Speech by Mr Masagos Zulkifli BMM, Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs at Yio Chu Kang Primary School’s 60th Anniversary on Friday, 12 November 2010 at Yio Chu Kang Primary School at 6.30 pm
Dr Ng Cher Yew,
School Advisory Commitee
Mrs Teo Whye Choo,
Yio Chu Kang Primary School
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to be here with you today at Yio Chu Kang Primary School’s 60th Anniversary celebration.
I am told that the theme for tonight’s celebration is ‘Appreciate, Celebrate and Anticipate’. I believe Yio Chu Kang Primary has much to appreciate in its rich history, much to celebrate for its current achievements and much to anticipate in its future endeavours.
Appreciating the Past
Yio Chu Kang Primary has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 1950. Starting out with just 11 classrooms back then, Yio Chu Kang Primary has flourished over the years to be the school it is today. As Yio Chu Kang Primary commemorates this historical milestone, the school community is justifiably proud of its achievements. Past school leaders and teachers have nurtured many cohorts of promising youths, among whom is Fandi Ahmad, a household name in Singapore and recognized for his talent on the soccer pitch. In fact Dr Ng Cher Yew, a Colombo Plan Scholar who is now a successful entrepreneur, has come back to serve as chairman of the school advisory committee. I hope more alumni will come forward to serve, especially those who are present tonight to celebrate the school’s 60th Anniversary.
Celebrating the Present
Our schools today are constantly striving to provide students with a holistic education, focused on both academic and non-academic areas. We hope that our students develop a good sense of self-awareness with sound moral values. On top of possessing all the qualities needed to succeed in the 21st century, we want our students to also appreciate the beauty of the world around him, be healthy in body and mind and to have a zest for life. To achieve this, we have put in place plans to enhance the primary education landscape over the next few years. The enhancements include building a quality teaching force, improving school infrastructure and developing even more engaging teaching methods.
Indeed, Yio Chu Kang Primary is a prime example that echoes MOE’s efforts in enhancing the primary school experience. For example, to better meet the needs of the learners, the staff is engaged actively in professional development and reflective practices so that they can hone their skills at transforming learning into engaging, relevant and exciting experiences for all pupils. The Tamil Language Department is justifiably awarded the Innergy (Schools) Commendation Award in 2009 when they came up with the Tamil Language Board Game, Kolangal in this spirit.
Today, Yio Chu Kang Primary has many reasons to celebrate. It is particularly proud of its achievements in Sports and the Performing Arts which sharpen pupils’ talents and build their character. The school’s effort to identify niche programmes to draw out and refine the latent talents and abilities of its pupils has already been awarded with a recognisation as an MOE Junior Sports Academy (JSA) for Soccer and the Programme for School-Based Excellence (PSE) for Soccer.
It has been awarded the National Arts in Education (NAE) Award for its commendable achievements in the Performing Arts. At this year’s Singapore Youth Festival (SYF), the school garnered 7 Silvers in the Performing Arts. Yio Chu Kang Primary also achieved both the Character Development Award and National Education Award. These awards affirm the school’s strong beliefs and enduring efforts in character building to nurture the upright and rooted citizen. I am heartened that the school has been awarded the Business Excellence Niche (People Award) for ensuring the continual learning and professional growth of its teachers and staff.
The school’s programmes are characterized by creativity, innovation and enterprise and I note that relevant opportunities and recognition are given to pupils and staff to break new ground. This year, the school embarked on a CCA-integrated curriculum when it turned single-session. In line with the Programme for Active Learning (PAL), the integrated curriculum has enabled every child to embrace and enjoy CCA. Thus providing them with a holistic education anchored in character building. These are worthy initiatives, as they promote a culture crucial to an innovation-driven economy.
I am encouraged to learn that Yio Chu Kang Primary School has an enriching internationalisation programme with organisations and schools in Australia, Vietnam and China. For instance, the school has a soccer exchange programme with schools in Australia while it has a twinning programme with Wuxi Wuai Primary School in Wuxi, China where pupils participated in Chinese lessons and learned more about Chinese literature and culture. It is encouraging that there are also service learning trips to, for example, Vietnam, and even trips to promote team bonding. I am sure that both teachers and pupils have found these opportunities valuable as learning is extended beyond the classroom.
Anticipating the Future
I anticipate a bright future for Yio Chu Kang Primary School as I am confident that you will not rest on your laurels. I urge the school leaders, teachers, alumni, parents and members of the school advisory committee to be united in your mission to develop each pupil into thinking, reflective and independent individuals anchored in values, powered by zeal and passion to take on the globalised world and yet stay rooted to Singapore.
My congratulations and best wishes to the teachers, staff, pupils and stakeholders of the school on your 60th anniversary. I wish you success as you continue to pursue your goals.