SINGAPORE: Polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) colleges have launched a new mental wellness curriculum for all Year 1 students to raise awareness of mental health and encourage people to seek help early.
Making the announcement at the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Committee of Supply debate in Parliament, Minister of State for Education Sun Xueling said the institutes of higher learning are enhancing mental health support by strengthening programmes on mental wellness literacy and awareness.
The polytechnics and ITE worked with the Health Promotion Board to launch the new curriculum for all Year 1 students from 2020 and 2021 respectively, she added.
“The (autonomous universities) are also promoting mental wellness through briefings during freshmen orientation and university-wide programmes,” said Ms Sun.
NEW CENTRE FOR CCE
A new centre for character and citizenship education (CCE) will be established in the National Institute of Education, said Minister for Education Lawrence Wong in his speech on Wednesday.
“This centre will work with schools to strengthen CCE learning, conduct relevant research and provide thought leadership. Our goal is for every teacher to be a CCE teacher, and we will provide them full support to achieve this,” he added.
The centre for CCE will be launched by the end of 2022, Ms Sun said in her speech.
MOE will also launch a second Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence to allow teachers to train on site, “strengthening the nexus between research, theory and practice”, said Mr Wong.
The first centre is currently located at Yusof Ishak Secondary School, and the new one will be established at New Town Primary School from this year, he added.
ROLLOUT OF NEW CCE CURRICULUM
Building on Mr Wong’s announcements, Ms Sun noted that the refreshed CCE curriculum has been implemented from this year, starting with secondary schools.
The new curriculum, also announced at the 2020 Committee of Supply debate, has a stronger emphasis on mental health and cyber wellness education, she added.
“Students will learn about topics like differentiating signs of stress and distress, and healthy habits for positive well-being,” said Ms Sun.
“We recognise the nexus between increasing digital usage and mental health concerns, even more so amongst our young who may not know how to regulate their use of social media.”