Media Reports

Teen who wrote her way out of isolation

Iffah Durrah Kajai | Sep 23, 2016


She is just 16, but Shivani Ekkanath already has the portfolio of an established writer.

Her work has been published in magazines such as Time, to a piece which was published in international literary magazine eFiction, to letters to the Straits Times Forum.

She is also a featured writer for Borgen Magazine, an online magazine that covers global issues, politics and humanity.

Shivani did a summer internship this year with the organisation in Seattle.

The magazine operates under The Borgen Project, a campaign that fights global poverty.

One of her poems has been featured in Write the World's first annual literary journal, along with pieces written by over 65 other young writers.

Write the World is a global platform for young writers which aims to help improve the writing of tertiary students through its global online community and guided interactive process.


The entries published in the journal were handpicked by the Write the World team from a wide array of stories and poems published on the website.

Titled Write the World - Young Voices Across the Globe: Best of 2016, the journal will be launched at 4pm in Singapore on Saturday (Sept 24), at Booktique in CityLink Mall.

Out of the four featured writers from Singapore, Shivani and two others will be present at the launch to read her work to the audience and sign copies of the journal.

Shivani Ekkanath (middle, in green) is only 16, but her work has been published multiple times. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHIVANI EKKANATH

Originally from Kerala, India, Shivani, a NPS International School student, has been living here ever since her family moved here when she was two.

Shivani told The New Paper: "I am proud of my passion, and (getting published) gives me the renewed vigour to continue expressing my views to the world."


She picked up an interest in writing when she was 12. Before then, she wanted to study astrophysics and become an astronaut.

One day, she wrote a poem about a girl who felt restricted and was often bullied - a story inspired by her own life.

She said: "The poem made me connect with my writing for the first time because I was bullied a lot and felt very isolated. I still have a copy of the poem."

To her, there is no set age when one should start honing writing skills - it is more of how much they want to pursue it.

"As soon as you feel the urge or burning desire to express your opinion, fostering and nurturing that craft of writing will do wonders."

Shivani added: "Every writer has their own gift and craft and I want to urge kids to realise the massive potential of theirs."

NPS wins merit award

Ankita Pandey Vallikappen | tabla! | Friday, Feb 07, 2014

Among the top 10... the NPS team that took part.

SINGAPORE - The National Public School (NPS) International team emerged as merit winners in this year's The Straits Times National Youth Media Competition. The competition was won by first-time entrant Singapore American School (SAS).

The NPS International team comprising Aadhar Agarwal, Venkatesh Vijay Rao, Ashwin Kumaar Raviraj, Shail Modi, Natasha Magendar and Mehek Gupta, all 15, won $500.

Hwa Chong Institution came in second while 2012 winners School of the Arts took the third place. Raffles Institution and Victoria School also won merit awards.

The competition, which is the revamped version of the Straits Times National Schools Newspaper Competition, featured 10 finalists chosen from schools across the city. The 10 teams had to produce a news video of professional cyclist Lemuel Lee, a member of the OCBC Pro Cycling team, post online news updates and design the front page of The Straits Times.

The NPS International team did well in this competition in its previous editions, winning the competition in 2010 and finishing second and third in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The NPS International team, though proud of what they had achieved in the latest competition, were disappointed that they could not manage a podium finish.

The team's editor Shail Modi said they could have done better.

However, the highlight for the team was what they learnt through this exercise, like thinking out of the box and coming up with ideas that pushed the boundaries of creative thought.

Another member of the team Venkatesh said that comparing their performance with those of their predecessors from the last three years would not provide an accurate or fair picture. "It was a new competition this year, with completely different components and parameters. It required a more multifaceted and varied skill set from the team. Also, there were new teams like SAS participating for the first time and we had no way to anticipate their abilities," he said.

Speaking about their design of The Straits Times (ST) front page, the team's designers Mehek and Natasha said that though they had to conform to ST housestyles, they made changes which they thought would make the paper more engaging to youngsters.

"We shifted the skybox to the right vertical column, because we felt that it draws the reader's eyes to what else is in the paper more naturally. It's more aesthetic for young people who are used to a web/online layout where links are always on the side. A reader will be glancing at what else is inside even while moving down the page while reading the main article. But if the skybox is on top, the reader has to specifically look up to look at it," they said.

The NPS International team won the award for the Best Integration across all media for their innovative online blog updates, infographics and links to the print product.

However, the team felt they could have done their video better. "We recorded the raw video and then edited it but we realised that we had a lot of background noise. We thought of removing it completely but that made the video sound very fake and robotic almost. So we just toned down the background noise. We also had to make several cuts to the video since Mr Lee was getting tired and distracted and the answers were too long. Because of all the cuts it looked rather fragmented and disjointed," Venkatesh said.

ST National Youth Media Competition: Minister faces questions from "reporters"

Published on Nov 19, 2013, 3:12 p.m. By Sheryl Quek

Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong (right) speaking to students. For almost an hour, 20 budding young reporters fired a barrage of questions at Mr Wong, on Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013, morning about the volunteer youth corps announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally.

For almost an hour, 20 budding young reporters fired a barrage of questions at Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong on Tuesday morning about the volunteer youth corps announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the National Day Rally.

The mock press conference was the first assignment of the day for the teenage participants in the inaugural Straits Times National Youth Media Competition.

The students, aged between 13 and 16 years old are from schools such as Xinmin Secondary, School of the Arts, Raffles Institution, Singapore American School. They asked Mr Wong a number of questions including: "Why the urgency to tackle volunteerism now?"; "How do you intend to get young people, who are not interested, to serve?" and "Why are youths being targeted for volunteerism but not adults?" They got personal too, with one student asking Mr Wong what sparked his interest in volunteerism.

The Straits Times National Youth Media Competition is a 24-hour challenge that is open to students between Sec 1 to 4 or of the equivalent grade. Previously called The Straits Times National Schools Newspaper Competition, the rebranded competition introduces multimedia elements for the first time. For the rest of the day, the participants - a total of ten teams of six - will have to film a news video, post online breaking news updates and design the front page of The Straits Times. The challenge ends at 9am on Wednesday.

Spicing up our lives

tabla! | Fri May 25 2012

NPS International School has started an initiative to create a school herb and spice garden. An empty piece of land in the school grounds is now home to chilli, Thai basil, laksa leaves, rosemary, curry leaves, lemongrass, bitter gourd, mint and okra. The garden is overseen by teachers, but primarily run by students who are a part of the newly-formed Green Club.

The primary responsibilities of the club are maintaining the garden, educating staff and students about environmental issues and implementing a recycling scheme at the school. The Green Club has already started composting waste to create nutritious fertiliser for the plants.

The mission of the NPS International Herb and Spice garden is threefold. The first aim is to create a garden that brings students together to learn about herbs and spices from all over the world. In the process, they can initiate and participate in activities that go well beyond the curriculum. Secondly, the garden aims to enhance the school environment and create awareness about how to care for Mother Earth and treat her properly. Thirdly, it creates an opportunity for students to try their hand at gardening and caring for plants and the environment as a whole.

New crops will be grown soon and the students will then use the produce to create exciting culinary dishes from around the world.

The garden has created a lot of interest across all grades and plans are afoot to sell the produce to staff and parents so more people can enjoy the organic produce grown in the grounds of NPSI.

Rajarshi Das, Class IB Year 2
Stories contributed to tabla! from NPS International School

Bindu Hari's Six Lessons for Parents

By Subroto Bagchi | Jan 15, 2011

Name: Bindu Hari

Profile: Educationist and entrepreneur

She believes
All children are gifted, some just open up later
One cannot be a teacher and a pessimist at the same time

K.P. Gopalakrishna of Bangalore is a living legend. In 1959, he started the National Public School (NPS) in Bangalore. Over the years, as NPS branched out, first in Bangalore and then overseas, its reputation grew. But it also came in for some criticism as Gopalakrishna focussed on churning out engineers and scientists. There was poor emphasis on liberal arts and extra-curricular activities; the school came to be known as a factory.

Then came the 1980s and a change of guard began. Bindu Hari, who started taking over, is a second generation educationist and entrepreneur, and is also Gopalakrishna's daughter. Today, the NPS institutions have an enrolment of over 10,000 students and employ a staff of 2,500. I want to know about Bindu's vision and seek her advice for parents. "A fundamental belief that underpins all we do at NPS is that all children are gifted, some just open their packages later," Bindu says. "Our vision has changed over the years.. Indian students in the 1980s possessed a strong work ethic and a sound foundation in mathematics and science; they demonstrated originality in thinking but lacked the ability to convincingly articulate their thoughts and ideas. To overcome this, the NPS vision, which was academic excellence in the 1970s and 1980s, evolved into academic excellence and holistic development of every child."

Today, the transition is in progress; NPS kids are becoming poets and playwrights, as much as great engineers and doctors. Bindu is in charge. In the year that she herself graduated from NPS, of the batch of 120 students, 119 became engineers and all 119 settled down abroad. Bindu studied to become a teacher and she decided that she would stay back. If she doesn't tell you that her doctoral work was on physical chemistry, you may think the 42-year-old studied English literature.

She is suave, articulate and optimistic. I try testing her with issues like the trivialisation of education in society. I get her into a dreary conversation on how the moral fabric of the nation is torn. She dutifully engages in the conversation, but also reminds me that one cannot be a teacher and a pessimist at the same time.

"So, what does it take to run a great educational institution where academic excellence and administrative acumen must co-exist?" I ask.

"It is about building a collective vision, a sense of purpose and the need for identity. It is about constant communication," she replies.

"Bindu, tell me about parenting. How we can be better parents to our own children?" I ask her.

She tells me about six key things every parent must know so that their child can become an effective CEO of his or her own life.

Like a dutiful tenth grader, I write my lessons down.

Lesson 1: A career consumes 70 percent of our waking hours and a youngster unhappy in his career, is unhappy in life. Parents must avoid thrusting their unfulfilled dreams and ambitions on their children. There are innumerable career options available to youngsters today. Parents should encourage youngsters to follow their dreams.

Lesson 2: All comparisons are odious. A 9th grade student when compared unfavourably to his sibling said to his father defiantly, "You are a VP in an IT company, you haven't accomplished much, just look at Bill Gates".

Lesson 3: Good parenting is about being a good role model. A child's reaction in the face of disappointment, adversity or frustration is often a reflection of a parent's mode of expression in similar situations. Anger or calmness, loss of courage or stoicism, temperance or annoyance, generosity or selfishness is learned behaviour modelled on parental behaviour.

Lesson 4: We heard a father say about his 14-year-old son "We are like strangers in the same house". Listen to your children for the first 10 years of their lives so they will listen to you for the next 10 years of their lives. The first decade is critical for building relationship with your child. Keep communication lines open with your teenager, no matter how poorly behaved your teenager is. Remember, your child has nowhere else to go, other than family.

Lesson 5: Parenting is not a popularity game. If you haven't said "no" to your child and denied your child a wish or two, then you are probably not doing a very good job as a parent. A parent who never denies a child anything is likely to have his child grow up with a sense of entitlement. Besides, child psychology has revealed that children who are able to postpone gratification are more likely to be successful in life.

Lesson 6: Helicopter parenting is a new phenomenon demonstrated by the overzealous, overprotective, overindulgent parents in nuclear families. Children need the space to make mistakes and time to grow. Tough love, clear behavioural expectations - boundaries, and holding the line - healthy neglect are recommended for children to take initiative, develop responsibility and competence in everyday skills.

I am absorbing her words. I am also thinking of what Peter Drucker would say about these six rules. That they equally apply to the task of raising a business in an age in which learning must be at the heart of the enterprise.

Speech by Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at the opening of NPS International Singapore

Singapore Government Media Release. 14th May, 2008

Your Excellency Dr S. Jaishankar, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore
Dr K P Gopalkrishna, Chairman of NPS
Dr Bindu G Hari, Dean of NPS
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good Evening

I am pleased to join you this evening at the Official Opening of the NPS International School in Singapore. The National Public School (NPS) is the flagship brand of a pioneering group of educational institutions headquartered in Bangalore. NPS has a strong track record of academic excellence accomplished over four decades, and we warmly welcome your presence here in Singapore.

NPS International Singapore commenced its academic activities in January this year. In less than six months, I understand that the school now has an enrolment of 212 students from Kindergarten to Grade 9. It is a tribute to the high standing NPS enjoys and the confidence that parents have in the quality education you provide. I just had a tour of the spacious campus which houses over 35 classrooms, and I am glad that another two blocks will soon be renovated under your Phase II expansion plans, and that the school has plans to extend its curriculum from Grades 1-12, as well as two early childhood Programmes.

Global Schoolhouse Vision
The decision by NPS to set up a school in Singapore is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is a further affirmation of our Global Schoolhouse Vision which envisions Singapore as a world-class education hub offering a distinctive range of quality education services. Secondly, it underscores the close and growing bilateral and economic ties between India and Singapore.

It has often been said that people are the most precious resource of any organisation or nation. It is a mantra that has even greater relevance in the context of the modern knowledge-based economy. In Singapore, we have internalised this accent on knowledge and skills in our policies and Programmes. Education, from pre-primary to tertiary, has always been a priority of the Singapore government and the sector accounts for a significant portion of our public spending. Private Educational Institutions and Foreign System Schools are an important complement to our public education system for they add to the variety and quality of our eco-system.

Our objective is to develop Singapore into a Global Schoolhouse, comprising a rich diversity of quality education institutions and Programmes at all levels from pre-school to post-graduate study, and attracting an interesting mix of students from all over the world. Today, more than 86 000 foreign students are pursuing an education in Singapore.

It is heartening to note that an increasing number of reputable foreign educational institutions are choosing to set up campuses in Singapore, bringing with them the wealth of their experience, the diversity of their curriculum and the strength of their institution building processes. With a growing community of expatriates in Singapore, there is a healthy demand for Foreign System School (FSS) places. Many schools, including NPS, have made their own assessment and decided to locate in Singapore to meet this demand. We welcome their addition to the quality and diversity of our education landscape.

Economic Ties with India
Indeed, with the growing number of Indian companies in Singapore, the demand for schools like NPS will remain high. Last year, there was a 27 per cent increase in the number of new Indian companies incorporated compared to 2006. Indian companies now form the 2nd-largest foreign contingent in Singapore with more than 3,200 registered companies spanning diverse industries, from IT services and education to logistics and manufacturing. As we continue to attract a healthy pipeline of investments from India, as well as other countries, the number of talented individuals coming to Singapore with their families will grow, and the demand for established institutions for their children's education will grow in tandem.

The decision by NPS International to establish a presence in Singapore is therefore timely. Together with the other two Indian international schools which have set up in Singapore - DPS International and Global India International School - NPS will offer an important educational choice for the growing Indian expatriate community in Singapore.

To many Indians, the home is where a child's character is moulded and values are imbibed. The school is an essential complement to this endeavour as it catalyses the fertile imagination of the young mind. I am confident that NPS, with its deep roots in Indian heritage and culture, will fulfil this role admirably as it has since its inception. On this note, let me end by wishing NPS and its management, faculty and students all the very best for the development of the school and its contribution to education in Singapore. Thank you.