Speech by Mr Heng Swee Keat at the Gala Dinner to Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Hwa Chong Institution (College Section)

Ministry Of Education Feed - 23 August 2014

It is a pleasure to join you in this evening’s celebrations. Set up in 1974, Hwa Chong JC was Singapore’s first government-aided junior college. Since then, Hwa Chong has nurtured generations of civic-minded citizens who have contributed with great distinction in industry, the community, and government. Tonight, I would like to take this opportunity not just to celebrate Hwa Chong’s achievements, but also outline how Hwa Chong can continue to contribute towards our vision for a better Singapore.

Excellence, Values, Inclusiveness

First, let me set the context. We live in times of more rapid, more fundamental, change than ever. Globalisation and technological breakthroughs will continue to transform the way we live, work, and play, but at an even faster pace. Singapore is also changing. We are evolving in our population age, our abilities, our aspirations. As a society, we continue to deepen our hopes for happiness, justice, equality, and progress for all, even as these become more challenging to achieve - not just for us but for many other developed nations.

Our education system has to prepare a future-ready generation of Singaporeans to navigate these changes. Our schools have an important role to play in this. With your distinguished history and spirit, Hwa Chong, can make an important contribution, in three main areas: excellence, values, and inclusiveness.

First, in the area of excellence, Hwa Chong must continue to be one of the “peaks of excellence” in our education system. This is to ensure that every student will have a pathway to develop his natural interests and talents, thereby maximising their potential to contribute to Singapore. I am glad that promoting excellence is one of Hwa Chong’s traditional strengths.

It pioneered a number of innovative programmes together with MOE to cater to the diverse talents of its students. These include the Humanities Programme and the Chinese Language Elective Programme, catering to students with an interest in the humanities and students with bilingual talents respectively. The two programmes are still going strong today.

Hwa Chong also pioneered the Integrated Programme (IP) which develops students in academic and non-academic areas. In the High School, students hone their research and communication skills in the Projects Competition and further their interests in the Sabbatical Programme. The skills of research, problem solving, and oral communication they hone in the first four years in HCI equip students with vital skills needed in the 21st century.

However, we need to continue to ensure that Hwa Chong’s excellence must also benefit the wider community of schools and students as well. Having benefited from strong MOE support to pilot new approaches in education, I encourage Hwa Chong, and indeed, all our schools that have excelled in their own ways, to share your best practices so that we can level up all our schools together. Our school leaders’ not only have a responsibility to achieve excellence in their own schools, but also a responsibility to uplift our entire education system.

Second, values. Our goal is to inculcate every student with a strong core of values and character, and nurture a strong commitment to Singapore and fellow Singaporeans. This will enable them to make sound decisions, and employ their talents for society’s collective good.

I am glad that community service is a key part of the Hwa Chong experience. The school has many meaningful Values-In-Action programmes and Service Learning Projects. These help to develop in students sound values and create a strong sense of the importance of service to others, helping them live up to the school’s vision of living with passion, and leading with compassion.

I am told that your canoeing team held a “24-hour Static Kayaking Challenge” that involved 400 students from 11 secondary schools and junior colleges, and raised $25,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association Singapore. Peter Daniel, former Vice Captain of the Canoeing team and a recent graduate from Hwa Chong shared what he learnt: “There is no set formula for community service. One should use whatever talents one has been given to help others.” To continue making a lasting difference in the lives of the MDAS members after the event, Peter continues to volunteer with MDAS, where he tutors its members. I hope our students will take such experiences from their days in school, and carry them forward into their working and personal lives, leaving a mark on the lives of others.

Third, inclusiveness. Our schools are important platforms for us to level up Singaporeans who start off from less advantaged backgrounds, so that every child can have the opportunity to fulfil his potential. In particular, established institutions like Hwa Chong cannot become “closed circles”. Every child should enjoy all the available opportunities to fulfil his or her potential. At the same time, our academically able students have to be exposed to diverse backgrounds to build empathy and understanding. This is essential if we are to build a compassionate meritocracy that rewards effort and talent regardless of social background, while guarding against elitism and exclusiveness.

The Government has enhanced the Independent School Bursary Scheme to provide greater assistance to students from lower to middle income families, and help ensure that Independent Schools like HCI continue to be affordable for all. However, this is only part of the picture. Independent schools can do a lot to encourage inclusiveness.

It is good that Hwa Chong Institution works with primary school principals to encourage talented Primary 5 and 6 children to join the Hwa Chong IP, regardless of their financial background. Hwa Chong also invited the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) to nominate primary school children from lower-income families to participate in its Junior Science Experiential Camp. Let us continue to reach out to children from diverse backgrounds.

\Beyond inclusiveness in admissions and programming, Hwa Chong’s commitment to admitting and educating good students regardless of their background is a good example of our meritocratic system, which has served Singapore well over the years. Your alumnus Arturo Neo has a challenging financial situation at home, but thrived in the nurturing learning environment and opportunities provided by Hwa Chong. As the President of the Students’ Council, he improved students’ welfare, and sought to positively impact the lives of others. He excelled in the 2013 A-Level Examinations and was recently awarded the President’s Scholarship. I met Arturo and his family and I could see the mark of the Hwa Chong education in him. He wants to be a doctor to serve others. It is an example of how we create a virtuous cycle - that we provide opportunities for everyone, groom our students to be the best they can be, with the right values and the strong commitment to serve. This is how we keep Singapore successful. And the school motto - 自强不息 (ceaseless quest for excellence) put into practice, is what we hope to continue seeing.

As Hwa Chong continues to build on its excellence and create an inclusive environment for every child despite of their backgrounds and circumstances, nurture every student so that they are anchored with timeless values that help guide their thoughts and actions, we must also be mindful that the future will bring more changes and challenges ahead, for which we need to prepare our students. We equip students with competencies to succeed in the 21st Century. But we also need to help them reflect more on issues that will affect their lives, so they may respond with confidence to them. Our students need to understand critical challenges that will affect them, and this must start with a good knowledge of current affairs. I hope that Hwa Chong and our schools can guide students towards a deep understanding of issues of the day affecting Singapore and the world, and a good place to start is to read our local newspapers and watch our local news, so that they know what is happening right here in Singapore and our region.

Hwa Chong’s Educators

Let me conclude by reiterating two key strengths that enable our schools and indeed, our education system, to succeed. The first is the constancy of purpose and continuity of effort. We see this in the way our principals have conducted themselves over the years - with each building on the good work of the predecessor. The founding principal Mr Lim Nai Tian worked tirelessly through the JC’s delayed completion of Hwa Chong JC and multiple relocations. Mr Bernard Fong left a considerable imprint on Hwa Chong’s history. When the Hwa Chong JC campus was declared structurally unsound in 1987, he led the staff and students in the moves to temporary locations at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic, in Woodlands and finally in Bukit Batok. These were emotional times, but Mr Fong’s calm demeanour and cheerful disposition steered the Hwa Chong family through them, and laid the foundation for a triumphant return to the Bukit Timah campus in December 1991.

Mr Ang Wee Hiong was Principal of Hwa Chong JC from 1999 to 2004 and Principal of HCI from 2005 to 2009. As Hwa Chong JC’s longest-serving principal, he oversaw two milestones: the Independence of the JC in 2004 and its subsequent merger with The Chinese High School in 2005. I am glad that the students are now undergoing an integrated experience. This could not happen without the close coordination of Chinese High and Hwa Chong JC, or the guidance of alumni from both sides. With the commitment and inclusive spirit of school leaders and alumni, the young benefit. Indeed, the success of a school is built upon its leadership. And Hwa Chong has benefitted from the strong guidance and direction provided also by Mr Wu Tsung Kan, the late Mr Lim Kim Woon, Mr Chan Tung Fung and Mdm Leong Fan Chin over the years. We are very glad that Mdm Leong is able to join us today. Today, Dr Hon Chew Weng continues to build on this foundation, to take Hwa Chong to greater heights.

We should also pay tribute to Hwa Chong’s pioneer teachers. Some are still teaching in Hwa Chong today, such as Mrs Lee Chay Koon, Mrs Tam Beng Beng and Miss Quek Hoon Khim. They have great devotion to their craft, and continue to pass on Hwa Chong’s time-honoured values to their charges.

Hwa Chong’s Alumni

The other strength is Hwa Chong’s alumni and your tradition of giving back. Generations of Hwa Chongians have benefitted from the generosity of alumni and philanthropists, such that no deserving student is denied a Hwa Chong education. With the support of the JC Alumni, the Hwa Chong Junior College Alumni Bursary Fund has risen from $20,000 to more than $50,000 annually.

Amongst you, Mr William Ng, the executive director of Furama Hotels International and Patron of the Hwa Chong JC Alumni, donated $200,000 to set up the Hwa Chong Junior College Alumni Undergraduate Scholarship. He also shares his experiences in hospitality with the students. Apart from physical and monetary gifts, many of you give of your time to mentor your juniors. Alumna Dr Loh Poey Ling, dentist and a member of the Hwa Chong Institution Board of Governors, advises students on dentistry as a career. I hope that the Alumni will remain forthcoming in your contributions to serve the school and illuminate diverse pathways for your juniors.

As we celebrate this special occasion, we are also celebrating the spirit of pursuing excellence, promoting values and expanding inclusiveness. And we are building on the strengths of the leaders and staff of the school, and the support of alumni. Congratulations to the Board of Directors and Board of Governors, school leaders, teachers, students, alumni and parents on this special occasion. May the Hwa Chong spirit live on.

Thank you.

2015 Primary School Mother Tongue Languages Curriculum to Help Students Become Active Learners, Proficient Users

Ministry Of Education Feed - 23 August 2014

The 2015 Primary School Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) curriculum will be phased in to schools starting from the Primary 1 level in 2015 and progressively to the Primary 6 level in 2020. The 2015 Primary School MTL curriculum aims to develop students as proficient language users who can communicate in a confident and effective way. This builds on the current curriculum and is aligned with the recommendations of the 2010 MTL Review Committee.

Recognising that many real-life situations require spontaneous two-way communication, the 2015 Primary School MTL curriculum will place greater emphasis on spoken and written interaction skills. The 2015 curriculum will have a greater focus on authentic activities to better develop our students’ communication skills. It will also continue to expose students to culture and values through MTL learning.

A set of story characters will feature in each of the MTL textbooks, big books, as well as information and communications (ICT) resources. The story characters will be set in real-life situations to better engage students in their learning of MTL. The learning objectives of each lesson will also be brought out through the story characters.

There will also be a greater use of information and communication technology (ICT) to enhance the teaching and learning of MTL. ICT resources such as videos, animations, digital interactive games will continue to be developed to support the curriculum in engaging our students to learn MTL in a fun and purposeful way.

The names of the 2015 Primary MTL textbooks are as follows:

Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Name of MTL Textbook Chinese Language 欢乐伙伴
Huan Le Huo Ban Malay Language Cekap Tamil Language தேன் தமிழ்
Theen Thamizh

Speech by Ms Sim Ann at the 3rd Mother Tongue Languages Symposium

Ministry Of Education Feed - 23 August 2014

Good morning. 早安。Selamat pagi. Vanakkam.

It is my pleasure to open the 3rd Mother Tongue Languages Symposium and welcome you to the Outstanding Pre-School Mother Tongue Language Teacher Award Presentation.

The Journey Thus Far

The MTL Symposium has entered its third year. We started it with the aim of creating a special day for supporters of our mother tongue languages - be they educators, parents, community stakeholders or academics - to come together, share ideas and update each other on developments in teaching and learning in schools and pre-schools. The purpose: to help our children enjoy learning their mother tongue languages.

This year’s Symposium is bigger and better than last year’s, thanks to encouraging feedback from participants like yourselves. We have more exhibitors and more sharing sessions and workshops this year, showcasing a wider range of innovative teaching approaches.

We have also introduced a new element this year - a stream of performances from special folks we call “Friends of MTL Fortnight”. They are made up of groups and organisations who have been partnering schools for the Mother Tongue Language exposure programme known as the MTL Fortnight, which every school organises. Our schoolchildren have been benefiting from these programmes, but parents seldom get a chance to experience them. We have invited them here today, and we hope that their performances and sharing can inspire parents to reinforce the exposure to MTLs at home.

Last year, we found that many participants lingered on at the showcases and stalls well after the official closing time of 5pm. So, this year, the Symposium will be a longer event - we will stay open till 8pm.

Efforts by Schools to Enrich and Enthuse

Our schools have continued to think up and implement innovative ideas for teaching the Mother Tongue Languages. An example is West Spring Primary with their “Purposeful Learning Activity for Young”, also known as the “PLAY” approach, which is extensively used for the building of listening and oral skills. Activities such as Physical Play, Dramatic Play, ICT Play and Object Play are incorporated into learning, allowing students to use Chinese language in an authentic setting that is fun yet challenging.

St. Anthony’s Canossian Primary School organises thematic school-based MTL Fortnight activities to enhance students’ appreciation for the Malay language and culture. Activities such as food tasting, playing traditional games and wearing traditional costumes help students to enjoy the learning of their language and culture.

In Admiralty Primary School, drama is used to enhance students’ spoken Tamil. Teachers ensure that students with different learning needs will benefit from the Drama Programme. Most importantly, students gain confidence in speaking the language and learn to express themselves more fluently through dramatisation.

Support from the Community

All this is complemented by efforts from the various community groups to provide opportunities for students to use their Mother Tongue Languages beyond the classroom.

The three committees to promote Mother Tongue Languages have rallied various stakeholders to this end. The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning has several signature programmes, such as the Cultural Performance Exposure Scheme, Author-in-Residence Programme and Literary Forums - Literature Under the April Sky.

The Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee also drives a number of signature initiatives. The Pesta Pantun has been a major annual event to promote poetry in schools. The Perkampungan Bahasa, a language residential camp for secondary school students, provides an immersive environment for them to learn and use the Malay Language. Penglipur Lara benefits primary school students with its workshop and storytelling competition, nurturing them to be creative and confident speakers.

The Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee has introduced various platforms to engage students and nurture their love for Tamil Language. For instance, Edugai, a well-received song writing programme, provides a platform for students to immerse themselves in song-writing and music composition. Another notable initiative is the Theatre Workshop, which aims to promote spoken Tamil among secondary school students. A short-film making workshop and competition organised by the committee engages students through new media.

The setting up of the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism in recent years has boosted our efforts in promoting bilingualism. For a start, the Fund is focusing at the pre-school level to nurture a love for bilingual learning in our children from young. The Fund has sponsored several projects, including the development of picture books, songs, digital stories, language games and other publications for young children set in the local context. These would augment the pool of locally available resources for pre-school children.

The efforts by the community groups and organisations, together with the hard work of our schools, create a conducive and vibrant environment for our children. The positive impact of the collective effort is reflected well in the following Malay pantun.

Jikalau tuan mengangkat peti,
Tolong masukkan segala barang;
Jikalau kita bersatu hati,
Kerja yang susah menjadi senang 1

My hope is for our parents to complete the picture by actively tapping into the available resources and providing support to their children in the learning of Mother Tongue Languages. Parents play a vital role in helping their children develop a positive attitude towards the learning of languages, and in reinforcing the benefits reaped from the efforts of schools and community groups. Just as the Tamil saying goes, “Oor koodi theer elukka veendum”, meaning, ‘it takes many people to pull the chariot”, each and every one of us has a role to play in transmitting the love for our Mother Tongue Languages to the next generation.

2015 Primary MTL Curriculum

We are constantly mindful of the need to ensure that our Mother Tongue curriculum stays effective and relevant to changing needs.

In line with recommendations by the 2010 MTL Review Committee, MOE will be introducing the 2015 Primary MTL Curriculum, starting from Primary 1 next year and progressively to all subsequent levels. Since the review in 2010, there have been ongoing efforts to update the MTL curriculum. One of them is the introduction of the Interaction Package in 2011, which contains teaching resources and a guide for teachers to facilitate students’ interaction skills through various activities in class. The iMTL Portal was also introduced in 2013, providing an interactive ICT platform for students, further leveraging technology to engage students in the learning of Mother Tongue Languages.

These progressive enhancements have been incorporated into the 2015 Primary MTL curriculum. The curriculum aims to develop students into proficient language users who can communicate confidently and effectively in real-life situations. There will be a greater focus on authentic activities to strengthen our students’ communication skills. The curriculum will also encourage language use in its various forms, while continuing to expose students to the rich culture and values embedded in the language.

One of the features of this curriculum will be the introduction of a set of story characters that are of similar age as our students. These characters will appear in the stories of the big books and in the related animation. The stories will be set in real-life contexts and students will be able to relate well to the characters’ experiences, as these characters will ‘grow’ with the students. These characters will also help to highlight the learning objectives for each lesson and be role models in the use of the language.

This curriculum will also see a greater leverage on the use of ICT to enhance the teaching and learning of Mother Tongue Languages. ICT resources such as videos, animations and digital interactive games will continue to be developed to make the learning of MTL fun and meaningful.

The 2015 Primary MTL Curriculum builds on the strong foundation of the current curriculum. It will continue to be guided by students’ developmental progression in language acquisition, such as by beginning with the development of their oral skills. Differentiated pedagogical approaches have also been weaved into the design of the curriculum to cater to students with different starting points and language ability.

We hope that this curriculum will enable our students to build a good foundation in their Mother Tongue Languages and develop confidence in using these languages in their daily lives. It is also important that we help our students nurture their interest for lifelong learning. This positive attitude of continuous learning is very aptly encapsulated by the Chinese saying “活到老,学到老”, meaning one should continue to learn regardless of age.

Tribute to Outstanding Pre-School MTL Teachers

Efforts to encourage bilingualism in pre-schools will enable our children to build a strong foundation for language learning when they enter primary school. Our pre-school teachers are key in this effort. This morning, we honour teachers who have been exemplary in their work with the Outstanding Pre-school Mother Tongue Language Teacher Award. The Award is organised by the three committees to promote Mother Tongue Languages and is supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism.

I congratulate the 15 Outstanding and Merit Award recipients. They inspire us with their passion in helping children to build a good foundation in learning the Mother Tongue Languages from young, using a variety of pedagogical approaches. May you continue to nurture more youngsters and help them become motivated learners and confident users of their Mother Tongue Languages.


On this note, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the parties that are involved in making this symposium possible. They are the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning, Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee, Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee, Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, Bicultural Taskforce, Early Childhood Development Agency and Singapore Press Holdings - Lianhe Zaobao student publications.

I wish everyone a fruitful and memorable day.

Thank you. 谢谢。Terima kasih. Nandri.

  1. The Pantun is translated as follows:
    Should we carry a chest,
    Fill it up with as many things;
    Should we unite as one,
    Challenging tasks will become effortless.

15 Pre-School Teachers Recognised for Their Passion in Nurturing a Love for Language Learning Among Young Children

Ministry Of Education Feed - 22 August 2014
Outstanding Pre-School Mother Tongue Language Teacher Award 2014

This year, five teachers will receive the Outstanding Pre-school Mother Tongue Language (MTL) Teacher Award 1. The awards will be presented by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Communications and Information, at the 3rd Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) Symposium on Saturday, 23 August 2014. Another 10 pre-school teachers will receive the merit award. The list of award recipients can be found in Annex.

The award, jointly presented by the committees 2 to promote MTLs, and supported by the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, recognises pre-school teachers for their passion in making the learning of MTLs interesting and in nurturing a love for languages among pre-school children.

The 15 award recipients were selected from a total of 110 nominations. The selection panel consisted of nine experienced pre-school educators and academics. The panel members conducted on-site lesson observations and the teachers also presented their lesson plans and training videos to the panel members during interviews.

3rd Mother Tongue Languages (MTL) Symposium

Into its third year this year, the MTL Symposium brings together Singapore schools and the community to share our collective efforts in promoting MTL through creative and engaging programmes. The MTL Symposium, jointly organised by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the committees to promote MTLs, will be held at the Suntec Singapore Exhibition and Convention Centre, from 11:00am to 8:00pm on Saturday, 23 August 2014.

This year’s theme, “Flourish in the Wonderland of Our Languages”, underscores the importance of schools, community and parents working together to provide a supportive and vibrant language environment in helping children develop their MTL proficiency. It will also provide a platform for the exchange of ideas among educators and parents on children’s learning of their MTL.

Besides 12 sharing sessions and workshops, there will also be 40 exhibition booths set up by pre-school centres, schools and various partners, showcasing innovative teaching methods and community programmes that help to nurture children as active learners and proficient users of their MTL. A list of activities and exhibitions at the MTL Symposium can be found at Admission is free.

  1. The Outstanding Pre-school Chinese Language Teacher Award was first introduced in 2009 by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning. From 2013, the award has been renamed the Outstanding Pre-school Mother Tongue Language Teacher Award to recognise the contributions of all MTL teachers.
  2. The committees comprise the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning, the Malay Language Learning and Promotion Committee, and the Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee.

Speech (in Malay) by Mr Hawazi Daipi at the Soliloquy Competition 2014

Ministry Of Education Feed - 22 August 2014

Saya berasa gembira sekali dapat bersama-sama guru-guru dan pelajar sekalian dalam Peraduan Soliloquy anjuran Perkumpulan Seni pada petang Jumaat ini.

‘Soliloquy’, perkataan yang berasal daripada bahasa Latin ‘Solus’ yang bermaksud ‘sendiri’ dan ‘loqui’ yang bermaksud ‘bercakap’ sebenarnya ialah ucapan yang dilakukan oleh seseorang itu kepada dirinya sendiri. Dalam pementasan drama atau sketsa, watak dalam drama tersebut akan bercakap sendiri apa yang difikirkannya.

Manfaat Menyertai Peraduan Soliloquy

Dengan itu, peraduan Soliloquy ini memberi para peserta peluang untuk menyampaikan fikiran mereka dalam bahasa Melayu yang baik - baik dari sudut pemilihan kata, pembinaan ayat, baik sebutannya dan baik dari sudut penyampaian secara lisan. Dengan kata lain, soliloquy melatih peserta bertutur dengan berkesan. Dengan itu, seseorang itu dapat berkomunikasi dengan baik, satu daripada kemahiran yang penting sekali dalam abad ke-21 ini.

Latar Belakang Penganjuran Peraduan Soliloquy

Pertandingan Soliloquy yang keempat ini merupakan acara tahunan Perkumpulan Seni sempena sambutan Bulan Bahasa 2014. Dengan berkerjasama dengan Sekolah Menengah Yusof Ishak dan sokongan dana Jawatankuasa Pembelajaran dan Penggalakan Penggunaan Bahasa Melayu, MLLPC, peraduan ini menyediakan platform kepada para pelajar untuk mempamerkan kebolehan mereka bertutur dengan fasih. Syabas saya ucapkan kerana usaha yang baik untuk melestarikan bahasa Melayu.

Sebentar tadi, kita bukan sahaja disajikan dengan bakat lakonan 16 peserta dari peringkat sekolah rendah dan menengah, malah kita telah melihat kefasihan mereka berbahasa Melayu dengan berkesan.

Peluang Untuk Mempraktikkan Pelajaran Bahasa Melayu

Para pelajar sekalian, rebutlah peluang yang terdapat untuk mempraktikkan apa yang dipelajari dalam kelas Bahasa Melayu. Sertailah kegiatan-kegiatan bahasa Melayu yang dianjurkan untuk para pelajar sekalian - sama ada di balai-balai rakyat atau kelab-kelab masyarakat, perpustakaan negara (NLB), akhbar, internet atau apa sahaja yang dapat menjadikan bahasa Melayu yang dipelajari itu bahasa hidup, yang digunakan dalam kehidupan kita. Sertailah kegiatan-kegiatan sempena Bulan Bahasa 2014 seperti peraduan Soliloquy ini.

Penguasaan bahasa Melayu kita akan hanya menjadi lebih baik sekiranya kita kerap menggunakannya dalam kehidupan seharian. Manfaatkanlah segala peluang yang ada untuk menggunakan bahasa Melayu dengan rakan-rakan, ibu bapa, datuk nenek dan saudara mara apabila bertemu dalam kunjungan Hari Raya (kita masih dalam bulan Syawal, ya), majlis perkahwinan atau kenduri-kendara.


Sebelum saya mengakhiri ucapan saya, tahniah saya ucapkan kepada para pemenang dan kepada peserta yang tidak berjaya kali ini, saya pasti, pengalaman yang diraih amat bernilai sekali. Cuba lagi tahun hadapan.

Sejambak kasih, sekalung budi saya ucapkan kepada seluruh jentera penggerak Perkumpulan Seni serta para guru Sekolah Menengah Yusof Ishak atas kejayaan menganjurkan majlis pada hari ini.

Bagi saya, usaha PS ini mencerminkan kesungguhannya dalam memainkan peranan memartabatkan bahasa agar ia tidak hilang ditelan arus pembangunan melalui kegiatan yang dapat meningkatkan keupayaan para pelajar menggunakan bahasa ibundanya dengan berkesan dan yakin. Saya yakin ada banyak lagi peluang bagi PS dan sekolah-sekolah kita bekerjasama untuk memperluas peluang bagi pelajar dan ibu bapa menggunakan bahasa ibunda kita serta mengamalkan budi pekerti dan budaya kita.

Akhir kata, kepada para pelajar sekalian, cintailah bahasa kita, jagalah adab dan tutur kata kita dengan orang di sekeliling kita, tidak kira kepada yang tua atau yang muda.

Kapal Pinisi berisi padat,
Dari Makasar langsung ke Deli;
Hidup kita biarlah beradat,
Bahasa tidak dijual beli.

Sekian, terima kasih.

Latest Waiver Move Could Weaken Key Obama Priority - Education Week

The Education Department will let states with NCLB waivers seek a delay in tying student test scores to teacher evaluations until the 2015-16 school year.

Singapore Team Ranked 1st at the 11th International Geography Olympiad

Ministry Of Education Feed - 21 August 2014

The Ministry of Education (MOE) congratulates our students for their excellent performance at the 11th International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) held in Krakow, Poland, from 12 to 18 August 2014.

The Singapore team obtained 2 Gold medals, 1 Silver medal and 1 Bronze medal. This placed Singapore 1st in a field of 144 students from 36 countries. This is the fourth year that Singapore is taking part in the competition.

The Gold medalists are Lim Wei Chong Timothy and Joshua Chin Zen Jie from Raffles Institution. The Silver medalist is Wilson Chua Wei Cheng from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science, and the Bronze medalist is Tan Yi Ying from Hwa Chong Institution. For the fieldwork test this year, students explored the historic Błonia Park in central Krakow and proposed strategies for the preservation of green spaces in urban areas.

The Singapore delegation was led by Mr Benjamin Yuan and Ms Tay Hui Peng, Curriculum Planning Officers from MOE.

A Joint Effort

Our students’ participation in the International Geography Olympiad is a joint effort between MOE and the following organisations:

  • Department of Geography, National University of Singapore;
  • National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University; and
  • Geography Teachers’ Association of Singapore.

Members of the Singapore team were selected from participants of the National University of Singapore Geography Challenge 2013 and National Geography Talent Development Programme (TDP). The TDP is designed to nurture students’ passion in Geography and deepen their knowledge of the subject. The TDP is supported by the abovementioned organisations.

Background on iGeo

The International Geography Olympiad (iGeo) brings together outstanding 16 to 19 year old Geography students from around the world, challenging and stimulating their minds in the spirit of competition. iGeo is organised annually by the International Geographical Union (IGU). The IGU was established in 1922 and represents the interests of geographers from 104 countries including Singapore. The IGU facilitates the participation of geographers in the global community of scientists through its affiliation to the International Council for Science (ICSU) and International Social Science Council (ISSC). Students are required to demonstrate a good mastery of a wide range of physical and human geography topics. They also need to apply geographical knowledge and skills to solve problems in unfamiliar contexts.

Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah at the Ministry of Education’s Special Awards Presentation Ceremony

Ministry Of Education Feed - 19 August 2014

I am happy to be here today to celebrate the achievements of all of you, the recipients of the 2014 Special Awards. Your achievements reflect the many areas in which you have strived and succeeded; your outstanding service to the community; and exceptional perseverance in the pursuit of self-improvement. My congratulations again to all the award recipients, and to friends, family members and teachers who have supported them.

There are now multiple educational pathways catering to students with different strengths and aspirations. In the work of the Applied Study in the Polytechnics and ITE Review Committee, which I chair, a key focus has been how to help our students realise their potential by identifying and developing their strengths and interests, and to work with our institutions and industries to help them upgrade their skills and learn for life. I would like to highlight three recipients who embody tenacity and strength of character. Provided with opportunities and support from their respective institutions, they stand here today as proud recipients of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading.

The first is Alvin Chew Bing Liang. He enrolled in a Diploma in Biomedical Science certain that he wanted to be a researcher. He went on to complete a one-year internship linked final year project at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School where he did exceptionally well deciphering the relationship between cholesterol levels of patients and dengue infection. Throughout his time at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, he also found time to organise and serve the community, took part in adventure races such as Pinnacle 2009, and co-founded Science Fusion, a science club to encourage interest in science among Ngee Ann Polytechnic and secondary school students.

Then there is Muhammad Asyraf Bin Chumino, an example of those who had to overcome great odds. At 10, he dropped out of school to care for his mother, who fell into depression after his father passed away. As he had fallen behind his peers, he completed a two-year programme at Mendaki before enrolling at NorthLight School, where he excelled and topped his cohort in 2011. He continued to be diligent in ITE, and also worked part-time to support his family. He confessed that he thought of giving up as his work usually ended after midnight, and he was often tired and late for class. With the help of his lecturers and taking into consideration how far he had come, he pressed on. His mother is his main motivation to do the best he can in whatever he does. Today, no one is prouder of Asyraf than his mother, and we congratulate both of them.

Another recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading is Hung Chung-Yuan, who came to Singapore from Taiwan when he was 18. He had to overcome the initial language barrier but fortunately, he met a group of friends who taught him English. Being mostly ITE graduates, they inspired Chung-Yuan to enrol at ITE after completing his National Service. There, he excelled in Electronics Engineering, having participated in and winning at various international competitions such as the APEC Micromouse Contest held in the United States. He considers his father his role model and is en route to achieving his goal of being an Electronics Engineer in the aviation industry. Chung-Yuan is currently pursuing a Diploma in Aerospace Electronics at Singapore Polytechnic. We hope more individuals will have the chance to explore what motivates them and build careers in their areas of passion.

As you embark on your further studies, do not forget that learning happens on the job and throughout one’s lifetime. Take time to discover your passions and strengths, choose a career that allows you to harness these qualities, and continue to deepen your skills through work and continuing education later on.

I hope you will always continue to have the passion, commitment and resilience to pursue your dreams. Let me congratulate all of you once again, and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.

Welcome Address by Ms Ho Peng at the Special Awards Presentation Ceremony

Ministry Of Education Feed - 19 August 2014

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 2014 Special Awards Presentation Ceremony. I would like to congratulate all the award recipients and commend schools and parents for the important role they play in nurturing them. Today, we are privileged to have with us Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education to grace the ceremony. Thank you, Ms Indranee.

Altogether, 9 categories of awards will be given to 108 recipients this year. Let me touch on each in turn.

First, the Prime Minister’s Book Prize, first presented in 1974, recognises students who are proficient in both English and their Mother Tongue, and who possess commendable personal qualities. This year 34 students will receive the award.

Teo Min Ru is one such recipient. She credits her bilingualism to her parents, who have encouraged her to read widely in both languages. She cites Nobel Laureate, Mo Yan, as a personal favourite as she enjoys how he effortlessly weaves complex themes into his narratives. She also finds time to volunteer regularly at the Pertapis Home. She aspires to enter the public service as she sees it as an important means to serving the people. Min Ru is truly an inspiration for her peers.

The second category of awards is the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science which was introduced in 1992. This award recognises students who have gone beyond outstanding academic achievements to excel at significant national and international Mathematics and Science competitions. In all, 39 students will receive the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science this year. Of the awardees, Lim Jeck distinguishes herself by consistently excelling in and demonstrating passion for Physics and Mathematics.

Next, we commend the efforts and achievements of a group of students who have been outstanding in their perseverance in pursuing their educational goals. Ten students will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students this year: 5 each from the Normal (Academic) course and the Normal (Technical) course.

One of the awardees, Tay Jing Han has struggled with diabetes from a young age. However, he did not succumb to self-pity and continues to serve as an inspiring role model for his peers. He is actively engaged in community projects that serve the elderly, and also tutors his juniors at Jurong Secondary School. Today, he is enrolled in Business Administration in Singapore Polytechnic and he aspires to be an entrepreneur in the near future, producing sports shoes meant for fellow diabetic patients.

At the tertiary level, 15 deserving graduates from the Institutes of Technical Education who are pursuing full-time studies at the polytechnics and 10 deserving graduates from the polytechnics who are pursuing full-time undergraduate studies at the universities will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading.

Six winners of the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading will receive the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize. This book prize is made possible through a donation from the former Minister Mentor, Lee Kuan Yew, who received an honorarium for delivering the inaugural Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Memorial Lecture in Brunei in 2009. These 6 top students have excelled in their studies at the Institutes of Technical Education and have gained entry to the Polytechnics to pursue courses of their choice.

Of these students, Lau Tuck Wei, Jeremy, distinguishes himself as a triple award winner and will be receiving the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement, the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading and the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize. Congratulations, Jeremy.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-round Achievement (LHL-OAA), funded from an endowment made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009, is given to post-secondary school students who have proven themselves in both academic and non-academic fields. The award is given out to four winners, one from each of the following categories of post-secondary institutions: Junior Colleges/Centralised Institute, Institutes of Technical Education, Polytechnics and the Autonomous Universities.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students is made possible through an additional donation made by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. This is the first year we are awarding one student enrolled in the Regional Studies Programme. This programme provides students the opportunity to learn about the culture and contemporary society of Southeast Asia. This is in addition to the awards presented to three students enrolled in the Bicultural Studies Programme. Winners of these awards possess knowledge of more than one language and a strong passion for biculturalism.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement is given to two best performing students from the specialised schools. These students have a passion for learning and display a strong sense of determination to succeed. Dhavanisha Siva from NorthLight School is one such recipient. Coming from a single-parent family, Nisha is exceptionally close to her mother and grandmother, whom she felt she let down when she did not manage to pass Mathematics at PSLE. However, she was able to pick herself up as she quickly found support and care in NorthLight School. She also regularly volunteers at Club Rainbow. Nisha is currently pursuing Beauty and Wellness at ITE College East, and she is determined to excel in her course and progress to the Polytechnic.

The final award is the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence. This is a pinnacle award given to well-rounded secondary school students across the various courses that have performed exceptionally well and made significant contributions to their school and community. Eight students who have completed secondary education in the different courses will be presented with the award this year.

Once again I extend my heartiest congratulations to the awardees, their schools and their parents. It is now my pleasure to invite our Guest-of-Honour to address us.

Ms Indranee, please.

122 Students Received Special Awards for their Achievements

Ministry Of Education Feed - 19 August 2014

A total of 122 students received this year’s Special Awards from Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of Law and Ministry of Education, at the 2014 Special Awards Presentation Ceremony today.

The annual Special Awards recognise students’ achievements in both the academic and non-academic spheres. There are nine categories of Awards, consisting of the Prime Minister’s Book Prize, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence, the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement, the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students, the Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students, the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading, the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement, and the Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize.

The Prime Minister’s Book Prize (PMBP)

The Prime Minister’s Book Prize, established in 1974, is an annual award for bilingualism given at the Primary, Secondary and Pre-University levels. This year, 34 students received the Prime Minister’s Book Prize - 12 in the Primary section, 16 in the Secondary section and six in the Pre-University section. The names of the awardees are in Annex A.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students (LHL-OBS)

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding Bicultural Students (LHL-OBS) is an award set up in 2009 to recognise the top students in the Bicultural Studies Programme (Chinese) [BSP(C)] and the top student in the Regional Studies Programme (RSP). The award underpins the importance of developing a group of students conversant in Chinese or Malay, and able to relate to Asia andthe world. This year, three students from the BSP(C) and one student from the RSP received the LHL-OBS. This is the first year in which the award is presented to the most outstanding RSP student.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Mathematics and Science (LKY-M & S)

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for excellence in Mathematics and Science was introduced in 1992. The awards are given under three categories - Secondary, Pre-University and Polytechnic. 39 students received the award this year - 14 in the secondary category, 10 in the Pre-University category and 15 in the Polytechnic category. The names of the awardees are in Annex C.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students (LKY-ONC Award)

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for Outstanding Normal Course Students was presented for the first time in 2004. This year, five awards were presented to top Normal (Academic) course students and five awards were given to the top Normal (Technical) students, based on their GCE ‘O’ level and ‘N’ level examination results respectively. The names of the awardees are in Annex D.

The Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize (SHOAS Book Prize)

The Sultan Haji Omar Ali Saifuddien Book Prize was made possible by Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who donated the honorarium he had received from the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation in February 2009. This award was presented for the first time in 2009 and aims to recognise the Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award) recipients who have achieved the most outstanding academic results at ITE. This year, six students received the award. The names of the awardees are in Annex E.

The Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award)

The Lee Kuan Yew Scholarship to Encourage Upgrading (LKY-STEP Award) was presented for the first time in 2001. This award was made possible by Mr Lee Kuan Yew who donated the proceeds from the sales of autographed editions of Volume Two of his memoirs to the Ministry of Education in October 2000. The scholarship is to encourage upgrading and life-long learning. Selection for this award is based on merit. The award is presented to Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnic graduates who have performed outstandingly both academically and in co-curricular activities. This year, 15 LKY-STEP awards were presented to ITE graduates pursuing full-time studies at the polytechnics, and 10 LKY-STEP awards were presented to polytechnic graduates pursuing full-time undergraduate studies at the local universities. The names of the awardees are in Annex F.

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence (LKY-ARE)

The Lee Kuan Yew Award for All-Round Excellence is a national-level award for achievement in education that was presented since 2005. It recognises well-rounded students who have excelled in both academic and non-academic spheres, and who exemplify positive character development, strong leadership qualities and commitment to service to the community. The award is presented at the end of the Secondary education.

The award is part of the overall framework of Lee Kuan Yew awards, made possible through the interest proceeds from the principal fund of the Lee Kuan Yew Donation account of the Education Fund.

This year, eight students were presented the Award. The names of the awardees are in Annex G.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement (LHL-OAA)

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement (LHL-OAA) is funded by an endowment donated by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2009. The award is to recognise the outstanding academic and non-academic achievements of post-secondary students, particularly those who have made outstanding contributions to the community and demonstrated the spirit of innovation and enterprise. There are four awards to be given out each year, with one student from each of the following four groups - Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Polytechnics, Junior Colleges/ Millennia Institute and Autonomous Universities. The names of the awardees are in Annex H.

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement (LHL-ASA)

The Lee Hsien Loong Award for Special Achievement (LHL-ASA) is funded by an endowment donated by Prime Minister Lee. The LHL ASA was presented for the first time in 2009, and is given to one outstanding student each from NorthLight School and Assumption Pathway School, who has done well and progressed to ITE. The award recognises students who have exemplified positive character development and a positive attitude towards learning and self-improvement. The recipients must have also shown strong leadership qualities and commitment to serve the community. The names of the awardees are in Annex I.

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