ACCORD and UWCSEA host a National Service Information Session for international schools
On Friday, 17 November, the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD) and UWCSEA Dover hosted a National Service (NS) Information Session for NS-eligible boys who attend international schools in Singapore. The audience of over 600, predominantly Permanent Residents who have made a long-term commitment to Singapore, came from 16 international schools across the island, including UWCSEA’s Dover and East Campuses, Singapore American School, Tanglin Trust School, and the German European School.
The information session provided families with information on how to prepare for, and what to expect from, their NS. Introduced by Chris Edwards, Head of College at UWCSEA and member of the ACCORD Educational Institutions Council and moderated by Gary Seston, Vice Principal of Dover Campus High School, the event provided a forum for a range of different perspectives, and for the audience to ask questions of a range of speakers from the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) and UWCSEA staff, alumni and parents of alumni.
Representatives from MINDEF provided an overview on the need for NS and how NS has been a key part of Singapore’s defence and security for the past 50 years. They also outlined how pre-enlistees can prepare for NS.
Ms Johanna Fishbein, Head of University Advising at UWCSEA Dover addressed what for many families is one of their most pressing concerns: how will NS affect my son’s university applications and study. Her reassurance to parents 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 one of whom 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.”
Current Full-time National Serviceman (NSF) 2nd Lieutenant Rigel Ho, a UWCSEA Dover alumni, provided the audience with reassurance about the rewards and opportunities for growth and personal development presented by NS. He emphasised the importance of approaching NS with a positive mindset and using it as an opportunity to gain valuable life experience.
Mr Adesh Sarup, a parent of a current NSF, emphasised this, “It’s a really good balance of conventional training and contemporary training; at age 18 to get that sort of real life leadership experience, in order to understand what leadership really is, will stand you in good stead in the years ahead.”
Approximately 20% of UWCSEA’s male graduates are required to serve NS and do so after graduation each year.
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.
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.