Singapore National Academy in Surabaya is the largest independent International Award Centre (IAC) of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Indonesia.
Around 100 students at Singapore National Academy take part in the Award programme, which is introduced at Bronze level in Year 9 when students start Cambridge IGCSE. They progress to Silver in Year 10 and Gold during Years 11 and 12. Around a third of students achieve the Gold level.
‘We believe in offering a holistic programme which focuses on character outcomes such as collaboration skills, empathy and the building of autonomy and opportunities for students,’ says Stuart Ellis, Dean – Head of High School. ‘We believe the Award offers great opportunities for learners to build such attributes.’
Joelynn Josephine Tamrin is one of the students who has worked her way up to Gold level (pictured above, far left). She initially decided to take part in the Award to improve her physical fitness, but has found it has offered wider benefits – particularly the Voluntary Service section which encourages young people to volunteer their time. As part of her Gold Award, she is currently interning at IndoNation Building, an organisation that empowers high school students to make a positive contribution to their communities.
'The Award has encouraged me to get more involved in my community’, says Joelynn. ‘I am developing my leadership skills as well as teamwork. While the service that I have chosen is not directly linked to my studies, it has made me more mature and confident in interacting with new people.’
‘I have done several Voluntary Service section activities during the Award programme. One of them involved going to an isolated school and teaching less fortunate kids. In this experience not only did I experience what it felt like to have limited resources and a less comfortable learning environment, but I also learnt to be more grateful for what I already have.’
Opening up new experiences
As well as the Voluntary Service section, each level of the Award programme includes a Skills section, Physical Recreation section and an Adventurous Journey which involves a team expedition. ‘I am grateful to have met so many different people through the various programmes and events that I have taken part in. I was encouraged to interact with different people, who work differently, who think differently, and people who might have opposite opinions. This has also developed my adaptability skills.’
A high number of staff at The Singapore National Academy are trained by the Award, with most joining two or three Adventurous Journeys a year. Stuart Ellis finds that the Award helps attract quality teachers, because it is seen as job enrichment and offers valuable training opportunities. Parents also see the benefits of participation and how the Award supports academic, as well as personal, development.
‘You get experiences that you would not get anywhere else,’ says Joelynn, who says she’d recommend the programme to other students. ‘Joining the Award would also definitely benefit their university applications. Not only will it be a very unique and fun experience, they will develop as a person too.’