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CJC's Pre-University Seminar 2017 Journey

Here, we chronicle CJC's journey in hosting Pre-University Seminar 2017.

History and Background of Pre-U Seminar

The history of Pre-U Seminar hails back to 1970. As a student forum, it aimed to cultivate an active interest in current affairs and a broader outlook on political, social, and economic issues that affect Singapore. It had originally only involved Junior College students but has since expanded to include student participants from Polytechnics and Integrated Progarmmes from 2007. The themes of Pre-University Seminar change with the times, including the theme of "Communism and Democracy" in 1971, "The Coming of the IT Age" in 1995, and "Living the Singapore Spirit" in 2016. The series has engaged generations of Singaporean youths, involving them in the ongoing dialogue about Singapore's past, present, and future.

Pre-U Seminar 2017 theme: Renewing Our Singapore Dream

The theme for Pre-U Seminar 2017 is ‘Renewing our Singapore Dream’. The Singapore Dream is driven by our shared aspirations and is ever changing with every generation. As our society progresses, the dream has evolved into a vision of a mature society that is driven by compassion. It is vital that youth in Singapore to nurture aspirations which can be articulated within the broader dream held by all Singaporeans. This Singapore Dream is owned by them and it should continue to inspire, keeping them resilient when faced with the uncompromising realities of the contemporary world.

The seminar aims to immerse student delegates in an ‘Engage’ Experience in which they will have opportunities to discover the values, tensions, trade-offs and possibilities within a Singapore issue in order to shape their dreams and create a new future for Singapore. This will involve gathering perspectives from different members of society, from the expert to the ordinary citizen and building upon ideas and dreams with an understanding of ground realities.

Conceptualising Our Logo


The 2017 Pre-University Seminar logo represents young people and their dreams for Singapore. Their arms reach out to create Singapore’s future and their facing each other symbolises the continuous dialogue between youths of every age, class, gender, race and religion. An optical play on the logo also illustrates a tree which symbolises continuous growth, both individual and collective, embodied in a renewed Singapore dream. Structures within the thought bubble represent a need to cherish Singapore’s past and present. In renewing Singapore’s dream, our younger generation will therefore be involved in making decisions that strike a balance between our heritage and future.

Our logo was inspired by the original works of CJC Student, Goh Shing Rui (2T18). 

Teacher-Facilitator & Student-Facilitator Training

Teacher-Facilitator Training

The Teacher-Facilitators from CJC play a key role in ensuring that the Pre-U Seminar participants will have a fulfilling and engaging learning experience leading up to and during the Seminar.  Our Teacher Facilitators are trained in the 'Engage' Experience comprising the 3Rs (Research, Reflect and Recreate). The training took place over February and March, and included understanding the Areas of Focus, the 3R Matrix, Social Engagement Activity and the use of the Online Collaborative Platform. Time was also set aside for Teacher Facilitators to work with their Student Facilitators. Teacher and Student Facilitators' feedback during the training sessions contributed to the refinements to the 3R Matrix and the 'Engage' Experience. The training set up the path towards synergistic collaboration between the Teacher and Student Facilitators from CJC, and the participants of Pre-U Seminar 2017.

Student-Facilitator Training

Our Student-Facilitators play a key role as Pre-U Seminar facilitators who will moderate expert interview sessions and facilitate team-building within the Pre-University Seminar teams. A total of 79 Students facilitators were selected from an overwhelming and enthusiastic response from a call for volunteers. Training began in early February where the facilitators were introduced to the 3R Learning Matrix that would be used to guide the Research component of Pre-U Seminar. The Student-Facilitators were also guided to craft interview question for the Expert Interview sessions through a simulation of an interview. In March, the Student-Facilitators were trained to facilitate ice-breaker sessions and team-building during the Pre-Seminar workshop on 11 March 2017. Working closely with the Teacher-Facilitators, the Student-Facilitators are a key ingredient to success in our Pre-University Seminar journey. 

Pre-Seminar Workshop, 11 March 2017

The anticipation was rife in the air as the Saturday morning saw bus loads of students from all tertiary institutions in Singapore coming to CJC for the first official meeting between the facilitators and students.  Many were excited to see what the day had in store for them as they were ushered into the Performing Arts Centre (PAC) for the introductory briefing. 

After having been introduced to the theme of this year's Seminar - "Renewing the Singapore Dream", the participants were revved up to meet their new teams under the four domains: "Civic", "Economic", "Environmental" and "Socio-Cultural". Even as they were nervous to meet new faces, CJC Teacher-Facilitators and Student-Facilitators extended their usual warm welcome in true CJ fashion. In the session, the teams got down to business to brainstorm on their Area of Focus and delve deeper into preparation for the Seminar. This included extensive research and brainstorming innovative ideas for their project. Their enthusiasm was evident when the participants continued to mingle with each other even over lunch. 

The day continued with a fun and engaging workshop on important skills such as interviewing The experts in their respective fields and engaging the public through the Social Engagement Activity (SEA). 

The was followed by a mass art session where each team was to come up with two canvases of art encapsulating their dream for Singapore in two words. This proved to be the perfect opportunity to not only experiment with artistic expression but also for participants to get to know each other a little better. The session was filled with plenty of chatter and laughter as students produced their stunning art pieces, each piece embodying authenticity and sincerity. 

Expert Interviews

Prior to the seminar, each group of students visited people and organisations to interview experts in their assigned area of focus. Students are able to gain new perspectives and greater insight on their assigned domain through interacting with the interviewees and through their knowledge, better understand and appreciate the values and challenges of building a resilient society. Some examples of the people and organisations include:

  • Civic Domain: The Diplomatic Advantage: Reinforcing Singapore’s International place in the World - Prof Chan Heng Chee, Ambassador-at-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Economic Domain: Made in Singapore: Building a World-Class Singaporean Brand - Mr Goh Choon Phong, CEO, Singapore Airline
  • Environmental Domain: Housing our Homes: Reimagining homes of the future - Mr Tan Sze Tiong, Director, Environmental Sustainability Research, Housing & Development Board
  • Socio-Cultural Domain: At Home in a Global Society: Working abroad yet rooted to Singapore - Mr Wong Kan Foo, Director (OSU), Office For Citizen Engagement , Overseas Singaporean Unit

Pre-University Seminar Day 1 (29 May 2017)

Pre-University Seminar 2017 kicked off with the Opening Ceremony on Day 1. Our Guest of Honour, Dr. Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Education, engaged our student participants in a robust discussion during a Q&A session with them. He urged them, as representative of their generation, to be open and adaptable in the reinvention of the Singapore Dream.

Pre-University Seminar Day 2 (30 May 2017)

Day 2 of Pre-University Seminar saw the continuation of engaging discussions about national issues with concurrent panel discussions with expert panelists from different fields. Our student participants also spent time preparing for their Social Engagement Activity which will take place around the island. During the Social Engagement Activity, participants will engage the public and collect their dreams for Singapore, getting a strong ground sensing and listening to the voices of Singaporeans on the streets.

Pre-University Seminar Day 3 (31 May 2017)

On Day 3, during the Social Engagement Activity (SEA), student participants gathered the voices and dreams of Singaporeans everywhere, and drew out the aspirations of those they met on the streets. Deep listening, meaningful engagement, and thoughtful reflection are key aspects of the SEA, where our participants discerned deeper concerns heard in these voices and wove them together in a renewed Singapore Dream.

Pre-University Seminar Day 4 (1 June 2017)

Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence, Mr Ong Ye Kung, was the Guest-of-Honour at the Closing Ceremony and Exhibition on the final day of Pre-University Seminar 2017. Student participants shared their findings and learning from the seminar with him and our invited guests. As the Pre-University Seminar draws to a close, we hope that all involved keep the renewed dreams for Singapore alive and burning in our hearts and minds.