Article from NTUC This Week, published on 2 October 2016
NTUC Social Enterprises are banding together to help Singaporeans fulfil their potential and aspirations at every stage of life through education.
By Shukry Rashid
NTUC Social Enterprises are pulling together their resources to enable Singaporeans to progress through education. Initiatives by NTUC First Campus, NTUC FairPrice, NTUC Income and NTUC LearningHub will help Singaporeans of all backgrounds and economic status gain access to education and training at different stages of life.
This was revealed during a Children’s Day celebration by My First Skool (MFS) at Chin Swee Road on 29 September 2016. NTUC First Campus, which operates MFS, also announced the enhanced Child Support Model (CSM) – a slew of programmes and initiatives to address the diverse needs of preschoolers and their families.
These include financial, developmental and social needs. These initiatives are part of the four social enterprises’ second phase of efforts to help Singaporeans meet pressing social needs by ensuring their services remain affordable for everyone.
The first phase was the Healthy Eating and Living initiative launched on 23 June 2016, which aimed to make healthy food options accessible and affordable for Singaporeans. NTUC Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing, who was at the Children’s Day event, said that the CSM announcement is part of a larger plan to address social inequality and social mobility.
He added that this was why the NTUC Social Enterprises have come together to provide help to Singaporeans who need it throughout their entire life-cycle. “Some programmes are pioneering new concepts, while others have been around for longer. Yet, all of them are able to catalyse social change and help Singaporeans make progress through life,” he said.
SUPPORTING EVERY CHILD
The enhanced CSM, announced during the event, is the latest concept among the NTUC Social Enterprises. The model ensures each child’s needs for social, developmental and financial assistance are met in a holistic and integrated manner.
NTUC First Campus CEO Chan Tee Seng said there are two groups of children – those from the lower-income families and those with mild developmental needs – with overlapping needs.
He explained: “Not all children from lower-income families have developmental needs. Likewise, not all children with developmental needs come from lower-income families.” He added that they all deserve to be supported.
CARING FOR ALL
Not only preschool students can benefit from the initiatives by NTUC Social Enterprises. Students from primary, secondary and pre-university schools, who come from underprivileged families, can also receive help from NTUC FairPrice’s Share-A-Textbook programme.
It is a community project under NTUC U Care Back to School initiative, which aims to alleviate expenses on textbooks for students from lower and middle-income families.
Students from the Institutes of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics, who are disadvantaged and might otherwise drop out of school because of financial difficulties, can also receive financial aid from the Future Development Programme offered by NTUC Income’s OrangeAid.
Adults who have left school are also in the minds of the social enterprises. Those who are working or are unemployed can remain relevant by either reskilling or upskilling at NTUC LearningHub.