By Muhammad Haaziq As Siddiq Bin Abdul Wahid
FOR the first time in Republic Polytechnic’s (RP) history, the Student Leaders’ annual dialogue with RP Senior Management was held on MS Teams.
Covid-19 has made it impossible for large-group gatherings but the dialogue must go on.
The annual dialogue session serves as an opportunity for student leaders to voice their concerns and raise questions on behalf of the student population to Senior Management. The dialogue session also gives Senior Management insights into the concerns and challenges that students face in their education journey.
This year, the closed-door virtual session on 14 October was attended by 58 Student Leaders from seven school clubs, Adventure Learning Club, CREATE Club, Service-Learning Club, Sports Club, and the Student Council.
During the session, the attendees joined three breakout rooms chaired by Senior Management. Each room addressed specific topics on Academic Matters, RP Transformation, and Student Life and Support.
Among the many queries that were raised under Academic Matters was on the new analytics grading rubrics. Many students asked how their daily grades are calculated and how the changes would affect their overall module grades.
Dr Michael Koh, Deputy Principal (Academic Services), reassured students that they could approach their lecturers to ask about the assessment rubrics for their respective modules. In doing so, they would understand the specific expectations for each module better.
Students who are still confused about the grading rubrics could also seek clarification from their respective Module Chairs and even Programme Chairs at any point in time, he added.
With regards to RP’s Transformation, some student leaders asked for advice on coping with the changes brought about by Covid-19. The discussion group acknowledged that it was essential for student leaders to ensure that their peers had full support, particularly in mental wellness during these trying times.
Mr Ganesh Kalyanam, Director of the Ofﬁce of Student and Graduate Affairs and The Republic Cultural Centre, shared that many Peer Support Leader workshops would be going on concurrently for student leaders to learn how to provide a listening ear to those who are struggling with Home-based Learning (HBL).
RP’s Principal, Mr Yeo Li Pheow, added that students whose home environment is not conducive for HBL can request to come back to campus for lessons, subject to approval.
On the topic of inclusion, student leaders in the Student Life and Support breakout group asked how RP encourages harmony and support between students from all walks of life as Singapore is a multi-racial and multi-cultural country.
In response to this question, Mr Boo Chong-Han, Deputy Principal (Student Services and Organisational Development), said that RP does not tolerate any type of discrimination towards any minority group.
He added that as an education institution, the enforcement of racial harmony and inclusion begins with the student population. He encouraged Student Leaders to remind their peers or classmates to be more accepting towards others and seek to understand them. By doing so, more students in the future would feel inclined to follow their example and collectively carry the banner that RP is an institution for all peoples, regardless of race, language, gender or religion.
These questions were among the highlights of the three-hour long dialogue session.
In closing, Mr Yeo highlighted that student leaders had the responsibility and duty to relay the knowledge learned through the dialogue session to the student body and to consistently look out for their peers. He added that the efforts of the student leaders would contribute to ensuring that the campus continued to be a safe and conducive environment for learning.
Attending the dialogue for the first time was Aman Singh, President of the 18th Student Council. “The Senior Management Dialogue was a breakthrough of barriers between higher management and us student leaders. It was very comforting to share whatever queries I had as a student leader representing the student body,” said Aman, a second-year student from the School of Sports, Health and Leisure.
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