SINGAPORE: More than 1,500 Malay-Muslim parents and children could benefit from an expanded educational programme that helps with mathematics skills, encourages creativity and bonds families, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower Zaqy Mohamad announced in Parliament on Friday (Mar 8).
Speaking during the Muslim Affairs Committee of Supply debate, Mr Zaqy said that the KelasMateMatika@CC programme (KMM) will be expanded to five more locations - Admiralty, Boon Lay, Chua Chu Kang, Keat Hong, and Woodlands – in the first half of 2019 following strong enrolment in its earlier phases.
The programme is an initiative from the M³ collaboration between three key Malay-Muslim organisations: Mendaki, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) and the People's Association Malay Activity Executive Committees Council (Mesra).
It is open to all Malay-Muslim families with young children between four to six whose net household per capita income is S$450 or less.
Mr Zaqy said that during an earlier phase of KMM@CC, there were strong enrolment rates, with more than 300 parents and children indicating their interest to join, where the programme has been over-subscribed by more than double.
“This is a clear signal that parents see the value of KMM@CC in helping their children develop strong foundations in numeracy skills, and increasing parents’ confidence of teaching math at home,” said Mr Zaqy.
MENTORING PROGRAMME FOR ITE STUDENTS
Mr Zaqy also announced that Mendaki will pilot an Empowerment Programme for Malay-Muslim ITE students.
The programme - the Empowerment Programme for Boys and Empowerment Programme for Girls - will be launched at the three ITE colleges in the second quarter of 2019.
The mentoring programme aims to “strengthen critical life skills” of these students and provide them with advice on future education and professional pathways, said Mr Zaqy.
He added that it will introduce students to role-models they can relate to and share with them different pathways to success.
“In time, beneficiaries from this programme will also be asked to be peer mentors to pay it forward for others around them,” added Mr Zaqy.
He also highlighted that Mendaki will convene a committee to review the criteria of the Anugerah Mendaki award, to ensure that the benchmarks for excellence remains relevant.
The award honours Malay or Muslim students for their academic success.
Mr Zaqy said that the committee comprises representatives from schools, madrasahs and institutes of higher learning, and seeks to ensure that the benchmarks for excellence remain relevant.
M³@TOWN ROLLED OUT TO SIX MORE LOCATIONS
In an earlier speech, Minister for Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli said that six more M³@Towns will be formed in the coming months to mobilise people and the community, as well as national assets in our towns, connecting residents to a more effective last-mile service delivery.
The postive launch of M³@Tampines and Pasir Ris-Punggol will now be followed with Bedok, Chua Chu Kang, Jurong, Marsiling-Yew Tee, Nee Soon and Woodlands in 2019, he said.
Through these towns, community programmes will be brought closer to residents, to increase residents’ awareness and participation, Mr Masagos added.
“M³@Town will also create opportunities for people, regardless of background and abilities, to volunteer and serve the people in their neighbourhoods,” said Mr Masagos.
He added that all of the Malay-Muslim PAP MPs are leading efforts to establish these M³@Towns.
“They have brought the M³ agencies together in their towns and mapped out the needs, assets and community programmes at our CCs, mosques and Mendaki satellite centres. They have also begun to mobilise volunteers across M³,” he said.