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Student volunteerism on the rise in Singapore
30 July 2007

Singapore City, Singapore: Volunteering for good causes or social activities is rising among students, according to the Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister at a student forum.

But the picture is not all rosy.

Students are now giving more of their time and energy to social causes, despite the scrapping of compulsory participation in the Community Involvement Programmes for junior college students two years ago.

Students in schools, polytechnics, ITEs and universities have avenues to get involved at home and abroad through government programmes.

A survey five years ago by the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre put the national volunteering percentage at 14.9% - up from 9.3% two years earlier.

But when students finish their education, the numbers who are still volunteering dwindles.

"People may be too busy establishing their careers or getting married or looking after kids, which explains the drop after school. And that's why we are now trying to focus on young working adults," said Community Development, Youth and Sports Minister, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.

To attract the young to stay involved, the minister is exploring several ideas like getting ex-students to stay in tune with their alumni.

The idea - voiced at the forum - is to keep students connected to their friends and social groupings.

Among some of the topics discussed at the forum is what stops students from volunteering.

In an exchange between the minister and students - time, money and student interest was raised as some of the obstacles.

The forum, now in its third year, explored the theme of youth and volunteering this year.