CDAC to expand education outreach to 52,000 students

CDAC to expand education outreach to 52,000 students
CDAC's Project Excellence programme caters to better-performing children from Primary 3 to Secondary 2 , such as (from left) Lim Jing Xiang, 12, Xavier Lee, 13, and Tan Han Yong, 12, who did well in their exams this year. The number of students on the programme will grow from 371 to 450 next year.

Thousands of students are set to benefit when a self-help group expands its education schemes next year.

Ms Low Yen Ling, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Social and Family Development, announced plans for the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) yesterday.

They include opening a second student care centre and raising the number of places offered in programmes such as tuition, enrichment and assistance schemes to 52,000, up from 48,000 this year.

These programmes include a learning scheme called Project Excellence, which caters to better-performing children from Primary 3 to Secondary 2. The programme consists of a mix of after-school weekday classes held at CDAC centres islandwide, enrichment activities, camps and outdoor learning trips. It started with 54 students in 2009 and now has 371.

The number will grow to 450 next year with the expansion of the programme to the centre in Jurong, while existing centres will take in more students.

Ms Low, who is also the chairman of CDAC's student education and development committee, said the scheme is meant to "help our promising students learn creatively".

She added: "We want to work with them to help them grow their interest to learn, as well as to provide opportunities to maximise their potential."

The group will start a second student care centre in Chongfu School in Yishun next year and double the capacity at its first student care centre in Bendeemer Primary School from 60 to 120 places next year.

The CDAC also saw a 40 per cent increase in the number of student bursary recipients this year, after raising the income ceiling for bursaries to a monthly household income of $1,900 - up from $1,500 last year.

Mayflower Secondary School student Xavier Lee said Project Excellence helped him in his studies when his mother was ill and was hospitalised for three months.

"I didn't want to add to my parents' problems, so I studied hard," said the 13-year-old, the son of a lorry driver and a housewife. "The teachers in the programme comforted me and helped me to cope with the stress."

Another beneficiary of the programme, Lim Jing Xiang, 12, said: "Learning was fun because we explored places like the Botanic Gardens, Science Centre and Marina Barrage."

The 12-year-old, who scored 255 out of 300 for his Primary School Leaving Examination, will join Hwa Chong Institution in Sec 1 next year.

Amelia Teng

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