Speeches

Opening Address by Ms Grace Fu, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development and Ministry of Education at the PARTNERS Award Ceremony on Wednesday, 3 November 2010 at 3.00 pm at MOE Edutorium

Miss Ho Peng,
Director-General of Education

Distinguished COMPASS members

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good Afternoon

Introduction

It is with great pleasure that I join all of you here today to celebrate the schools’ achievements in attaining the PARTNERS (PARents, Teachers & NEighbourhood Resources in Synergy) Award for 2010.

The PARTNERS award was inaugurated in 2002 as a form of recognition for the excellent levels of purposeful partnerships that schools have developed with their stakeholders. The goal of any collaborative effort within the school is to bring the stakeholders and the school together to support the learning and development of the child.

Over the years, schools have been growing and improving their partnership efforts with their stakeholders. We are happy to note that more and more schools are beginning to realise the importance of leveraging on their strategic partnerships to provide a holistic education for our children.

Key Partners of the School

One of the key partners would of course be the parents. MOE recognises that parents play a primary and critical role in building character and transmitting the right values to their children. The strong bond between parent and child is the foundation through which the character of the child is first formed. Schools can complement this process of moulding the character of the child together with parents and other stakeholders in the community. It is important that we do this well. Not for our sake. Not for winning awards. But rather, for our children – the future of our nation!

According to my colleagues on COMPASS, the site visits to the schools have thrown up quite a few gems and have given us some great insights into what schools are doing in the area of partnership with parents. For example, Ngee Ann Secondary school studies the profiles of their parents and adopts a targeted approach to engage them. The partnership with parents is clearly mapped out and articulated in the school’s Balanced Score Card Strategy Map. The school has also leveraged on its niche area of Information and Technology to boost parent engagement and networking efforts through technology and new media. The Parent Support Group had implemented an I-Care project, inviting all Secondary Four parents to pen words of encouragement and love to their graduating children, and these are displayed in school every Term 3 of the year. This initiative was featured in an MOE commissioned ChannelNewsAsia feature documentary, “Educating Junior Hand-in–Hand” in 2009.

While parent engagement is a key focus, we must also not forget the valuable contributions of other important partners in the school – the School Advisory or Management Committee, the alumni and the community partners. All of them have key roles to play, whether in instilling a sense of belonging and pride in their school, as role-models to inspire students or to foster community spirit and nurture caring citizens.

Mr Remy Yeo, Chairman of the Alumni at Greenridge Secondary School can attest to this role. This is a quote from him: “At the end of the day, I feel that all of us have a part in educating our children and that all of us have a part in the future of our country. We all have a common objective. When I explain to people why it is important that I do the work I do, I tell them that when I am with a walking stick, how I live will depend on the students of today. Have I done right by them? Have I taught them the right values? We can value-add by being role models. In Greenridge, the alumni role-model for our students by giving motivational speeches that will encourage our children to be proud of who they are and of their school. The school and us – we work together!”

Learning From Good Practices

We have invited three schools, Rulang Primary, Methodist Girls and Tanjong Katong Secondary, to share with us today their good practices of how they have collaborated with their stakeholders to impact student outcomes. There are also many good processes from the other award winning schools that we would like to highlight and you can see them from the display boards outside the Edutorium.

Some of you may be thinking that all these are nothing new and that your school, too have these processes in place. And it is true. All schools have some kind of partnerships, in one way or another. What is clearly distinguishing is the whole-school approach, the shared partnership vision, the strong and inviting school culture that builds and sustains partnership efforts and most of all, the pervasive impact of these efforts on the learning and growth of their students.

Conclusion

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the COMPASS members, especially the PARTNERS Award Taskforce, who had been involved in the PARTNERS Award validation site visits. Their willingness to contribute their time and effort in this process is testimony of their passion and dedication to ensure that purposeful partnerships continue to deepen and evolve.

To the thirty-one winning schools, this award is a validation of the hard work and dedication that you and your stakeholders have put in to build and sustain quality collaborations in your school.

Congratulations once again, and keep up the excellent work!

Thank You.