In March this year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that it will provide more resources, like school counsellors, to lower the current dropout rate of 1.6 per cent in Singapore.
In April this year, a group of young adults decided to help their alma maters and began giving “free tuition” in their former schools.
These volunteers, mostly university students, are part of a mentorship program that aims not only to improve the academic results of students, but also to influence the school culture.
Whether this program will work remain to be seen, but the mentors being alumni has its advantages. Lim Shiqi, a former student of Raffles Girls School and now a mentor there, reveals that her having gone through similar experiences in the same school has made it easier for the RGS students to relate to her. Furthermore, the mentors do not come in as “authoritative figures”, so students are more willing to listen to them.
However, one problem that mentors face is that not all the students turn up for the program. RGS assigned the mentors their bottom 25 students, but some students do not treat this program as a priority.
But the mentors are not discouraged. Mentor Dwayne Lum says, “The mentors are literally impacting a generation. Many of these students will eventually be leaders in society. So being a mentor is extremely rewarding, and worth all the effort.”