Education Is About Developing Enduring Skills, Character: Minister

Education Is About Developing Enduring Skills, Character: Minister

Thursday, 05 April 2012

Media Type
Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE: Education today is about developing enduring skills and character, and less about transferring content knowledge, says Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

He said it starts with recruiting teachers with the right values to guide young Singaporeans.

Mr Heng was speaking at the ministry's annual promotion ceremony on Thursday.

The connection between character building and physical education may not be apparent, but some saw the potential in gymnastics and drama.

Mr Muhammad Ali, Head of Physical Education at Guangyang Primary School, said: "You can't really teach character. What you need to do is create that situation, that scenario where students are able to think on their feet, and engage them in problem-solving, how to relate with each other in case during the activities they have issues with one another, and how to resolve situations like that."

Mr Muhammad Ali is one of 6,803 education officers promoted this year.

Mr Heng said: "Education is now less about transferring content knowledge but more about learning how to learn and about holistic development. Our students need to know what is right and what is wrong. They need to discern truths from untruths.

"Education is about developing in our students an enduring core of competencies, values and character, so that they have the resilience to survive and succeed in a future which could be very different from the one that we are living in today."

Among the promoted officers, there are 121 Principals - almost three times the number last year.

As the ministry's leadership grows, Mr Heng said teachers continue to take a central position in delivering its values-driven education.

"They themselves must have the relevant values, knowledge and skills to guide our young. It starts with recruiting teachers with the right values and passion to teach. NIE then needs to develop them, not just with a strong foundation in pedagogical content knowledge, but also in the ethos of the teaching profession," he said.

In 2010, the Ministry reviewed its educational outcomes and drew up its 21s Century Competency Framework. It wants to develop students who are confident learners, active contributors, and concerned citizens.

The ministry is also rewarding those who have made a mark in helping teachers - teach.

Mr Manmohan Singh, Vice Principal (Administration) at Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), said: "Providing support structures and putting in place processes to support teachers where administration is concerned.

"One thing we realise today is teachers are very bogged down with administration. What we try to do is that we try to minimise as much as possible their administrative work, so they get a chance to focus strictly on teaching, so that we bring our students up to a certain level where you can see them going into 21st century global citizens."

Mr Manmohan Singh is among a new and growing breed of Vice Principals tackling this essential support for teachers. 

Source: Channel NewsAsia