Big Quiz focuses on disruption in different sectors

The Yishun Junior College (left) and Serangoon Junior College teams during the annual The Straits Times-Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz held at Innova Junior College on April 6, 2016.
The Yishun Junior College (left) and Serangoon Junior College teams during the annual The Straits Times-Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz held at Innova Junior College on April 6, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

Disruption, the buzzword of the times, is a central theme of this year's The Straits Times - Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz campus talks.

These sessions are part of the outreach of the annual event, also known as the Big Quiz, which promotes an understanding of local and global issues among pre-university students.

This year's series of six talks will focus on the disruptive forces in different sectors, and how industries from finance to sports are responding to these challenges.

Straits Times managing editor Fiona Chan, who oversees the ST Schools team behind the event, said: "Today's students will inherit an economy and society very different from the one we are used to today, as a result of shifting economic trends and rapid technological advances.

"For them to adapt to tomorrow's world, they will require an understanding of the reasons for and the implications of the changes, which The Straits Times hopes to provide through its daily content and through events such as these talks."

She will speak at the first talk at Jurong Junior College on Wednesday, addressing the changing landscape of the media industry.

The subsequent sessions will be held over the next two months at five other schools: National Junior College (April 3), Dunman High School (April 12), Nanyang Junior College (April 19), Temasek Junior College (April 26) and Eunoia Junior College (May 12).

Students from pre-university schools near each of the hosts will also get to attend the sessions.

Despite Eunoia Junior College being a new school that took in its first cohort of students this year, its head of department of English, Mr Lionel Lye, said its teachers were recruited from a wide range of junior colleges and were familiar with the quiz, which is in its sixth consecutive year.

Said Mr Lye: "One common experience is that they have appreciated the support from ST in generating and providing the primers and the talks, and the excitement generated through the quiz rounds."

Live quiz rounds, in which competing student teams answer current affairs questions, follow each talk. Winning teams bag $600 in vouchers.

As in previous years, a series of 12 primers touching on burning issues of the day - from jobs and the future economy to what sustainable development means for Singapore - will run in the Opinion section on Mondays from today until July.

Schools interviewed said they used the primers in General Paper (GP) lessons to spark reflection, discussions or debates. For instance, at Temasek Junior College, GP tutors highlight relevant points for use in essays. Jurong Junior College uploads the primers and related sources onto the school's e-learning platform for the students' self-directed learning.

Ms Oon Su Ping, a teacher at Nanyang Junior College, which is one of this year's hosting schools, said the school has deepened its use of the primers over the years, providing students additional materials that complement the primers.

The event is jointly organised by The Straits Times and the Ministry of Education.

Mrs Kelvyna Chan, the ministry's divisional director of curriculum planning and development (division 2), said: "Through the ST-MOE programme, our young people learn the importance of keeping abreast of national, regional and global trends and developments. A heightened awareness of these developments enables them to discern fact from opinion, and real news from fake news."

The Singapore Press Holdings Foundation continues as the Big Quiz's presenting sponsor.

Ms Ginney Lim, general manager of SPH Foundation, said that through its sustained sponsorship, it hopes to encourage students to gain a better understanding of the rapid changes and the many forms of disruptions in the world today.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2017, with the headline 'Big Quiz focuses on disruption in different sectors'. Print Edition | Subscribe