All-round CDAC help for weaker students

Tnee Yu, 10, getting a free haircut at the CDAC Ready for School event at Nanyang Junior College yesterday. Some 6,500 low-income families received family and school-ready packs containing vouchers at the event.
Tnee Yu, 10, getting a free haircut at the CDAC Ready for School event at Nanyang Junior College yesterday. Some 6,500 low-income families received family and school-ready packs containing vouchers at the event.ST PHOTO KUA CHEE SIONG

Enhanced scheme will offer extra mentoring, create better learning environment at home

Underperforming students from disadvantaged families will be given more holistic support by the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) from next year.

The non-profit self-help group for the Chinese community will expand its student programme to help develop motivation, resilience and discipline in learning among weaker students. This will be done through extra mentoring and supervision by former school leaders, tutors and trainers.

The group will also help create a more conducive learning environment at home for students by providing tables and lamps where needed, along with additional study grants, financial literacy workshops and savings top-ups.

This is on top of the existing financial assistance, employment support and mentoring schemes.

Parents from disadvantaged families will also be taught effective parenting skills through CDAC's Walk With Me parent education series, to better support their children through key transition phases in their education.

On the education front, CDAC's flagship tuition programme will offer tuition to small groups of four or five underperforming students each to help them keep up with their school work.

At the 15th annual CDAC Ready for School event yesterday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who is also chairman of the CDAC board of directors, said that of the $30 million budget for next year, 15 per cent has been set aside for the enhanced programme.

He added that CDAC is working with the Ministry of Education to identify the initial 1,000 families for this enhanced programme.

Teachers have a good idea of which children need help and who are trying their best to overcome difficulties at home, but are constrained by circumstances, he said.

"Hopefully in a few years' time, instead of helping 1,000 families, we can help 2,000 or even 3,000."

At the event held at Nanyang Junior College, 6,500 low-income families, including 12,500 school-going children, received family and school-ready packs containing vouchers to prepare them for the upcoming school year.

Each family pack contained $40 in FairPrice vouchers and $120 in transport e-vouchers. The school-ready pack contained $80 in vouchers for school supplies.

CDAC's programmes now reach out to about 20,000 households.

Madam Wong Chew Yoon, 45, a single parent of two who was at the event to collect the family and school packs, said the CDAChelped tide her family through a difficult period and allowed her 11-year-old daughter to top her class.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2018, with the headline 'All-round CDAC help for weaker students'. Print Edition | Subscribe