CEO Thoughts – 2018 has been another year of “Firsts” at DAS

We saw our student enrolment reach 3,115 for the DAS English Language and Literacy (ELL) Division’s Main Literacy Programme (MLP) for the first time. Total enrolment for our various Specialised Educational Services (SES) programmes reached 1,236 for the first time. I am so glad we are able to help many more children with dyslexia and related SpLDs.

The 6th DAS Preschool Seminar held in March saw an increased attendance crossing 320 for the first time. We organised a very successful Charity Golf Event in May for the first time, raising over $360K for our bursary fund. We opened our newest Learning Centre in Serangoon also in May with Member of Parliament Mr Sean Kian Peng as the Guest of Honour. This is the first time DAS has 14 learning centres in Singapore. SES launched a Science Programme and an Artventures Programme for the first time. ELL launched a new programme, iStudy Smart™, in Term 4 and developed another, iReach™, which will be ready to go in 2019. SpLD Assessment Services organised our first SpLD Seminar in October as part of our World Dyslexia Awareness Week effort. DAS Academy re-launched the Diploma in Special Learning Differences (SpLD) as a multi-option programme rather than the previous fixed six module programme. FY2018 will also see DAS provide $1.3 million in bursaries to dyslexic students from lower-income families so that they can access our specialised learning programmes and services. Again, the first time we have provided this amount and it will increase again this year as we reach out to those who need our support.

And 2018 ended with a bang! In November, we held our largest Student Graduation and Achievement Awards (SGAA) Ceremony to date with an attendance of 1,000 guests, students, parents and staff. At SGAA, 30 of our Speech and Drama students performed to their largest audience to date. DAS staff presented at many conferences around the world and two, for the first time, we presented in China – Harbin in October and Shenzhen in December. And DAS has launched a new and comprehensive Student Management System which required many of DAS staff to sacrifice their year-end holidays to ensure its smooth implementation in 2019.

The Minister of Education, Mr Ong Ye Kung, was our Guest of Honour during the May Charity Golf event. He also visited DAS together with Minister Indranee Rajah, the Second Minister for Education in November to better understand our work and challenges we have. Minister Ng Chee Meng, Prime Minister’s Office, was our Guest of Honour for SGAA 2018. This is the first time so many Ministers have visited DAS in a single calendar year and we are most grateful for their wonderful support!

And this is only a snapshot of what happened at DAS in 2018 …

The above reflects the energy and innovation of DAS staff and our commitment to expanding the scope of our services, the expertise of our staff and the efficacy of our programmes for children with dyslexia and related SpLDs. At the same time, we will work hard to raise the necessary funds to continue to provide bursaries for disadvantaged children with dyslexia. To do this we hope that Singaporeans will be generous with their donations in 2019 as they were last year.

Last but not least, a special mention to our Patron Mrs Goh Chok Tong and our Executive Committee led by President Mr Eric Lee for their incredible support and guidance throughout 2018 !

We look forward to 2019 and will embrace this year with the same enthusiasm as we did 2018!

Lee Siang is the Chief Executive Officer of the Dyslexia Association of Singapore. He regularly notes down his thoughts on the DAS Blog.

Learn more about Lee Siang here!