The Committee of Supply debate on the budget of individual Ministries will take place between 1 and 9 March 2012. This microsite will provide highlights of the Ministries' plans for Financial Year 2012.
Thursday, 1 March 2012
PSD to pilot new protocol to improve public service
The Public Service Division will carry out a review of the salaries of Administrative Service officers, the Judiciary and Statutory Appointment Holders to ensure that the salary framework remains fair and competitive. The review will be completed and ready for implementation in six to nine months. From 1 April 2012, the Public Service will also re-employ all eligible Division IV officers at their last drawn salaries at the point of retirement, and this will benefit about 590 officers retiring from 2012 to 2015. To improve on service delivery and Whole-of-Government coordination, PSD will pilot a First Responder Protocol. Under this protocol, the first agency that receives feedback must diagnose the Problem if it has some expertise, and also draw the required expertise from across the agencies to coordinate an effective response.
New policies to facilitate transition to a greener Singapore
The Government will introduce new policies and legislation to facilitate the transition to a greener Singapore. For example, the Ministry of Transport will introduce a new Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) to encourage car buyers to switch to vehicles with lower emissions. The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources will raise the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for air-conditioners and refrigerators in 2013 as well as extend it to lighting in 2014. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) will also pilot repayable financing schemes to catalyse private sector investments in energy efficiency.
New pass for foreign spouses of Singaporeans
|DPM Teo Chee Hean has announced that a new Long Term Visit Pass Plus (LTVP+) will be introduced from 1 Apr 2012 to provide more support to the families of Singaporeans with a foreign spouse not yet given PR or citizenship. The scheme will provide foreign spouses of citizens with greater certainty of stay as it will be for a duration of three years in the first instance and up to five years for each subsequent renewal. The pass will make it easier for LTVP+ holders to work and supplement the family income as only a Letter of Consent from MOM would be required.|
Thursday, 1 March 2012
MHA to strengthen capabilities for a safe and secure future
|DPM Teo Chee Hean said that terrorism, transnational crime and changing complexion of our society are three key areas that MHA will need to deal with to keep Singapore safe and secure. To meet these new challenges, MHA will strengthen its capabilities in four key areas: enhancing organisation and systems, investing in our people, exploiting technology, and partnering the community. To ensure that the Home Team career remains attractive to good quality candidates, MHA has increased the starting salaries and overall remuneration, to reward Home Team officers fairly for the challenging duties they undertake|
Community Policing System to commence this year
Minsiter S Iswaran said that the Police will commence the transition to the new Community Policing System (COPS) this year, reorganising Neighbourhood Police Centres (NPCs) to enhance crime fighting and community liaison capabilities. The reorganisation is targeted to be completed by the end of 2015. The Police will also recruit a total of 450 additional officers over the next few years to support the roll out of these additional capabilities. He added that the Casino Control Act will be reviewed with the aim of enhancing law enforcement and investigation levers. With regard to trafficking-in-persons (TIP), existing laws will be reviewed to ensure that Singapore's legislation adequately addresses the complexity of such crimes.
CNB and Prison Service to step up supervision and aftercare for repeat drug abusers
MOS Masagos said that while capabilities in systems, technology and people are being strengthened to address evolving issues such as youth crime and drugs in Singapore, much more can be achieved if we work together as a community. To address the large number of repeat drug abusers expected to be released from Long-Term Imprisonment from 2012 to 2014, additional manpower has been allocated to CNB and the Prison Service to step up supervision and aftercare. CNB's Supervision Division at the Police Cantonment Complex has been converted to a dedicated Young Persons Reporting Centre, aimed to reduce opportunities for young supervisees to be influenced by older and more experienced drug abusers, and by each other. The Taskforce on Drugs was set up in October last year to address the worsening drug situation and to take a deeper look at issues related to prevention, rehabilitation as well as supporting legislative and process reviews, and recommendations will be announced within the next quarter of 2012.
Friday, 2 March 2012
MOF to simplify and improve Productivity and Innovation Credit scheme
|DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that the Ministry of Finance will continue to facilitate businesses, particularly SMEs to make productivity investments through broad-based schemes. The claim process for the Productivity and Innovation Credit (PIC) will be simplified and the cash payout option doubled from 30% to 60% of qualifying expenditure up to $100,000. MOF will also support the Best Sourcing Initiative to uplift low-wage workers through better wages and working conditions.|
Friday, 2 March 2012
Restructuring the economy to seed long term growth
Minister Lim Hng Kiang said that Singapore is entering a new growth phase and needs to restructure its economy for long-term inclusive growth. To achieve growth and higher productivity, MTI will continue to expand promising clusters and grow new ones, move the various sectors up the value chain to higher value-added activities, get companies to innovate and improve their work processes, and encourage workers to continually upgrade so that they can take on the better jobs and earn higher wages.
MTI to develop Logistics and Transportation Productivity Roadmap
MOS Lee Yi Shyan said that MTI would be investing $42m to roll out the productivity roadmap for the Logistics and Transportation sector. This roadmap will focus on helping the industry to deepen expertise and specialization in Supply Chain Management. A Centre of Innovation for Supply Chain Management will also be launched later this year. The COI aims to help 1000 SMEs in the next 3 years, and will demonstrate to SMEs how others have embraced technology and knowledge tools, and provide tailored consultancy services.
Innovation & Capability Voucher (ICV) to help SMEs
MOS Teo Ser Luck said that SPRING will be increasing its support for the Capability Development Scheme from 50 to 70% of qualifying costs to encourage more SMEs to upgrade. The scope of the scheme will also be expanded to include automation and business transformation projects. A new Innovation and Capability Voucher (ICV) will also help SMEs in the areas of productivity, HR development and financial management.
SMEs to benefit from R&D investments
Minister S Iswaran said that a key objective of R&D efforts is to transfer technology to SMEs, and to enhance their technological capabilities, competitiveness and productivity. $1 billion has been set aside from 2011-2015, to help research centres and SMEs proactively identify opportunities for collaboration, and this will help take more ideas from basic research to commercialisation.
Friday, 2 March 2012
More resources to be set aside for the Arts
|Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said that MICA agrees in principle with the recommendations of the Arts and Culture Strategic Review and will first focus on raising the awareness and interest of the community, to provide the demand to sustain our arts and culture sector. He revealed that the Government will be investing more than $270m on three Masterplans to promote appreciation for arts and culture among new audiences, improve arts education in schools and provide scholarships and training for art practitioners.|
Recommendations to improve Public Service Broadcast
SMS Grace Fu said that the Public Service Broadcast (PSB) Review Panel has identified two key challenges to the current model of PSB delivery. The first challenge is to keep PSB programmes attractive and the second is the declining reach of our free-to-air TV channels. To enhance the quality and appeal of PSB programmes, the Panel has recommended ensuring that adequate resources are channelled to improve PSB, and develop talent in the media industry. The Panel also recommended that PSB content be carried beyond free-to-air TV channels and on other platforms like the Internet.
MICA to focus on enabling a safe and enriching online experience
MOS Chan Chun Sing said that MICA is committed to strengthening the information quotient of Singaporeans so that they could tap on the full potential of the new information and media environment. He said that MICA will work with MOE to help students acquire the skills to research and verify the sources of information, distinguish facts from opinions, and harness diverse ideas to develop new ideas and insights.
Friday, 2 March 2012
More housing options offered to second-timers
|Minister Khaw Boon Wan said that several new housing measures will be introduced to provide more housing options for second-timers. HDB will triple the second-timer allocation of Build-to-Order (BTO) flats in non-mature estates from 5% to 15%, and will also increase the second-timer allocation of new Executive Condominium (EC) units in a project from 5% to 30%. HDB will also introduce a new Ageing-in-Place Priority Scheme to increase the chances of retirees getting a studio apartment in or near their old estate. For children and parents who wish to live together, they will be given more ballot chances in BTO application and the introduction of a new Multi-Generation Priority Scheme will also provide more options for them.|
Monday, 5 March 2012
MND to make flats more elder-friendly and install lifts at all multi-storey car parks
MOS Lee Yi Shyan said that the government will step up investments in infrastructure and facilities for the ageing population. He announced two new initiatives to make flats more elder-friendly and multi-storey car parks more accessible. The Enhancement For Active Seniors programme (EASE) will provide home improvements such as grab bars and anti-slip treatment to bathroom floor tiles as optional items under HDB's enhanced Home Improvement Programme (HIP) from July 2012. HDB is also planning to install lifts for all Multi-Storey Car Parks from 2012 to 2016. The two initiatives are expected to cost about $380 million. MND will work closely with MOH and MCYS to ensure that social facilities are integrated with other town amenities to better serve senior citizens.Read More
Studies being carried out to protect biodiversity in Bukit Brown
|MOS Tan Chuan-Jin said that the Government had decided on the proposed road cutting through Bukit Brown after considering various other options as it had the least impact on the area. He explained that PUB and NParks had studied the drainage requirements and impact on the environment of the propose road before the plan was approved. LTA is also carrying out a biodiversity study to address specific concerns arising from the road works, such as ensuring that wildlife can continue to traverse within the Bukit Brown area.|
BCA to launch multi-skilling scheme for construction workers
|MOS Tan Chuan-Jin announced that BCA will be launching a new multi-skilling scheme in July this year to recognise workers with a breadth of construction skills under the "Higher Skilled" category. With more of such multi-skilled workers who can take on more and varied assignments, companies will have greater flexibility in optimising their manpower deployment on site, and hence, be able to hire fewer workers. Under this scheme, the workers must pass BCA's skill assessments to qualify for lower levy as "Higher Skilled" workers. Employers will hence be encouraged to send their workers for training outside of their first skill to boost their productivity.|
Monday, 5 March 2012
CPF LIFE scheme to be simplified from four plans to two
DPM Tharman Shanmugaratnam has announced that the CPF LIFE scheme would be simplified from the current four plans to just two with effect from 1 Jan 2013. A new Standard Plan, with higher monthly payouts and a bequest, will meet the needs of most members and serve as the default plan. The current Basic Plan will continue to cater to members who prefer a higher bequest and are willing to accept lower monthly payouts. CPF members turning 55 in 2013 will receive letters a few months before they turn 55 explaining the options available. Members who had already opted for CPF LIFE will have the choice of switching to the new Standard Plan before 31 Dec 2013.
More help for professionals, managers and executives (PMEs) to stay employable
MOS Tan Chuan-Jin said that a key focus of MOM is to develop the Singaporean core in our workforce. He announced various new initiatives to help Singaporean stay employed. To assist PMEs in finding the right jobs, a one-stop service called CaliberLink will be launched to offer integrated programmes on career coaching, training advisory, career transition programmes, networking sessions with employers and employment facilitation. The Workforce Development Agency (WDA) will also be appointing the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (ASME) as a Programme Partner to manage Max Talent, a pilot Place-and-Train programme for SMEs to recruit and retain PMEs.
Quarterly Workfare Income Supplement payouts from Jan 2012
SPS Hawazi Daipi has announced that low wage workers on the Workfare Income Supplement Scheme (WIS) will receive payouts four times a year, up from twice a year currently. He said that employees who have worked for at least two months in each quarter and have an average income in the quarter of not more than $1,700 will receive the supplement. The amount paid out each quarter will be adjusted proportionately. The change is effective from Jan 2012 and the first quarterly payment will be received by 1 Jun 2012. With these changes, an estimated 440,000 older low-wage Singaporeans will receive WIS.
New scheme to help SMEs improve Workplace Safety and Health
SPS Hawazi Daipi said that MOM will extend more assistance to SMEs through a new Workplace Safety and Health (WSH)-Assist Programme. The programme will help SMEs defray up to 80% of the fees incurred in engaging WSH consultant to provide onsite consultation services, assess WSH standards at their workplaces and develop action plans to close identified gaps. The programme is expected to be launched by the second half of 2012.
MOM to introduce mandatory weekly rest days for foreign domestic workers
MOS Tan Chuan-Jin said that the Government is taking a balanced and pragmatic step forward to improve the employment conditions for Foreign Domestic Workers (FDW) by legislating a weekly rest day for such workers and providing the option for compensation in lieu of a rest day. To give employers time to adjust, the new requirement will only apply to FDWs with work permits issued or renewed from1 Jan 2013. MOM will also be reviewing the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act to ensure that the penalties for breaches are adequate.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
MINDEF's steady and prudent investments contributed to SAF's considerable progress
Defence Minister Dr Ng Eng Hen said that MINDEF's overall approach is to maintain a stable defence budget that grows gradually in absolute terms, and to manage it prudently. With its steady and prudent investments, the SAF has made considerable progress over the years and is widely acknowledged to be a highly capable and professional military force. The strength of the SAF is however dependent on the support it gets from the Government and from all Singaporeans.
Increase in rank allowance for all servicemen
|MOS Lawrence Wong said that from April this year, the rank allowance for all servicemen in the SAF, SPF and SCDF will be increased by $60 per month across all ranks. This latest allowance review goes a step further in signalling acknowledgement of our servicemen's commitment and service.|
MINDEF to reach out to a wider audience
SPS Maliki Osman said that women are critical in sustaining our national commitment to defence and supporting our servicemen's commitment to National Service. He added that MINDEF has been regularly conducting dialogue sessions with representatives from various women's groups, and also produced a web mini-series, "Basic Military Talk", which aims to inform viewers, particularly women, on different facets of military life in an entertaining manner. MINDEF is also looking into extending the reach of its PIONEER magazine beyond the traditional audience through partnerships with other magazines.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Singapore to contribute S$50 million to help narrow the development gap in ASEAN
Minister K Shanmugam said that Singapore's relations with our immediate neighbours are on a firm footing and remains strongly committed to achieving the ASEAN Community. He announced that Singapore will contribute S$50 million from 2012 to 2015 as our 4th contribution to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration to narrow the development gap within the region. This demonstrates Singapore's belief that all ASEAN members must move together towards the targets and goals.
Singapore will continue to engage and explore new areas of cooperation in the Middle East
MOS Masagos Zulkifli said that Singapore takes a longer-term perspective in developing relations with the Middle East. Singapore's relations with the region remain positive and trade with the Middle East countries increased 20% to a healthy S$64 billion from 2010. While he acknowledged that political situation in the Middle East is complicated, Singapore will continue to explore new areas of cooperation for mutual benefit. He urged our companies to take a long-term view and continue to explore business opportunities in the region. He also mentioned that MFA will be opening an Embassy in Ankara later this year in light of our growing economic interests in Turkey.
MFA plans to enhance consular assistance with smartphone application
SPS Sam Tan said that MFA plans to a launch smartphone application in the next few months to enhance the quality of its consular services. Besides providing an easy platform to eRegister, the application will allow Singaporeans overseas to locate the nearest Singapore Overseas Mission based on their current location, and access consular information and services on-the-go. He also encouraged Singaporeans who travel overseas to e-register with MFA so that it can render assistance in an emergency.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Developing Singapore as an Intellectual Property Hub
Minister K Shanmugam said that MinLaw's ambition is to develop Singapore as an intellectual property (IP) hub for Asia. He said that Singapore's IP regime has been consistently ranked amongst the best in the world by the World Economic Forum. However, to progress further, an IP Steering Committee will be convened to study and develop the IP Hub Masterplan. The committee will look into developing a vibrant marketplace for IP transactions and commercialisation as well as building world-class IP capabilities and infrastructure.
Minlaw to amend Legal Aid and Advice Act
SPS Sim Ann announced that Minlaw will be making amendments to Legal Aid and Advice Act and the Legal Aid means test to ensure adequate access to civil legal aid for low-income Singaporeans. The amendments will be tabled in mid 2012. To foster a greater spirit of giving within the legal profession, she said that the Singapore Institute of Legal Education (SILE) will work with the two law schools to make pro bono work a mandatory component of legal education by the next academic year. The Law Society will also develop an online portal to match volunteers with pro bono opportunities. A "Pro Bono Friendly" certification scheme will be developed for law practices.
Tuesday, 6 March 2012
MEWR to introduce mandatory waste management data reporting for large premises
Minister Vivian Balakrishnan announced that MEWR will be amending the Environmental Public Health Act to introduce mandatory reporting of waste management data and improvement plans by large commercial premises. This mandatory reporting will start with large hotels and shopping malls in 2014 and will improve the companies' oversight of the waste produced and sustain the management's focus on minimising waste. On the pricing of water, he also assured that the Government is not overcharging as the revenue collected is nowhere near the $1.3 billion that PUB spends in maintaining a safe, secure, resilient supply of water for Singapore.
Full-day subletting of hawker stalls to be disallowed
SMS Grace Fu said that NEA will no longer allow full-day subletting and assignment of new hawkers from 1 April to stabilise rentals, reduce costs for stallholders and achieve more affordable hawker food prices. To help moderate the cost of operating a hawker stall, NEA will no longer set a reserve rent when tendering out vacant stalls and allow joint tenancies.
New Department of Public Cleanliness to be set up
SMS Grace Fu has announced that as part of efforts to maintain a high standard of public cleanliness, NEA will set up a new Department of Public Cleanliness to look after all the cleaning functions of public areas. The move will also allow better management of cleaning contracts, as well as help improve service standards and responsiveness to public feedback. The Department will progressively integrate existing contracts to achieve higher operational efficiencies.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
Healthcare 2020: Improving Accessibility, Quality and Affordability for Tomorrow's Challenges
|Under the Healthcare 2020 masterplan, the number of acute hospital beds will be increased by more than 30% and Community Hospital beds by around 1,800, providing 3,700 more hospital beds over the next 8 years. MOH will also tap on private sector capacity to ease the load on the public system. To grow the healthcare professional workforce, MOH will train more healthcare professionals locally by expanding the intake of our schools and supplement the workforce with professionals, both Singaporeans and foreigners. To retain and attract high calibre individuals, there will be a new pay framework, estimated to cost about $200 million, to be fully funded by Government.|
MOH to make healthcare more affordable for all
To improve the affordability of healthcare, subsidy rates for long-term care services will be raised, and the coverage extended from $1,400 to $2,200 per capita household income. All patients regardless of income will be eligible for subsidies of at least 20% at community hospitals.These changes will come into effect third quarter of this year. To offset higher MediShield premiums, most Medisave policyholders beyond age of 65 will receive direct and long-term assistance via Medisave top-ups under the GST Voucher scheme of up to $450 a year. Those aged 50-60 will also see a higher contribution to their Medisave accounts due to the higher CPF contribution rates. To raise quality of care, MOH will re-organise the healthcare system into a more integrated and patient-centric Regional Health System. Each regional system would have an acute general hospital working in close partnership with community hospitals, nursing homes, home care and day rehab providers, as well as polyclinics and private GPs within the geographical region to provide seamless and holistic care for patients. MOH will simplify the means-test criteria in the intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) sector from per capita family income, which includes all immediate family members, to per capita household income, which includes only those family members that the elderly is living with. This reflects the elderly's extent of financial support.
MOH to review standards and guidelines for better elderly care services
In response to an ageing population, Minister Gan Kim Yong said that the Ministerial Committee on Ageing's (MCA) key objectives are to build an inclusive environment and to provide good aged care. He revealed that the MCA will review existing standards and guidelines for aged care services to have a clearer definition of what constitutes a good standard of care for aged care sector. For this, MOH will involve representatives from the public, as well as providers and clinicians. Also, to better coordinate and integrate services for our seniors, MOH will build Integrated Day Facilities in the community which would be " one-stop" facilities providing both health and social care for seniors during the day. He further acknowledged that the pace and magnitude of ageing will increase and many of the aged care facilities will have to be sited within the community for the convenience of our seniors. To this end, the Government will engage advisors, grassroots leaders and residents on our plans for facility development and to strike a careful balance between addressing the needs of the seniors and the needs of residents in the vicinity.
More funding support will be provided for the intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) sector
MOS Dr Amy Khor said that the Government will support the ILTC sector to develop a stronger base of qualified healthcare workers. MOH will now extend this funding support to the community hospitals, so that they too can increase their staffing to manage more complex cases, ease the staff's workload, and set aside more training time for them. This initiative will cost MOH up to $20M in FY12. Dr Amy Khor further announced that the Government will set aside up to $12M in FY12, to enable the VWO ILTC sector to raise pay. Taking a phased approach, the first phase will see salary increases of between 10% and 25% for nurses and allied health professionals and doctors will receive adjustments similar to their peers in the acute sector. In addition, MOH will also invest up to $96M over the next five years to work with ILTC providers on various productivity initiatives and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) will set up a new $20M Community Health Improvement and Productivity Scheme (‘CHIPS'), to drive quality improvement and productivity in the sector.
Care for mental patients to be made more accessible
MOH will develop a new community-based mental health plan to cope with the growing burden of mental disorders such as schizophrenia and dementia. To improve access to care for mental health patients, MOH will site specialist-led multi-disciplinary teams in the community, starting with the north and central regions this year. These Assessment and Shared Care Teams (ASCAT) will be integrated with our primary care services, so that a person with a mental condition can visit a clinic near him to receive care, instead of having to see the psychiatrist in the hospital. Counselling and psychotherapy services will also be expanded in the community to enable GPs to play a larger role in treating patients with mild to moderate mental conditions.
Wednesday, 7 March 2012
More trains and buses to be added for enhanced capacity
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said more trains will be added to cater to future demand; 18 for the North-East Line (NEL) and 16 for the Circle Line (CCL). The trains are due to arrive from 2015. For the North-South and East-West Lines, there will be 13 additional trains by around 2014. 13 trains will also be procured for the Tuas West Extension due for completion in 2016. Bus service levels will also be improved under the Bus Services Enhancement Programme (BSEP) which will commence this year. Commuters can expect less crowding, shorter waiting times and new routes with the addition of 550 buses. There will be no profits for PTOs as Government's funding of these buses will pay the operating costs and the revenue derived will be recovered. To achieve greater level of parity between bus and rail financing framework, the Government will also bear the development and land costs for bus depots and bus parking infrastructure, and lease these to bus operators at a nominal fee. Minister Lui also said that there will be no public transport fare adjustments this year.
Tighter measures to be implemented to raise the quality of taxi services
Transport Minister Lui Tuck Yew said that the LTA has carried out a comprehensive review and will raise the Quality of Service standards (QoS) and introduce new Taxi Operator Licence (TOL) requirements for taxi services. For example, all taxi companies are now expected to equip their entire fleet with call booking capabilities. Hourly call booking monitoring period for evening peak period will be extended from 5pm - 11pm to 5pm - 12midnight on weekdays. LTA will also require taxi operators to equip their fleet with a centrally-controlled "On-Call" display to minimize the misuse of "On-Call" taxi signs. To ensure that individual taxi operators have sufficient critical mass to provide an adequate level of service to commuters, the minimum fleet size requirement will be increased from 400 taxis to 800 taxis. Minister Lui also announced that a new Carbon Emissions-Based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) will replace the existing Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR). The CEVS will apply to all new cars and taxis registered on or after 1 Jan 2013.
Steering committee to be set up to position Changi strongly for the future
For Singapore to maintain its position as a vibrant global city, MOS Josephine Teo announced that there is a need for MOT to set up the multi-agency Changi 2036 Steering Committee. The Committee will develop a concept plan that addresses key issues such as: the development of a new passenger terminal; measures to augment Changi's infrastructure, in particular the civilian use of Changi's third runway; and the phasing of development for related infrastructure, facilities and transport links to support Changi's future growth. MOT will also increase port capacity with the expansion of Phases 3 and 4 of the Pasir Panjang Terminals to cater for future growth in container volumes. This will add about 50% more capacity to the Singapore Port when completed. MOT will also partner with tertiary institutions to launch maritime-related courses and modules leading to both seafaring and shore-based careers.
Thursday, 8 March 2012
Students from low and middle income families to receive more financial assistance
Minister Heng Swee Keat has announced that MOE will lend greater support for children from low income families. The income limit for the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme, for example, will be raised from $1,500 to $2,500. The income ceiling for Edusave Merit Bursary will be increased from $4,000 to $5,000. A new per-capita income assessment criterion will also be introduced for both schemes to benefit students from larger families. To place a stronger emphasis on the inculcation of values through community involvement, Community Involvement Programme will be reframed as "Values in Action". Students will undertake personal and group reflections, discuss their experience and the role that they can play in the community.
MOE to invest $350m in Continuing Education and Training
Minister Heng Swee Keat said that Continuing Education and Training (CET) and industry upgrading will become increasingly important avenues through which Singaporeans can acquire deeper skills and knowledge, and attain higher qualifications through the course of their career. As such MOE will be investing $350 million over the next 5 years to provide more CET opportunities.
MOE considering a new university model
MOS Lawrence Wong said that there is scope to develop a new university model in Singapore that is both teaching-focused and practice-orientated. Such a university will have close industry ties and can also include elements of co-operative education, where academic studies are fully integrated with practical, hands-on work experience. Students can alternate between semesters of full-time study and relevant paid work. He stated that our economy will continue to grow in scale and sophistication and noted the strong aspirations amongst young Singaporeans for a degree education. He said that MOE will ensure that university education remains affordable, especially to students from low-income families.
New programme for dyslexic children being tested at 20 primary schools
|SPS Sim Ann said that the MOE will pilot a new school-based dyslexia remediation programme in 20 primary schools in 2012 and 2013. The $3.6 million programme will target Primary 3 pupils identified through a systematic screening process by the end of Primary 2. The objective is to help these students read at the same level as their peers by the end of Primary 4. She also reiterated that bilingualism remains a pillar of our education system and MOE will continue to do more to equip our children with linguistic skills that they will need now and in the future.|
Increased funding for School Breakfast Programme
SPS Hawazi Daipi announced that funding for the School Breakfast Programme (SBP) has been increased since Jan this year from $180 a year to $270 per student. Together with the increase in the number of students eligible for MOE Financial Assistance Scheme, the amount allocated by MOE to SBP will increase from $4 million to $12 million per year. MOE will also provide all schools with a Parent Support Group (PSG) Fund which is a seed funding of $2500. The fund will come in handy for innovative efforts at engaging parents via outreach programmes and parent-child bonding events. He also said that the sharing of sports facilities in schools with the community under the Dual-Use Scheme (DUS) will be further expanded to include 15 additional indoor sports halls and 5 school fields. This brings the total number to 60 indoor sports halls and 90 school fields.
Thursday, 8 March 2012
MUIS to create new Muslim Endowment
Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said MUIS is looking into the creation of new wakaf (Muslim Endowment) to support future needs of the Malay Muslim community. He noted that over the last two centuries, pioneer philanthropists had created wakaf to support the funding of religious and charitable programmes in perpetuity but none have been created since 1993. For a start, MUIS will be creating a new wakaf fund through consecrating and pooling together shares of Muslim estates which will otherwise form part of the Baitulmal or General Fund. Beginning with a capital sum of $3 million, this wakaf will be for the benefit of Islamic education broadly.
More subsidies for needy families
Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing said MCYS will extend ComCare's coverage to more Singaporeans who need short to medium term help. The monthly household income criterion for ComCare assistance will be raised from $1,500 to $1,700 and a per capita income criterion set at $550 will cater to families with more dependents. MCYS will also expand the Public Assistance (PA) scheme's eligibility to more needy elderly by raising the income cap for such households from $1,000 to $1,500. To help larger families, a per capita income criterion for child care, kindergarten and student care subsidies will be introduced. Large families with monthly household income of more than $3,500 will also be eligible for the subsidies if their per capita income is $875 or less.
MCYS revamping services to help elderly age-in-place
MOS Halimah Yacob said that MCYS will be revamping two key services so that the elderly would receive more effective care and support. The Integrated Day Facilities (IDF) will offer various healthcare services required by the elderly now operating in different locations in one convenient centre. MCYS will also develop and expand Ensuite Social Home-based Care to provide coordinated and client-centric home-based care. Subsidies for community and home-based care will be enhanced from 3Q 2012 and benefit around two-thirds of Singaporean households with elderly and middle income families.
Promoting active ageing through Wellness Programme
SMS Heng Chee How said MCYS will roll out the Wellness Programme for seniors to all constituencies to empower them to look after their health and stay physically active. Under Vision 2030, MCYS is also developing a Seniors Fitness Ecosystem whereby seniors can gather friends and family to learn, train, and compete in a range of sports through “Super Sports Clubs”.
Government to spend $1b in the next five years to help disabled
SPS Sam Tan said that the Government is expecting to spend about $1 billion in the next five years on programmes and services to help persons with disabilities. He announced the extension of $120 Foreign Domestic Worker Grant (FDW Grant) for seniors and to persons with disabilities, regardless of age. The grant will also be extended those with more severe intellectual disabilities, autism and sensory impairments. Together with the FDW levy concession and the grant, eligible families need only pay a levy of $50 a month, a significant reduction from the original amount of $265.
Sports and youth development to foster an inclusive society
Acting Minister Chan Chun Sing said that as sports can bond our diverse communities and ignite unity of our citizens, it can serve as a key strategy for thriving in the new socio-economic landscape, and to foster an inclusive society. The National Youth Council (NYC) will strengthen its role as a connector and an enabler to build a vibrant ecosystem of youth sector organisations. Through partnerships with people, public and private youth sector organisations, the NYC will identify and nurture a committed core of youth leaders to increase the social capital of Singaporean youth, and foster an active and caring youth community.