FOSTERING INTEGRATION: NEW INITIATIVES TO FOSTER SOCIAL INTEGRATION

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1 FOSTERING INTEGRATION: NEW INITIATIVES TO FOSTER SOCIAL INTEGRATION Starting from March 2010, new Singapore citizens will be introduced to a package of initiatives to deepen their social integration in Singapore. These will include a Singapore Citizenship Journey, enhanced citizenship ceremonies and opportunities to volunteer in society. 2 These new initiatives rolled out by the National Integration Council (NIC) seek to enrich new citizens understanding of Singaporean norms and values, and provide opportunities for meaningful interaction with local communities. 3 In addition, the Community Integration Fund continues to attract and support worthy public, people and private sectors efforts to foster social integration among Singaporeans and newcomers. The learning of English language is also being made more accessible to the public through the upgrading of the English language course portal and provision of free online English learning materials. Singapore Citizenship Journey 4 As announced in January 2010, the pilot of the Singapore Citizenship (SC) Journey will be launched in March 2010 and will consist of both online elements and experiential learning programmes. The online portion, the SC e-journey, will cover Singapore s history, culture and norms, the rights and responsibilities of a Singapore citizen, and the guiding principles of governance in Singapore, while the Singapore Experiential Tour will bring new citizens to the National Museum, URA Centre and Parliament House. A Community Sharing Session will also be conducted for new citizens to interact with local grassroots leaders and volunteers and to know more about their local neighbourhood. All new Singapore citizens will go through the SC Journey when it is fully rolled out in the second half of Enhanced citizenship ceremonies 5 The SC Journey will culminate in a citizenship ceremony that will mark the proud moment when a new citizen becomes a full-fledged member of the Singaporean family. Grassroots organisations are given the option of organising ceremonies in iconic venues of civic and/or historical significance, such as the Supreme Court, National Library or the National Museum, which will help reinforce the link between individual citizenhood and a greater national consciousness.

2 Promoting Volunteerism 6 As an expression of their attachment to Singapore, and their commitment to the spirit of community self-help, volunteerism has always been encouraged for both locals and new immigrants. It is also a platform for locals and new immigrants to work together for common causes, so that they can build familiarity and friendship. Currently, 18.7% of Permanent Residents volunteer, similar to the volunteerism rate of 19% for Singapore citizens 1. To reach out to new immigrants, the NIC will work with National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities through programmes such as the SC Journey, and matching platforms such as Singapore Cares 2 to them. 7 To better engage new immigrant volunteers, and increase their capacity to provide worthwhile volunteering opportunities, the NIC will engage key touchpoints with high numbers of new immigrants. These include local community organisations, immigrant associations, professional bodies and employers. The NIC and NVPC will also facilitate partnerships for volunteering projects. For example, organisations with significant proportion of immigrant members can work with local non-profit organisations to set up dedicated volunteering wings where possible. 8 Details of these new initiatives can be found in the Annex. Update on English language initiatives 9 The English language course portal has been upgraded with search functions which will enable users find a course suitable for their lifestyle and needs. For example, users can search for a course that is conducted near their workplace or residence, within a certain budget and fits their schedules. In addition, free online English learning materials such as short audio lessons has also been made available on the portal. These materials are aimed at making it convenient for users to learn and practice their English language skills, be it on the go with their mobile media players or in the comfort of their homes. The new portal, in English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil, can be accessed at 1 National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre's (NVPC) Individual Giving Survey (IGS) Singapore Cares is a team-based, volunteer led programme that provides volunteer projects on a flexible schedule. Weblink:

3 Annex DETAILS OF NEW INITIATIVES 1. Singapore Citizenship (SC) Journey The pilot of the Singapore Citizenship (SC) Journey will be launched in March 2010, in three group representation constituencies (GRCs) Tanjong Pagar, West Coast and Sembawang. New Singapore Citizens are encouraged to participate in the programmes with their family members to make this a meaningful learning journey for the entire family. The components of SC Journey include: A. Singapore Citizenship (SC) e-journey An online programme which will allow new citizens to learn about Singapore at their own pace. Consisting of five modules, contents include: Module 1: Building a Nation, Shaping the Future History of Singapore 50 years of Self Governance Key National Policies Module 2: National Symbols The Singapore National Flag National Coat of Arms Lion Head Symbol National Anthem National Pledge National Flower Module 3: Governing the Country and Knowing the Law Government of Singapore Structure of Government The Singapore Parliament Legal System Town Councils and Community Development Councils (CDCs) Rights, Benefits and Obligations as a citizen Module 4: Total Defence and National Service Protecting the Singaporean Way of Life Five Aspects of Total Defence How to Play a Part in It National Service

4 Module 5: Building Better Communities Racial & Religious Harmony Community Engagement Programme National Integration Council Building Better Communities - Active citizens supporting the community Volunteerism B. Singapore Experiential Tour - A half-day interactive programme which aims to provide new citizens with important insights and knowledge about Singapore's history, key governance and legal institutions, values and vision of the future. New citizens will have the privilege to visit the Singapore Parliament House, apart from other interesting sites of significance like the National Museum of Singapore and the URA's City Gallery. C. Community Sharing Session - Provides an opportunity for new citizens to know more about their community. The Integration & Naturalisation Champions, together with other grassroots leaders, will facilitate the session by sharing their own experiences of living in a multi-racial and multi-religious neighbourhood, providing valuable information on our grassroots organisations, and sharing how new citizens can actively participate or volunteer in the many grassroots activities and committees that are found in their constituencies. The session will provide opportunities for new citizens to visit and experience first-hand the activities taking place at the Community Clubs. New citizens will be able to interact with local residents and each other, thus facilitating the formation of new friendships and expansion of social circles. 2. Citizenship Ceremonies The SC Journey will culminate in a citizenship ceremony to mark the moment when a new citizen commits to becoming a full-fledged member of the Singaporean family. As with the rest of the SC Journey, new citizens will be encouraged to bring along their immediate family members to celebrate this significant occasion together. To reinforce the new citizens sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, local community organisations will be invited to introduce themselves and mingle with the new citizens at the ceremonies. A more emotive Singapore story video with greater emotional appeal, including testimonials from new citizens and exhibits of local works, is in the works and will be screened at the ceremonies to better engage participants. Grassroots organisers of the ceremonies will also have the option of choosing iconic venues of civic and/or historical significance. This will reinforce the link between individual citizenhood and a greater national civic consciousness.

5 3. Promoting Volunteerism The NIC will work with NVPC to raise awareness of volunteering opportunities and matching platforms such as Singapore Cares among new immigrants. Information will be made available to new immigrants through various touchpoints, including information portals such as the Singapore Promise portal 3 and the SC Journey. Another targeted touchpoint is at the grassroots where there are several volunteering opportunities. This includes volunteering as grassroots leaders, helping to organise grassroots activities or as Integration and Naturalisation Champions who meet and greet newcomers to their residential estate and subsequently welcome them to join in community activities. The NIC and NVPC will also engage key local community organisations with a significant proportion of volunteers who are new immigrants, to increase volunteer recruitment and capacity of volunteer opportunities. Immigrant associations will also be encouraged to work with local non-profit organisations to coordinate volunteer opportunities for their members, and to set up dedicated volunteering wings where possible. As a significant proportion of new immigrants are professionals, NIC and NVPC will work with professional organisations and employers to create opportunities for both new immigrants and locals to volunteer through their workplaces. Employers may encourage staff to volunteer and recognise them for their efforts. Intermediaries such as the Centre for Non-Profit Leadership and Kind Exchange that facilitate professional volunteer service matches will be better profiled to these employers. ISSUED BY: MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, YOUTH AND SPORTS 3 A one-stop portal providing information about finding your future in Singapore. Weblink:

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