Academic News

Hwa Chong Students’ Prevail Amid COVID-19 Crisis

22 Jun 2020

Future Problem Solving Program International Conference

The Future Problem Solving Program (FPSP) aims to hone the abilities of youth to solve problems utilising critical and creative thinking. Each category of competition, namely Global Issues Problem Solving (GIPS), Scenario Writing (SW) and Community Problem Solving (CmPS) comprises 3 divisions, the Junior Division (Primary School) Middle Division (Secondary 1 to 3) and Senior Division (Secondary 4 to Junior College 2).

Though COVID-19 prevented the teams from actually travelling to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA for the International Conference from 3 to 7 June this year, we would like to congratulate the following teams and their teacher mentors for garnering the awards in the first online version to facilitate the participation of various schools.

CmPs Senior Division 1st  (Mentored by Mrs Anuradha Boyanapali (Education Consultant, Student Development)

The Community Problem Solving (CmPS) is about letting students learn powerful lessons about creating change, about dealing with local authorities and organizations, and about making a positive impact. The team worked in close collaboration with Minds, Me Too! Club, to alleviate the challenges faced by 40 low functioning Persons With Intellectual Disabilities (PWIDs) by equipping them with social and practical skills to help them become more independent in supporting themselves without any external help on a daily basis.  They achieved this by organising social skills lessons, teaching them to tell time and plan a time-table for themselves, dining etiquette, the importance of recycling, money management skills, basic computer skills and sports sessions. In addition, they  also worked actively to raise awareness for their cause amongst the Singaporean public; reaching out to a total of 1500 people, including students, teachers and other members of the public, primarily focusing on teaching them how to interact with People with Intellectual Disabilities.

When asked what was their biggest takeaway, they remarked that: 
“Through our events, we understood the many challenges faced by the PWIDs and we learnt to be more grateful for what we have. Although these PWIDs had difficulties accomplishing tasks that might seem simple to us on their own, they were still so joyful while doing the things we take for granted every day. Overall, we feel that embarking on this project has helped us see the outside world in a different light.”

From left to right: Joash Poon (20S75) Avier Tan Kai Wen (20S6C), Xu Yuyang (20S7C), Wayne Leong (20A11) Toh Yu Him, Bryan (20A15) (Mentored by Mrs. Anuradha Boyanapalli (Education Consultant/ Student Development)

From left to right: Mrs Poh Mun See (Principal, Raffles Girls’ School), Mrs Anuradha Boyanapalli (Education Consultant/ Student Development) Xu Yuyang (20S7C),  Avier Tan Kai Wen (20S6C), Joash Poon (20S75), Wayne Leong (20A11), Toh Yu Him, Bryan (20A15)

CmPs Senior Division 5th out of 9 teams  (Mentored by Mrs Jean Ng-Ong Ee Chim) (Lecturer/English Language)
Project Auxilium partnered with MIJ Special Education Hub, an organization that provides help and education to people with special needs. After conducting interviews and observing some special needs students during lessons, they found that the problem could be largely attributed to the lack of interpersonal skills and the dearth of public interaction amongst these students. This was compounded by the lack of public awareness regarding the challenges they faced.

The group hence sought to hone the communication and life skills of the children, as well as to raise public awareness regarding their condition. This would make for more engaging and meaningful interaction with the public, as well as a heightened empathy and understanding for these students. This was done through interactive lessons and learning journeys that provided a platform for public interaction and enabling students to translate what was taught during the lessons into practical real-world practices. Carnivals were held to raise awareness for their cause, celebrate the students' achievements, and grant them an opportunity to share their stories with the community.

From Left To Right:  Matthew Koh Kai Cheng (4A321), Liao Xinyan (4S317), Ooi Wei Chern (4S224) (Leader), Zeen Chia (4A333) and Aloysius Chin Tze Lin (4P201)

Liao Xinyan (4S317) mentioned that:
“Sometimes, the real superheroes lie in the hearts of the ordinary braving life's greatest battles. Seeing these individuals' optimism and tenacity towards life and their pursuits have motivated our group to play our part in cultivating a nurturing and wholesome environment for them to grow.”

His group mates Zeen Chia (4A333) and Ooi Wei Chern (4S224) concurred that:
“This was truly an eye-opening experience for all of us as we got a clearer glimpse into the lives of special needs individuals, understanding their problems and empathizing with their needs. We look forward to making a greater impact on their lives and continue helping them integrate into society.”

GIPs Senior Division 33rd out of 63 teams  (Mentored by Mr Siew Wenjie, Daniel (Senior Consultant/ Student Development))
GIPs Middle Division 10th out of 69 teams (Mentored by Mr Siew Wenjie, Daniel, (Senior Consultant/ Student Development)

Both teams had to brainstorm potential challenges, decide on an underlying problem, propose solutions and craft an action plan to solve the problem on the imaginary planet of Ganymede.

Senior Division GIPS students competing from home during the virtual competition. 
From top-left in clockwise direction:  Sim Jing Heng (20S7J), Wee Junlong (20S7J), Lu Jin Wei Ethan (20S78) and Huang Junwei (20S7F)

Middle Division GIPS students deep in thought during the virtual competition. 
From bottom-left in clockwise direction: Lee Jun Yi (4H1), Seamus Kelly Yi Xuan (4H1), Tham Kit Young (4S3) and Lim Chern Howe Ryan (4S2)

Tham Kit Young (4S3)  reflected that:
"This competition has truly been a unique experience for me.  It has led me to think critically and creatively of possible problems as well as solutions for the future and inspired me to change the future for the better.  I am thankful to the school for giving us this opportunity to participate."

SW Middle Division 11th  out of 35 (Mentored by Ms Phay Choong Siew, Josephine (Lecturer/ English Language)

Zhang Junjian (2P3)

Champion of the National Scenario Writing Champion in 2019, Zhang Junjian (2P3) shared that:
“The FPSPIC draws in competitors hailing from all over the world. The best problem solvers of each country were in attendance. With that in mind, I was apprehensive as I had to compete against many talented students from all over the world. However, the experience of taking part in FPSPIC was particularly meaningful to me as it was the first time I had taken part in an international competition. For the Scenario Writing component which I took part in, we were given 4 days to complete a 1000 word story based on a given future scene; we had to incorporate the given characters and setting into our own story, while ensuring the story is creative and coherent. I initially did not have much confidence as it is not easy writing a completely new story from scratch, much less in four days and using the given boundaries. Yet through this experience, I have learnt to work better within given deadlines, as I not only had to write the story, but also had to grapple with school work. It was no doubt challenging at first, as it was the first week out of the circuit breaker and I was still very much in a mentality of being on break, but I managed to handle the workload and finished the story in time. As a writer, I also gained more experience and practice. Previously, I also had ample time to gain inspiration and write in my own leisure. However, this time, I could not just wait for inspiration to strike, but had to complete the work within a short time frame. In the end, even though I did not enter the top 3, it was still a very eye opening and fruitful event. I attained scores that exceeded my expectations and also allowed me to gain experience not only as a writer but also as a student. I am thankful for having the opportunity to attend such a competition and truly treasure such an experience.”

Learn more about Academic News at HCI

Back to listing of Achievements