National Service a Great Preparation for University and the Future: UWCSEA hosts ACCORD NS information evening
Young men from 16 foreign system schools in Singapore gathered on Friday, 17 November at UWC South East Asia’s (UWCSEA) Dover Campus for an information session on National Service (NS) in Singapore. Led by the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) and hosted by UWCSEA, the session had an audience of more than 600 pre-enlistees and their families, predominantly Permanent Residents who have made a long-term commitment to Singapore.
In 2017, Singapore celebrates 50 years of NS and since its inception, more than 1 million young men have enlisted. The information session is part of an ACCORD outreach programme to assist pre-enlistees and their families prepare for NS; and to understand the important contribution of NS to Singapore’s national security and defence. Approximately 20% of UWCSEA’s male graduates are required to serve NS and do so after graduation each year. Mr Chris Edwards, Head of College at UWCSEA, sits on the ACCORD Educational Institutions Council. This was the second time an NS information session for pre-enlistees in foreign system schools had been hosted by UWCSEA Dover.
Representatives from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) gave a presentation on what pre-enlistees can expect during NS. Videos of Full-time National Servicemen undergoing their basic training, doing their fitness test and talking about their time in NS brought the experience to life for the 16 and 17 year olds who are already starting to prepare physically and psychologically for the challenges and opportunities of NS. Representatives from MINDEF emphasised both the expectations of NS from pre-enlistees, and the many experiences they will have during their time in NS. They highlighted that every enlistee can provide a meaningful contribution to Singapore’s defence and security through NS, based on their individual ability.
Ms Johanna Fishbein, Head of University Advising at UWCSEA Dover addressed what for many families is one of their most pressing concerns: how National Service affects university applications and study. Her reassurance was clear, “In many ways NS helps boys discover what they like and what their passions are and it turns them into wonderful students, awesome roommates … and they are often the most mature kids on campus. From our experience universities have nothing but good things to say about NS.”
This is borne out by the experience of UWCSEA alumnus who said, ‘I used to worry that I would fall behind my peers who had gone straight to university, but now I realize that I’ve leapt ahead of them. Even 10 years of civilian life would not have given me the leadership opportunities and experiences I got in my two years of NS. I feel really well prepared for my future.’
The video below was made at the inaugural NS information session for pre-enlistees, hosted on Dover Campus in 2015.
About the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence
The Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) was established by MINDEF in January 1984 as a channel for the community to provide feedback on issues concerning Singapore’s defence.
Following recommendations from the Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS) in 2014, MINDEF has reviewed the structure of ACCORD to deepen engagement with employers, educational institutions, family members and members of the broader community, as well as to facilitate initiatives from the community that better support National Defence and National Service (NS).
ACCORD is restructured with three Councils formed under its ambit, namely, Employer and Business (E&B), Family and Community (F&C) and Educational Institutions (EI) Councils.
Mr Chris Edwards sits on the ACCORD Educational Institutions Council.
About UWC South East Asia
UWC South East Asia (UWCSEA) is a member of the UWC movement and a K-12 international school in Singapore. The College provides a challenging, holistic, values-based education to 5,500 students from 99 nationalities across two campuses. Established in 1971, the College’s mission is to unite people’s nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. The learning programme is made up of academics, activities, outdoor education, personal and social education and service.
UWCSEA students achieve outstanding IB Diploma results, but also participate fully in all five elements of the learning programme, resulting in young people who are prepared to embrace challenge and take responsibility for shaping a better world.