Teachers should be "role models of life-long learning", says Education Minister

Teachers should be "role models of life-long learning", says Education Minister

Date
Thursday, 07 July 2011

Media Type
Channel NewsAsia online

SINGAPORE: Describing the "quality and dedication" of teachers here as a "critical reason" for the success of Singapore's education system, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat recalled how in the 1970s, despite schools being "cookie-cutter style concrete slabs", teachers made the difference to a whole generation.

Said Mr Heng: "Without their dedication and hard work, many in my generation would remain as kampung boys and girls."

Mr Heng was speaking on Wednesday at the first day of the two-day annual Teachers' Investiture Ceremony. In total, 1,961 teachers will join the education service this year.

One of them is Mr Jonathan Ng, 29, who initially failed to qualify for a degree programme but persevered because of his love of teaching.

He said: "I always wanted to do a degree, especially in physical education (PE), because I strongly feel that it is a very important vehicle through which we can impart important values to students."

Mr Ng worked with the PE Unit at the Ministry of Education (MOE) to design the Olympic Education Package to prepare primary, secondary and tertiary students for the Youth Olympic Games. He also helped create supplementary materials for visitors to the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Centre, now known as the Singapore Sports Museum.

In his speech, Mr Heng also urged teachers to be "role models of life-long learning".

In that regard, the Ministry of Education has rolled out a slew of initiatives, including a full-time postgraduate award, which teachers can start applying for from January next year. Starting this month, teachers pursuing a part-time master's degree can also opt for part-time teaching.

At the ceremony on Wednesday, 120 graduands were conferred with a Diploma in Special Education - a 26-per-cent increase from last year.

Three young educators also received national honours for being inspirational teachers: Ms Edwina Cheng, 27, from Compassvale Secondary School; Mr Syed Faisal, 29, from Greendale Secondary School; and Ms Jerine Teh, 29, from Teck Ghee Primary School.

Mr Syed, whose zeal and inspirational leadership won him the Outstanding Youth in Education Award, said he is convinced that every student can change. "Every student can be better at the end of their four years in secondary school - that is my main motivation," he said.

Source: Channel NewsAsia online, sph