leaders, and employees to ramp up efforts to empower the community, whether through M³ or CLF, to gain good employment and together support those who are in need.
Mr Chairman, Minister Masagos, Minister Maliki and I have spoken on the theme of Contributing Citizens, Stronger Nation, and how we intend to strengthen the foundation of the family, nurture future religious and community leaders, and expand the community’s contributions to the nation.
As new challenges emerge, we must continue to build up and leverage our community support, knowledge and resources to become a Community of Success. As the saying goes, alone we can do so little, together we can do so much more. I am confident that our Malay/Muslim community will continue to forge forward as one, and contribute towards the prosperity of the nation.
Strong educational foundation for our young
Education remains a cornerstone to success as it opens doors to opportunities that lead us towards our aspirations. MENDAKI will help our children and youth fulfil their potential by regularly improving our education and developmental programmes. Mr Sharael Taha and Ms Mariam Jaafar asked about the effectiveness of MENDAKI’s programmes.
a. A key upstream developmental programme run by MENDAKI under the auspices of M³ is KelasMateMatika or KMM.
i. This programme has supported close to 4,000 children, aged four to six, since 2018. It also builds parents’ confidence in assisting their children in Mathematics. In the last three years, about 8 in 10 KMM graduates were prepared for Primary 1 Mathematics and did not enroll in the Learning Support for Mathematics (LSM) Programme in Primary 1. This is encouraging as a study jointly undertaken by MENDAKI and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) showed that a strong educational foundation in Primary 1 has a long-lasting impact and is strongly correlated to how well a student does at PSLE.
ii. Besides early exposure to Math, students go through specially curated online coding camps and learning journeys to inculcate the subject into their everyday lives.
iii. KMM classes are conducted both physically and online to make them more assessable to children and their parents. This year, we are targeting to enrol 2,500 students into the programme. Dedicated runs of the programme will be organised at targeted preschool centres including all 15 mosque-based kindergartens.
b. Another programme that has become synonymous to MENDAKI’s academic efforts is the MENDAKI Tuition Scheme or MTS.
i Last year, MTS supported more than 7,600 students across Singapore. I am happy to update that we have launched the 100th MTS centre at Greendale Primary School last February. Since last year, we have also reduced the MTS fees to just $10 per year from $210 previously. With the opening of more centres in the neighbourhood and more affordable fees, I hope more will join and benefit from the programme.
c. Besides academic achievements, it is important for our youth to have a good social support system. Besides their families, mentors can guide and help our youth expand their world view. As they become more aware of available education and career pathways, we hope that they will be inspired to set higher goals for themselves and work towards achieving their aspirations.
d. In my COS speech last year, I announced that the #amPowered mentoring programme will be introduced progressively in all ITEs and M³ towns. To Ms Nadia Ahmad Samdin’s query, the #amPowered programme has been set up at all 3 ITE Colleges and across 3 M³ Towns in Jurong, Chua Chu Kang and Marsiling-Yew Tee.
i During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were forced to shift our mentoring sessions online. This made it challenging for our youth to build strong connections with their mentors. Fortunately, from this year, we will be able to conduct our mentoring sessions fully physically. We have also infused experiential learning and community building activities into our mentoring programme so that our youth can be exposed to more educational and career opportunties, and be more cognisant of current issues.
ii. By the end of this year, MENDAKI will organise at least one youth mentoring programme in each M3 Town, making it easier for our youths to sign up for one, no matter where they reside in. MENDAKI is currently evaluating our mentoring programmes to understand how far our youth have benefited from them.
Through our education and mentoring programmes, we hope our youth will excel in school and build strong foundations and network to set themselves for greater achievements in the future.
Chairman, in English please.