WE THANK senior writer Sandra Davie ('Cash for character sends a wrong signal'; Tuesday) and readers for their feedback on the new Edusave Character Award, and for the opportunity to reiterate the rationale behind it.
The Ministry of Education's (MOE) aim is to provide a holistic education to all our students, centred on the inculcation of values and character.
We are glad that many parents and members of the community agree with us about the importance of character and values. Currently, there is a range of Edusave awards that recognise outstanding students in each school, such as the Edusave Scholarship.
However, these are primarily based on academic achievements. This is why we introduced the Edusave Character Award, and pegged it at the same level as the Edusave Scholarship. The objective is to send a clear and strong signal of the importance that the MOE places on character and values, on a par with achievements in the academic domain.
The Edusave Character Award will recognise a small number of students in each school who are exemplary in character, and who can inspire others as role models.
For instance, these may be students who have shown resilience and have done well despite their difficult circumstances.
The monetary award can be used by students for their educational needs, such as books and stationery. Our school leaders and teachers are very mindful of the need to foster the intrinsic motivation of their students to do good deeds.
Indeed, the building of character and inculcation of sound values are part of the important work that our schools do on a daily basis. Many schools have already devised their own ways of recognising good character and exemplary values in their students.
Taken together with other initiatives, such as the reframing of the Community Involvement Programme as 'Values in Action' and the integration of Character and Citizenship Education in all aspects of the curriculum, the Edusave Character Award is part of the MOE's ongoing effort to provide a more holistic educational experience for all our students.
We will continue to work closely with parents and the community on this journey.
Dr Cheong Wei Yang
Director, Planning Division
Ministry of Education