From August, about 7,000 incoming students of the National University of Singapore (NUS) will need to take up community projects and be graded for them.
Under a new semester-long Communities and Engagement module, they can opt for projects related to topics of their interest, like climate change or access to healthcare.
Professor Ho Teck Hua, NUS’ senior deputy president and provost, said the idea is to get students started on a cause which they could continue in their own time, and develop in them a sense of social responsibility and empathy.
The module comprises in-class assignments and working with community partners, while guided by faculty experienced in community engagement, he added.
Professor Bernard Tan, NUS senior vice-provost (undergraduate education), said students have already been taking part in service learning projects for years.
“We are not starting from scratch… it’s important for us to extend this experience to all NUS undergraduates,” he said.
The module is part of NUS’ general education curriculum to expose students to knowledge and skills outside their specialisations, and prepare them for work and society. It was last revamped in 2015.
Under the refreshed general education offerings, students will have to take modules from six “pillars”, one of which is the new community engagement project.
The other five pillars are cultures and connections, Singapore studies, critique and expression, data literacy and digital literacy. These cover topics such as computational thinking and Singapore’s relationships with Asean and the world.