Back for its second year, The Big Quiz steps up student engagement
Singapore, 26 March 2013 – The Straits Times-Ministry of Education National Current Affairs Quiz, also known as The Big Quiz, is back for its second year and will kick things off with its news outreach segment in April.
The Big Quiz is jointly organised by The Straits Times and the Ministry of Education, and supported by the Singapore Press Holdings Foundation as its presenting sponsor.
The contest is open to all Pre-U 1 and Year 5 students of 24 schools, including all junior colleges and schools such as Millennia Institute, ACS (Independent), Dunman High School, School of the Arts and NUS High School of Mathematics and Science.
In its news outreach segment in April, Pre-university (Pre-U) students will share their thoughts on issues of concern and relevance to them as well as to get a chance to engage senior editors and journalists from The Straits Times.
The Quiz will start with a series of weekly primers published in the Monday edition of The Straits Times. These Monday primers, which cover a wide range of topics such as education, housing and the environment, will be written by The Straits Times’ journalists. These articles will be published over a 12-week period leading up to the Quiz, from April 1 to July 29, excluding the school holidays in June.
Each primer will address an issue in the Singapore context and provide different perspectives on the subject - for instance, how constraints such as Singapore’s lack of land and natural resources affect national issues.
Students in Pre-U 1 and Year 5 will be able to access The Straits Times newspaper every Monday, in print and online, for discussion of the topics during General Paper (GP) lessons. The Ministry of Education (MOE) will develop accompanying resources for teachers to facilitate classroom discussions.
Besides the primers, The Straits Times journalists will go to selected schools to give talks and engage students in dialogue sessions. They will also speak at an additional session at the preliminary round of the quiz.
Mr Warren Fernandez, Editor of The Straits Times, said: "Young people are the future. They need to know how their world is changing and how these changes will affect them. This competition will get them right up to speed with current affairs in an enjoyable way."
Mrs Chua Yen Ching, Director for Curriculum Planning and Development, Ministry of Education, said: “With the constant stream of news and opinions from many sources around the world, the news outreach programme will encourage students to be self-directed in their learning and weigh alternative viewpoints with discernment and critical insight.”
Ms Ginney Lim, General Manager, SPH Foundation, said: "In this digital age, youths are bombarded with all kinds of information. With The Big Quiz, we hope to cultivate their interest in news that matter and engage them at a deeper level. Through news articles, discussions and other outreach activities, The Big Quiz will help students stay abreast of the rapid changes around us. It will also invoke their thoughts on how they, too, can play a part in shaping our world."
A new platform, known as the ‘Thought Leadership Question’, has been added to this year’s outreach, giving students a channel to share their perspectives on issues of the day. The primers will initiate questions for students to share their thoughts on the various issues. This ‘Thought Leadership Question’ segment is sponsored by energy company Shell.
The best entries for each question will be uploaded to the Singapolitics website. The top three entries as judged by other students will win $50 book vouchers each. Excerpts of the top three entries for each question will also be reproduced in The Straits Times, in a column sponsored by Shell. The writer of the overall best entry of the series will also be invited to the grand final of the quiz to receive an additional prize.
Mr Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman of Shell Singapore, said: “At Shell, we believe that we need to be proactive in addressing tomorrow’s energy and environmental challenges. By raising questions to challenge our youth, we hope to encourage them to develop new ideas and share how technology can help meet the world’s future energy needs in creative and sustainable ways.”
School teams will take part in the Quiz’s preliminary round on July 17, which will culminate in the finals on July 31. The questions will be based on content from The Straits Times from January 2013.
The winning team will get a challenge trophy and $5,000 cash prize; the second prize winner will take home $3,000 cash prize; the third prize winner $1,000 cash prize and the fourth prize winner $500 cash prize.
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About The Straits Times
The Straits Times, the English flagship daily of SPH, has been serving readers for more than a century. Launched on July 15, 1845, its comprehensive coverage of world news, East Asian news, Southeast Asian news, home news, sports news, financial news and lifestyle updates makes The Straits Times the most-read newspaper in Singapore.
Quality news, in-depth analyses, impactful commentaries and breaking stories are packaged to give readers riveting accounts of events in Singapore, the region, and beyond.
The Straits Times' key strength is in its world class coverage of news outside Singapore. With 20 bureaus in major cities around the world, The Straits Times correspondents bring world news to readers on a Singapore platter, helping them appreciate world events from a Singaporean perspective.
In keeping with the times, The Straits Times introduced weekly supplements such as Digital Life (DL), Urban and Mind Your Body (MYB) to complement The Straits Times as well as IN and Little Red Dot to cater to young readers in schools. In 2010, IN won the World Young Reader prize for the Newspapers In Education category. The prize was awarded by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra).
The Straits Times also has an online presence at www.straitstimes.com. The site features top stories, blogs and an online forum threads. Also under The Straits Times' umbrella are citizen journalism site Stomp and online television service The Straits Times RazorTV.
About the Ministry of Education
The Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) formulates and implements education policies and programmes in consultation with its stakeholders. These policies and programmes aim to help all students discover their talents, realise their potential, and develop a passion for learning that lasts through life. MOE also oversees the development and management of the Government and Government-aided primary schools, secondary schools and junior colleges. Please visit www.moe.gov.sg for more information.
About Singapore Press Holdings Ltd
Main board-listed Singapore Press Holdings Ltd (SPH) is Southeast Asia's leading media organisation, engaging minds and enriching lives across multiple languages and platforms. It publishes 18 newspaper titles in four languages and over 100 magazine titles in Singapore and the region. On an average day, – 3.05 million individuals or 76 percent of people above 15 years old, read one of SPH’s news publications. SPH’s internet editions of its major newspapers enjoy over 270 million page views with 18 million unique visitors each month. Other new media initiatives include AsiaOne, omy.sg, ST701, Stomp and The Straits Times RazorTV. SPH has also ventured into book publishing, broadcasting, out-of-home advertising and properties. For more information, please visit www.sph.com.sg.