- Providing tuition to primary school students
- Assisting in after-school care for children
- Befriending elderly residents
- Engaging in recreational activities for the elderly
For free. No obligation or hidden agenda involved, the objectives are strictly led by the heart. For funding purposes, donations, from pockets of the volunteers or supportive third parties, pay the bills.
The National Council of Social Services (NCSS) now wants to get a firmer grip on the VWOs. "We hope that in 10, 15 years .. we will groom a new generation of social service leaders," said the minister leading the charge. The scheme will involve social service scholarship holders, who will probably be stuck with the obligatory government bond. Each year 8 candidates are picked from NCSS scholarship holders or outstanding social service professionals for further training or seconded to the ministry, NCSS or other VWOs. Deployed to wherever the government sees fit. One senior social worker expressed doubt about the practicality of moving staff across different fields of work e.g. folks who enjoy working with young children may not have the skill set to deal with senior citizens. A scarier thought is that VWOs will lose their painstakingly recruited and altruistically nurtured volunteers to a central pool controlled by the NCSS.
VWOs funded by the ministry will be incentivized by getting more, and made to share the salary benchmarks in the sector. Before we forget, our public servants' pay are indexed to the top earners. Why do we get the feeling that the most expensive city in the world will be getting even pricier?
The worry is not just about VWOs being swamped by mercenary professionals, with all manner of KPIs tuned to the GDP goal. We have seen how the People's Association (PA) do gooders end up being politicized. Will the VWO vanguard be sharing the same fate?