Speech by Mr Hawazi Daipi, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower, at the NIE Teachers’ Investiture Ceremony at 2:30pm on Tuesday 7 July 2015, at the Nanyang Auditorium, Nanyang Technological University

Published Date: 07 July 2015 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Ms Chan Lai Fung,
Chairperson, NIE Council

Professor Tan Oon Seng,
Director, NIE

Colleagues

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

A very good afternoon to all,

1.Over the past two days, a total of 1216 graduands, including yourselves, would have taken your teachers’ pledge to affirm your commitment to contribute as members of the Singapore Education Service. I am pleased to join all of you today as you embark on this new chapter of your lives. Please join me in extending my heartiest congratulations to all graduands.

Remembering the Pioneers and Forging Ahead

2.The teaching profession has indeed come a long way. Just as Singapore celebrates her 50th anniversary this year, the Singapore Education Service also marks its 50th year in service. Back in the early years when we were a newly independent nation, our founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew spoke on several occasions on the critical role of education to Singapore’s future. The future where our young forge a multi-racial, multi-religious Singapore, become rugged and adaptable, and have the loyalty and leadership traits to take Singapore forward. The challenge back then was to achieve all these amidst great uncertainty, and with meagre resources. Our pioneer educators took on this challenge bravely and started building up the education system to what it is today. In particular, their attributes such as resourcefulness, responsibility, resilience and entrepreneurship have built a strong foundation for the education system and continued to influence future generations of educators.

3.The attributes of the pioneer educators are still important today and I am confident that you will continue to hold these key values and attributes close to your hearts as you begin your journey as educators.

Teachers at the Heart of Education

4.Singapore is often regarded as a model for excellence in education systems. One important aspect is the quality of teachers that we have in our education system. Teachers in other countries want to learn the reasons, even the secrets of our ability to deliver high quality education, achieve high averages and produce outstanding students year after year. Our ability to engage students across academic abilities and learning styles towards effective learning outcomes has also been proven to be successful over the years, and this is all due to the effort and dedication of our teachers in wanting to bring out the best in every child.

5.Over the past decades, we have been able to attract a variety of talent including mid-career entrants into the teaching profession and I certainly hope that we continue to attract more with a passion in nurturing our future generations to join the teaching fraternity. All of you are doing a very important job, by strengthening what is important to us as a society, passing on values and shaping the character of our nation with every child you teach.

Outstanding Role Models

6.At this juncture, it gives me great pleasure to share with you some of the experiences of our graduands who have become role models. They have demonstrated the attributes of resilience, passion and dedication in their mission for nurturing and educating their students.

7.We have with us today, Rufihaza Binti Ramlee, who is a mid-career entrant, and a mother of 2 young children aged 2 and 4. Her journey to become a teacher has been challenging but she has never once thought about giving up despite missing out on several attempts to become a teacher. She never wavered. She knew that teaching was her calling. She worked as a lab coordinator in a clinical research lab for a few years before finally getting chance to join MOE. When she first started out in NIE, she was actually 5 months’ pregnant. Her lecturers and tutors were very understanding and caring, asking if she needed any extension of deadlines for assignments. Rufihaza, however, always managed to finish everything before the deadline just like everyone else as she was determined to show others that pregnant mothers needed no special treatment and they can still pursue their studies despite their difficulties.

8.Her greatest struggle was during her Practicum when she had to spend a lot of time preparing for her lessons while looking after her children and managing household chores. However, with the help and guidance of her School Coordinating Mentor, her Cooperating Teachers (CTs) and her NIE Supervisor, she not only pulled through her practicum but also performed well in it. She also shared that her CTs were very caring and nurturing and taught her the ropes of becoming an effective teacher.

9.Another inspiring graduand whom we have is Tan Mei Fang, a mother of 2 teenagers and a young adult. While working as an Allied Educator, her school was extremely supportive. They provided her with many teaching opportunities encouraging her to take the plunge and apply to become a full-fledged teacher.

10.By the time she entered NIE, she was in her mid- forties and going back to school after 23 years seemed like a daunting challenge. However, in NIE, the support and encouragement by her course-mates and tutors greatly helped her. She shared that her lowest point in NIE was during her first practicum where she did not do well. But the school rendered her help by assigning a tutor to help her. She eventually managed to pull through with the help of her mentors as well as her willing-to-learn attitude and humility.

11.Rufihaza and Mei Fang have some attributes in common. They are resilient, always willing to learn and determined in whatever they set out to do. Kudos to Rufihaza and Mei Fang for what they have achieved so far and we can all learn to be like them!

Conclusion

12.As you formally join the Singapore Teaching Service, I encourage you to hold fast to the core values and attributes central to your calling as educators. I am confident that NIE has prepared you well for the challenges and opportunities that await you as you embark on your career with the education service, I hope you will continue to learn so you will always be the best teacher that you can be.

13.Continue to take up courses to help you keep pace with evolving pedagogies and learn new approaches to motivate and support your students. As a beginning teacher in the school you have been assigned, there will also be many experienced colleagues you can learn from. In the last few years, many deserving, competent teachers have been appointed as Senior or Lead Teachers in our schools. Together with the middle managers, they are a rich learning resource. Many of you will have the support of specially trained Instructional Mentors to accelerate the development of your pedagogical skills in the context of your school’s student profile. How much you will learn will also depend on how intentional you are in your application of learning and in your reflection of what you have done well in and what you could do even better at. As you grow, you will increasingly be able to mentor future cohorts of teachers.

14.In closing, all that remains is to formally welcome all of you into the Singapore Education Service and wish you all a successful and meaningful career ahead!

15.Thank you.

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