SINGAPORE : The Education Minister and Second Minister for Defence, Ng Eng Hen said he is upbeat about Singapore youth and their sense of belonging to their country.
He said two National Education surveys on students conducted in 2008 and 2010 showed that over 95 per cent were proud to be Singaporeans.
Similar surveys on National Servicemen have also consistently shown that a majority feel they belong here and would defend Singapore should it come under threat.
Speaking at the 2nd Connexion Seminar on Tuesday, Dr Ng said new media has played a major role in this sense of increased participation among the young.
At the seminar, National Education practitioners received the thumbs up for using new media better to engage Singaporeans.
Dr Ng, who was the Guest-of-Honour at the event, said: "I told practitioners that from time to time, when there are criticisms and negative sentiments, not to be discouraged, that questioning is a natural process.
"But thankfully, I think we're quite happy that surveys show that there's a great sense of belonging. And I think that our young are optimistic and we have built something precious, and something which Singaporeans are willing to defend."
Dr Ng said this should encourage Singapore to continue finding innovative ways to directly engage students.
National Education, which covers Singapore's history as well as issues of social and national concern, do this through the prowess of technology.
For instance, to find out more about certain heritage sites, take a picture with a smartphone and an image-matching system will furnish you information.
COL (Ret) Png Bee Hin is the CEO of Leadership Development Resources, which developed an application that allows students to learn about National Education through handheld devices.
He said: "We've always wanted to reach out to young people, and we realise that using the tour guide concept didn't quite work. The best way to engage them is using self-directed and collaborative learning. And that's why we use the power of GPS and image recognition technology to engage them."
For the Ministry of Defence (MINDEF), its YouTube channel - cyberpioneerTV - has garnered more than two million cumulative views since it was launched nearly two years ago.
Clara Tan, who is the Covering Head of the Internal Media Department at MINDEF said: "People are commenting on the channel, they're telling us that they enjoy 'Every Singaporean Son', they're sharing their National Service experiences through cyberpioneerTV through the 'Every Singaporean Son' episodes we're putting up.
"Basically what we're doing is creating a platform for the public to interact with us and to be part of this content creation process. And in this process, they will learn more about defence." - CNA /ls
I am proud........ to be a Singaporean.