Minister of State for Community Development, Youth and Sports, Halimah Yacob, has urged young people to take a collective step forward to contribute to society.
She made the call at a convention for student leaders at Hwa Chong Institution on Wednesday morning.
Madam Halimah said student leaders should lead by example and help pave the way for their peers to bring about change in their schools and communities.
One avenue is through the Community Involvement Project (CIP), which is part of the school curriculum.
Under it, students are given opportunities to help welfare institutions and spearhead community projects.
“I think that this convention is an excellent avenue for the students, participants, to actually come together to discuss very pertinent societal issues. And this is especially relevant in the current society, where change is the only constant,” said Zhu Cheng, student at Hwa Chong Institution.
“I’ve had a really interesting time, because we had the time to express ourselves and to ask questions. I really want to learn to take a step further to be a better leader, and I think I’m learning a lot in here,” said Erica Gonzalez Almaraz, a student from Mexico.
“The CIP, in my view, is a useful programme, but how you operationalise it in your schools is important. Provided you approach it with the right attitude, and also, with the right motivation, and you understand the purpose. It’s not just a question of chalking up the required points, but it has an underlying objective,” said Madam Halimah.
She also stressed the importance of volunteer work, saying it provides a window to the outside world for students.
“In our schools, once you go to university, you can be very divorced, isolated from reality. You must be able to step out of that security, that comfort, to connect with the real world outside. And the best way is for you to volunteer.”
More than 300 student leaders from countries such as India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Vietnam and Singapore are attending the three-day convention.
It’s a platform for them to share ideas and offer solutions on the social challenges the world is facing.
This article was first published in CNA