A little background information: Minister Heng introduced the Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) focus for MOE during his first workplan seminar in September 2011. In a renewed effort to emphasize moral-driven learning in schools, the newly established MOE CCE Branch released a 195-page toolkit for teachers, providing insights on how to incorporate the teaching of values into school curriculum. This was followed by the inaugural CCE Conference held in NIE in November the same year and also the subsequent introduction of a new Edusave Character Award (ECHA) to 'recognise students for demonstrating exemplary character and outstanding personal qualities through their behaviour and actions.' Fast forward 1.5 years, Minister Heng recently reported that "CCE has been progressing well and will remain a key emphasis going forward."
Sounds good, right?
Truth be told, this 'new' MOE emphasis on values education is nothing revolutionary. Those of us born in the 1980s will remember ' Civics and Moral Education ' aka CME lessons during Primary and Secondary School. Values Education has been a compulsory segment of formal school curriculum for as long as I can remember. Call me skeptical, but it seems to me that CCE is largely a rebranding exercise - since CME and NE (National Education) have become unpalatable in schools, let's combine them and give it a new name. Giving recognition for good conduct is nothing new either - schools and military organizations have been doing so for a long time. Furthermore, in order to be eligible for most scholarships, awards and bursaries, excellent conduct and good moral values are supposed prerequisites.
Update: The post has been completed! http://neurotic-ramblings-sg.blogspot.sg/2013/05/character-education-nobody-cares.html