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No education system can be better than the quality of its educators and its leaders. We have a good education system because we have good educators and strong leaders. To continue to raise the quality of our education, we must continue to recruit, train, and develop our educators, recognise their contributions and provide meaningful career paths for all.
I am therefore very pleased that 7,528 MOE officers have been promoted this year. They comprise 6,981 Education Officers, 301 Allied Educators (AED) and 246 Executive and Administrative Staff (EAS). My warmest congratulations to all of you.
To provide fulfilling careers for our educators, we have three tracks of development — teaching, specialist and leadership. I am glad that our educators continue to make meaningful progress in honing their craft, and a good number of officers across all three tracks have been promoted this year.
I am also very pleased that officers in our EAS and AED schemes are working well with our teachers to bring out the potential in our students. I would like to commend you for your contributions and congratulate those who have been promoted.Making “Every School, a Good School”
At the last Work Plan Seminar, I mentioned that a good school is one that delivers a student-centric, values-driven education, nurtures engaged learners, and fosters supportive partnerships with parents and the community.Holistic Education
Good schools develop our students holistically in content and skills, as well as imbue in them deep values and character so that they may live fulfilling lives. Good schools also cultivate in our students a sense of citizenship so that they can grow up into adults with a strong national identity who are committed to the well-being of our nation and society.
Schools and teachers play an instrumental role in the delivery of Character and Citizenship Education, and we are committed to supporting you in this journey. Dr Susanna Ho of the Student Development and Curriculum Division is one of the pioneers of our Outdoor Education unit. As a Senior Specialist, she supports schools and teachers in outdoor education by conceptualising activities that build up our students’ physical and mental ruggedness. These activities are paired with pedagogies which Susanna helps to develop that teach our students important values such as resilience, co-operation and personal responsibility.
To further support our teachers and build up our capabilities to deliver CCE, we will be training CCE teacher mentors in every school. In addition, to signal increased emphasis on students’ holistic development, we will support schools in forming Student Development Teams consisting of school leaders and Year Heads whose role will be to oversee all programmes and matters relating to the holistic development of students in the level.Caring Teachers and Education Partners
At the core of a good school are passionate and caring MOE educators who live out the vision of the Teaching Service — to lead, care and inspire.
Mr Morgan Zhou, a Head of Department at Anglo-Chinese School (Junior), is one such educator. Morgan had a student whose father passed away during the year. Morgan visited the family and rallied the class together to support the student. The student later shared that he was deeply indebted to Morgan for helping him get through that difficult period. In addition, Morgan personally leads the school’s Boys Brigade to distribute food to the needy in the community, thereby enabling them to see how, young as they may be, they can make a difference. This is an example of how our teachers lead, care and inspire, and demonstrate Values in Action.
Besides caring teachers, we also have many EAS and AED who care deeply for our students. One of them is Mdm Foo Huey Ying, Vice Principal (Administration) of Dazhong Primary. A firm believer of education as a social leveller, Huey Ying leads the school’s team of administrative staff in ensuring that financially-needy students have equal opportunities to a quality holistic education despite their financial limitations. Besides overseeing the management of the School-Based Financial Assistance Scheme, Huey Ying plays a key supporting role in the School Advisory Committee’s efforts to raise funds for financially-needy pupils. In addition, she leads a team of teachers and Allied Educators in planning the school’s partner engagement efforts, reaching out to involve and engage parents, and cultivating strong home-school partnerships.
I have used as examples the good work of Susanna, Morgan and Huey Ying to illustrate how our educators and staff are making a difference. But the strength of our system lies not in a few sporadic examples, but in the good work of all our staff, day-in, day-out, across all schools. All your good work testifies to this, and may I commend you all for your contributions. Your work is important because you are shaping the future of our nation.Working in Partnership with Parents
Besides caring educators and staff, supportive parents are crucial. We must build strong home-school partnerships.
Mutual trust, sincerity, understanding and respect are the foundation for building home-school partnerships. These take time and effort to build and maintain. With experience and training, we can get better at it.
Our HQ will continue to support schools in forming strong home-school partnerships. We will be coaching our teachers on how to better and more proactively engage parents. Experienced teachers will be developed to mentor their colleagues on parental engagement while schools will be guided in developing school-wide parent engagement action plans.People are Key
Over the years, we have invested much in developing our educators. Let me now touch on how we will further strengthen the professional and career development of our educators.Sustaining Strong Career Pathways — Education Officers
Firstly, we will be introducing more professional learning opportunities for our educators on the Teaching Track for Senior and Lead Teachers to have attachments at MOE HQ, including attachments to Master Teachers.
To enhance ownership of career development, in addition to the current practice of nomination by school leaders, starting from this year, officers keen on taking up higher appointments on the Teaching Track can apply for Principal Master Teacher and Master Teacher appointments.
To support our teachers in schools, Principal Master Teachers and Master Teachers will also do school attachments where they will role-model best practices and mentor other teachers.
Mrs Vimala Alexander, a Master Teacher with the English Language Institute of Singapore, is one of these teacher leaders who work closely with teachers in schools, guiding them in their work and professional development. At Serangoon Secondary, she collaborated with the teachers in developing a six-week oracy programme, guiding teachers in preparing lessons and resources. She is also currently partnering teachers in CHIJ Secondary (Toa Payoh) in a project on the teaching of listening skills.Sustaining Strong Career Pathways — Education Partners
For our Allied Educators, to support your passion to contribute and grow your professional careers with MOE, we have recently carried out a review of our Allied Educator scheme.
We have introduced a new Graduate track with enhanced progression opportunities for our Allied Educators (Learning and Behavioural Support). We are also lengthening the career pathway for our School Counsellors, formerly known as Allied Educators (Counselling), who can now look forward to contributing in senior appointments at the Cluster, Zonal or National level.
Similarly, for our Allied Educators (Teaching and Learning), good-performing officers will be given the opportunity to progress to the pinnacle appointment of Lead AED (T&L). On the other hand, we have introduced a more structured articulation process for those who aspire to become teachers.
I am also pleased that Mrs Florence Loo of Mayflower Primary is the first AED to be promoted to the grade of AED 10. Florence is a dedicated School Counsellor who never gives up on her students, even the most challenging of cases. For example, in 2007, a P1 student with anger management issues was referred to Florence. For 6 years, Florence collaborated with his teachers and family, guiding the student on ways to manage his temper outbursts and develop positive relationships with his peers and loved ones. He was also placed in the STAR (Stop, Think, Act, Reflect) Anger Management Programme which was designed and facilitated by Florence. Today, he is in a Secondary school of his choice and an active youth volunteer. I congratulate Florence on being promoted to the grade of AED 10 and her appointment as Lead School Counsellor.Conclusion
MOE will continually support our staff in this meaningful and challenging endeavour to make “Every School, A Good School”. To allow us to even better support you, we need to hear and understand you. Over the past 8 months, we have engaged a number of educators in the first phase of Our Singapore Conversation. I am heartened by your hopes and aspirations for Singapore’s future. As we move into the next phase of these conversations, we will carry out more in-depth discussions on education issues close to our hearts. I value your inputs and would like to invite all of you to continue weighing in with your views.
I am certain that with all your hard work and dedication, we will be able to achieve our vision of “Every School, a Good School”. Let me conclude by once again congratulating all officers who have been promoted. Keep up the excellent work!