SINGAPORE - A new digital repository will be launched by the end of this month offering materials that assist service learning - when students take part in activities that advance their studies while helping the community and learning values.
The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse will be the first resource of its kind in Singapore, offering videos, reports, fact sheets and other information to education institutions to help them organise things like fundraising activities and overseas community trips.
It is being set up by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). Local institutions and members of the public are free to access the library and can contribute materials.
SUSS president Cheong Hee Kiat said service learning helps students to "pursue life choices that will be socially responsible".
He was speaking at the launch of the 7th Asia Pacific Regional Conference for Service-Learning, which was held at the SUSS on Wednesday (June 19).
It is the first time that the conference is being held in Singapore, with 300 local and international representatives from institutes and welfare organisations coming together over three days to discuss and exchange ideas on service learning.
Panel speakers include professors from Stanford University in California, the University of South Australia and China's Shantou University.
Speaking at the conference's launch, Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee said: "Growing up, I believe many of us here in Singapore have experienced the value of service learning ourselves.
"By interacting with people from different backgrounds - ethnicities, lifestyles, and culture - we broaden our horizons and gain a deeper appreciation of our unique differences."
He cited Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) as an example of an institution that emphasises service learning.
From September this year, 700 NP final-year students will go on a six-month internship placement in social and health service areas, helping them grow to be more responsible and civic-minded citizens.
Mr Lee added:"I hope that this rich emphasis on service learning will inculcate a strong spirit of giving back to the community, that lasts beyond your schooling years."