Channel NewsAsia
Updated: 11/18/2012 19:20 | By Channel NewsAsia

National Conversation committee to focus on specific themes

National Conversation committee to focus on specific themes


National Conversation committee to focus on specific themes

SINGAPORE: By early next year, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat expects to announce themes which the committee spearheading a national conversation about Singapore’s future will focus on.

The committee comprises Singaporeans from many different backgrounds, including grassroots organisations, the private sector, unions, voluntary organisations, academia, the sports and arts communities, and political office—holders.

Mr Heng, who heads the committee, said that besides education, other themes include the value of a Singapore identity.

Mr Heng also emphasised that the conversation is a people—to—people conversation, not a government—to—people one.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of an Environmental Watch Group in the North East District.

The Environment Watch Group is a joint initiative, involving the North East Community Development Council, the National Environment Agency (NEA), Housing Development Board (HDB), Agri—Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and the various town councils.

By early 2013, the group, formed by residents and grassroots leaders, will take on issues such as anti—littering, dengue prevention, energy efficiency and resource conservation.

The group will patrol estates to educate the residents as part of the Clean & Green Singapore 2013 campaign.

The group was first initiated by Punggol North in February this year, where 30 trained volunteers conducted monthly educational rounds in their precinct to educate dog owners to maintain good hygiene and cleanliness standards.

Eric Goh, chairman of the Punggol North Oceanus Residents’ Committee, said: "We expect more cleanliness in our estate but it’s not an overnight thing. It’s a long—term process."

He initiated the Environment Watch Group in February, which saw trained volunteers patrol their precinct monthly to educate pet owners on the importance of cleaning up after their dogs.

Currently, there are 30 members in the Environment Watch Group, consisting of residents and grassroots leaders. Volunteers will be trained on environmental issues.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat, who is also a Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC, said: "I think the littering habits, unfortunately, seems to be coming back. It is very important for us to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and maintain a clean and green environment.

"We live in a very compact city, and the quality of life can be significantly improved if we keep Singapore clean, green and gracious."

Mr Heng said he hopes to see the watch group initiative extended to all districts.

A series of community programmes will also be introduced to encourage residents to take action for the environment under the "Green Tampines" initiative. These include gardening, landscaping and a book recycling programme.

—CNA/ac

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