Refresh of the National Heritage Badge programme for students

Students (from left) Ethan Ong, Jonathan Lim and Ethan Christian Tan from the St John uniformed group sharing about Fort Canning Gate as part of their heritage trail projects.
Students (from left) Ethan Ong, Jonathan Lim and Ethan Christian Tan from the St John uniformed group sharing about Fort Canning Gate as part of their heritage trail projects.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A revamp of the National Heritage Badge programme for schools will give students and teachers much more clarity on what sort of projects they can undertake.

The move comes after teachers and students said they were unclear on the requirements to earn the badge, which is awarded by the National Heritage Board (NHB).

The new guidelines released on Tuesday (March 27) make the requirements clearer for students while also providing teachers with lesson plans.

The guidelines include six sample projects that secondary school uniformed group students can now choose from to attain the badge.

These include vlogging, creating art pieces about relevant topics and creating heritage-themed games.

The new project guides also give students the option to incorporate technology, using it, for example, to design and publish trails with free trail-creation applications and websites like Pocket Trips.

"Harnessing technology adds another dimension to learning," says Mr Wong Tze Yung, a humanities teacher and teacher-in-charge of Anglo-Chinese School (Independent)'s St John Brigade.

"Students nowadays don't necessarily learn best by reading a textbook."

Mr Alvin Tan, NHB's assistant chief executive of policy and community, said: "The programme is part of Our SG Heritage Plan's twin strategies of developing heritage programmes that appeal to both schools and students, and nurturing a love of heritage amongst students so as to groom the next generation of heritage champions."

Student Jonathan Lim, 16 and a member of the St John uniformed group at Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), organised a heritage trail and an amazing race around Fort Canning Gate under the old National Heritage Badge programme.

"We learn about some events in history lessons, but there's no real connection and significance until we see it up close," said Jonathan, who holds the highest appointment in his school's St John Brigade.

"Now on other learning journeys, I start to really pay attention to the things around me. Even walking around normally and seeing things that have a connection to heritage, it piques my interest more."

The revamp announced on Tuesday is the programme's first since its 1999 launch.

The programme attracts from 2,000 to 3,000 students a year, with 3,048 badges awarded in 2016.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story stated that Jonathan holds the highest rank in his school's St John unit, instead of him holding the highest appointment in his school's St John Brigade. This has been corrected.