Disadvantaged students, especially those who often skip school, will get more support from a pilot project by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to help them stay in class.

A pilot project by the Ministry of Education, The Uplift Community Pilot, a component of the Uplift programme, is geared to aid disadvantaged students who require additional help in attending school regularly.

The Uplift Programme, founded in collaboration with the Ministry of Social and Family Development, will be in effect from this year to 2022. It will be extended out to more than 300 primary and secondary school students from Woodlands, Kreta Ayer and Boon Lay.

The participating schools will recognise disadvantaged students who are developing a habit of skipping school. They will then refer the students to an Uplift coordinator in the area’s Social Service Office (SSO), who will direct them and their families to local programmes and resources. These outreach schemes have been designed to build building “protective factors” around them to help the students get back on track with attending school regularly.

According to MOE, these programmes include homework supervision, academic tutoring, enrichment opportunities in the arts and sports, and social-emotional development guidance. While these are the aids that the students will receive, their families could also be assisted through befriending, parenting skills support and childcare services.

This measure comes in line with the government’s initiative to tackle inequality since many of the disadvantaged students live in rental flats, as stated by Second Minister for Education Indranee Rajah.

The Uplift coordinator in the SSOs ensures coordination and integration between the various agencies offering the services and the families and students who may be in need of assistance.

Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee also echoed Minister Rajah’s view in reducing inequality in Singapore by having the government extend aids to underprivileged families.

He stated that the government must aim to resolve inequality holistically by proactively working hand in hand with partners. A challenge faced by the disadvantaged families, as noted by Minister Lee, was having to contact multiple organisations for help.

The new ComLink programme space in Marsiling is a one-stop location so families in rental housing can access a suite of social services like family services and pre-school support.

More programmes are being added to the space, including reading and numeracy courses for children, sports activities for students, a Community Scouting grassroots programme to recruit more boys and girls to become Scouts, and skills upgrading and job matching services. Although the ComLink programmes will be available for all, families living in rental flats will be given priority for the programmes.