Speech by Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) at the Sony Creative Science Award (SCSA) 2017 Presentation Ceremony

Published Date: 03 August 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. Good morning. It is my great pleasure to join you here today to recognise and celebrate the scientific and creative talents of our students.

20 Years of the Sony Creative Science Award

2. Let me first thank the Sony Group of Companies in Singapore, and the Science Centre Singapore for organising today’s event. This year marks the 20th year that the Sony Creative Science Award is being held. Over the years, the Award has attracted 63,000 unique toy submissions, and past participants and winners have gone on to pursue higher studies and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

3. I would like to commend the organisers and sponsors for their dedication and commitment to providing a special platform for our children to learn through creation and experimentation – the award’s longevity and continued popularity is a testament to its success.

Learning beyond the Classroom

4. The Sony Creative Science Award does not just promote hands-on learning, it also provides a safe space and opportunities for our students to expand what they have in mind, build their ideas into reality, and through that process, learn many important concepts beyond the classroom for application in the real world. During this process, it is inevitable that our students will encounter setbacks and obstacles along the way.

5. This morning I met three young students, Nicole Tan and Rachel Toh from Rulang Primary, and Shane Pan from Montfort Junior. I had a very interesting discussion with all three of them. Nicole and Rachel told me that their initial idea for their design came about when they were trying to play a game in their school and the machine failed. That inspired the idea for them to design a toy using different types of balls.

6. For Shane Pan, his toy, the Rob-e-Shot, shoots rubber bands and utilises principles of kinetic energy and magnetism. Shane encountered difficulties in the conceptualisation and building process, and had to experiment with many different versions of the toy. However, he persevered, and managed to find the motivation to find practical solutions to the issues and ultimately saw his project through.

7. While having fun, these students also benefited from an important area of learning which is applied learning. In our school system today, we have world-class foundational learning in our languages, our sciences, and our mathematics. However, in the uncertain world ahead, while these are good launch pads, they are not sufficient. Applied learning will be the tool for us to energise our students’ creative energies, and skills of negotiation and leadership so that they can meet the challenges of an uncertain world ahead and seize opportunities.

8. This requires the dedication of our teachers and the partnership with our parents. Foundational learning, the strength of our school system, and the new direction that we’re going to provide – the joy of learning and entrepreneurial dare - will put children in good stead to seize opportunities in the future world. I look forward to working with our parents and educators to fulfil this ambition.

Being Enablers for Students – the Role of Teachers

9. While we are here today to celebrate the efforts and successes of our students who have overcome difficulties and have managed to turn their understanding of basic scientific principles into ingenuous and innovative toys, we should also take the time to acknowledge the indispensable role that teachers play in inspiring and nurturing the next generation of creative and critical thinkers in Singapore.

10. To this end, the Teachers’ Awards recognise the efforts of teachers in encouraging and guiding their students on their projects, and in organising and running the Sony Creative Science Award Schools Competitions. These competitions extend the original Creative Science Award competition into individual schools, supporting them in the running of internal competitions, and thus expanding opportunities for students to participate. The competitions have been incorporated into schools’ curriculums, as part of their co-curricular activities, as a project module for selected classes, or as part of the Applied Learning Programme (ALP).

11. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the efforts of one of our Teachers’ Awards winners – Madam Ong Xuan Wan of Juying Primary School – who has organised the Sony Creative Science Award Schools Competition in Juying Primary since 2012. Madam Ong has implemented a number of impactful initiatives to help both teachers and students – for instance, she worked to develop a toy booklet to aid students in the toy ideation, development, and improvement process. She also planned toy showcases for students to affirm their efforts, and even made videos featuring past winning entries to help inspire students. Madam Ong’s initiatives have helped to ensure that Juying Primary’s teachers and students are able to benefit to the fullest from taking part in the Sony Creative Science Awards. She is truly a deserving recipient of the 2017 Diamond Award. Thank you Madam Ong, for your dedication and hard work. Let’s all give Madam Ong, and the other winners of the Teacher’s Awards, a round of applause.


12. The importance of cultivating resilience, curiosity, creativity, and a love for science and experimentation at a young age cannot be underestimated. These young minds here today may be small in stature, but they have immense potential to make positive changes to our lives in the future. Who knows, the next Mark Zuckerberg may well be in our midst today.

13. To all our young students here with us today, I hope you will continue to pursue your interest in science and technology, and become the engineers and scientists of tomorrow.

14. I would also like to applaud all the schools, teachers, and parents for the support and guidance you have provided your students and children. You will continue to be instrumental in moulding our next generation of creative and unique Singaporeans, who have the tenacity to get back up again even if they fall down.

15. Finally, my heartiest congratulations to all the winners of the Sony Creative Science Award! Regardless of whether you win the top prize or special mention, I hope you continue to build and create because a competition like this is an affirmation of your efforts and talents.

16. Thank you.

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