CDAC to offer all-round support for weaker students from disadvantaged families

SINGAPORE – Under-performing students from disadvantaged families will be given more holistic support by the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) from next year.

The non-profit self-help group for the Chinese community will expand its student programme to help develop motivation, resilience and discipline in learning among weaker students.

This will be done through extra mentoring and supervision from former school leaders, tutors and trainers.

The organisation will also help create a more conducive learning environment at home for the students by providing tables and lamps where needed, along with additional study grants, financial literacy workshops and savings top-ups.

This is on top of the existing financial assistance, employment support and mentoring schemes.

Parents from disadvantaged families will also be taught effective parenting skills through CDAC’s Walk With Me parent education series, to better support their children through key transition phases in their education.

On the education front, CDAC’s flagship tuition programme will offer tuition to small groups of four or five under-performing students each to help them keep up with their school work.

At the 15th annual CDAC Ready for School event on Sunday (Dec 2), Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, also the chairman of the CDAC board of directors, announced that, of the $30 million budget for 2019, 15 per cent is set aside for the enhanced programme.

Mr Ong said CDAC is working with the Ministry of Education to identify the initial 1,000 families for this enhanced programme.

He added that teachers have a good idea of who the children are who need help, who are trying their best to overcome the difficulties at home but are constrained by circumstances.

“Hopefully in a few years’ time, instead of helping 1,000 families, we can help 2,000 or even 3,000,” he said.

At the event, held in Nanyang Junior College, 6,500 low-income families, including 12,500 school-going children, received family and school-ready packs containing vouchers to prepare for the upcoming school year.

Each family pack contained $40 in FairPrice vouchers and $120 in transport e-vouchers. The school-ready pack contained $80 in vouchers for school supplies.

CDAC’s programmes now reach out to about 20,000 households.

Madam Wong Chew Yoon, 45, a single parent of two who was at the event to collect the family and school packs, said the CDAC helped tide her family through a difficult period and allowed her 11-year-old daughter to do well in her class.

She said in Mandarin: “My English is not good and I’m busy with work, so my daughter having one-to-one homework supervision with a volunteer on Saturdays really helps ease my burden. She recently topped her class, so the mentoring programme really helped.”

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