This domain recognises student involvement in community service and learning experiences through service activities and Values-in-Action (VIA) projects. Every secondary school student is expected to contribute to the community for at least 6 hours per school year, i.e. at least 24 hours by the end of his/her secondary education.
This domain serves to recognise students’ development as socially responsible citizens who contribute meaningfully to the community, through the learning and application of values, knowledge and skills via service activities and VIA project learning experiences.
To give greater focus to students acquiring values through service, students are encouraged to identify and understand the community issues, and initiate action among their peers to make a difference and improve the lives of others. During Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) lessons, students will reflect on their VIA experiences to reinforce the learning and help them internalise values.
The components of planning, service and reflection, as well as the demonstration of student initiative in coming up with proposals for serving the community are essential features of VIA that make the learning experience meaningful and purposeful. Schools decide the teaching and learning approach that best caters to the needs of their students, bearing in mind the key components of a meaningful VIA learning experience. A good example of an approach commonly implemented in schools is Service-Learning.
Platform for Character and Citizenship Education
Community service is seen as a good platform for Character and Citizenship Education, as it gives students a sense of satisfaction from doing good and contributing to something larger than the self, which cannot be delivered through classroom lessons alone. Putting values, such as responsibility, care and respect for others, into practice in a real world setting deepens one’s understanding of the values. However, an activity on its own does not necessarily lead to learning. Teacher facilitation is needed to draw out learning points from an activity, thus a teaching and learning approach is necessary to bring about deeper understanding.
Positive Impact of VIA
Participation in VIA cultivates social responsibility, acceptance of cultural diversity, awareness of community needs and issues, ability to carry out a service project, and commitment to service beyond schooling years. Thus, participation in VIA is a proxy indicator of a student’s learning from the experience, provided the process is implemented effectively.
Components of VIA
Three essential components of effective community service programmes are planning, service sustained over a period of time, preferably at least one semester, and reflection. These three components are applicable to other approaches for community involvement through VIA.
To ensure that the learning experience is meaningful and purposeful, VIA projects that are recognised under the Service domain have to be approved and supervised by the school, in accordance with the school’s VIA developmental plan. Schools are encouraged to give students choices in terms of how they want to contribute to the common good, with teacher guidance or facilitation, tapping on the schools’ sustained partnerships with the community.
Levels of Attainment
At Level 1,
the expectation is to fulfil the basic range of hours of service to the school or community, which starts from the minimum of 24 hours, i.e. 6 hours per year for 4 years in the secondary school, and ends at less than 30 hours.
recognises service of at least 30 hours up to less than 36 hours. Alternatively, it also recognises a student who has completed at least one VIA project that has impact on the school or community. On average, the duration of a VIA project, which includes planning, service and reflection, can range from 8 to 14 hours.
recognises service of at least 36 hours. Similar to Level 2, it also recognises a student who has completed at least two VIA projects that have impact on the school or community, or completed at least 24 hours of service and completed at least a VIA project.
At Levels 4 and 5,
students are required to fulfil the stipulated service hours and also to participate in at least two VIA projects. A student working towards these levels should participate in rigorous and meaningful VIA learning experience to ensure deeper learning and service to the school or the community. Hence, there is no provision to recognise only service hours for Levels 4 and 5.
To qualify for Level 4, a student needs to fulfil service of at least 24 hours and at least two VIA projects that impact the school or community.
Level 5 recognises students who role model a spirit of service to the community. These students fulfil at least 24 hours of service and at least two VIA projects, of which at least one is a student-initiated VIA project that impacts the community. Student initiative could take the form of proposing ideas for a student group’s VIA project, facilitated by the teacher, e.g. identifying what community issues the group would like to address and how the group can help address those issues.
The level of attainment in this domain is determined by the highest level attained in either of the rows of the table below.
|Completed at least 24 to less than 30 hours of service
||Completed at least 30 to less than 36 hours of service
|| Completed at least 36 hours of service
|| Completed at least one VIA project that impacts the school or community
|| Completed at least two VIA projects that impact the school or community
|| Completed at least 24 hours of service and at least one VIA project that impacts the school or community
||Completed at least 24 hours of service and at least two VIA projects that impact the school or community
||Completed at least 24 hours of service and at least one student-initiated VIA project that impact the community beyond the school and at least one other VIA project
One example of an approach to VIA is Service-Learning. Time spent on VIA projects, including the planning, service and reflection components, will count towards the minimum hours of service stated in the above criterion.