Speech by Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) at the APSN Charity Dinner

Published Date: 07 September 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. Good Evening. I am glad to join you this evening at APSN’s charity dinner.

2. The theme for tonight’s dinner - Empowering Lives for An Engaged Community and Inclusive Society – describes so aptly what we are doing here tonight and what we can do collectively.

Empowering lives

3. The task of empowering lives is a noble one. Doing so gives them the confidence and courage to lead a meaningful and productive life. In this, we all know that education is crucial. For individuals, regardless whether one has special needs or not, education plays a significant role in helping us fulfil our aspirations and our potential.

4. Over the last 41 years, APSN has developed dedicated educational and vocational pathways for so many young people and adults as well, helping about 1,500 persons with mild intellectual disabilities to develop their capabilities and find their strengths. Through continual research and adaptation in content and lesson delivery, these programmes and services aim to meet the special needs of each person. For example, to maximise their students’ chances of employment in the future, APSN exposes their students to interactive digital media.

5. I understand that students from Tanglin School use Scratch Editor to create interactive stories, animations and games, and used drones to take nice pictures of what they are doing in the gardens. Providing students with these experiences helps build their confidence and capabilities.

6. I’m encouraged to know that about 94% of the APSN graduates have successfully sought employment in companies across industries each year. With the support of over 350 trained educators and in-house allied professionals, APSN helps connect students to potential employers and helps them lead independent and meaningful lives and become contributing members of society.

7. MOE shares APSN’s vision to provide a holistic education for all students. It is important that our students learn not only skills and knowledge in the classroom, but also values and interpersonal skills that they can carry with them through life.

8. I also learned that students from the Food & Beverage department in Delta Senior School recently put their culinary skills to good use. They prepared a feast to appreciate not only for themselves to enjoy, but for the workers who worked on the road construction just outside the school, and the partners who have supported them in their vocational training. These opportunities allow APSN students to share their skills and strengths with others, and also help transform our own and public’s attitudes about friends with special needs.

Partnership with the community

9. APSN schools have also forged partnerships with mainstream schools in our neighbourhood. For example, over the years, students from Katong School and Bedok View Secondary created terrariums that were sold at the Children’s Association Christmas Fair. Students also harvested vegetables from the school’s roof-top farm and ate meals they prepared together at shared recesses. This year, the entire community from Chao Yang School was invited to Presbyterian High School to commemorate National Day!

10. This coming together of students from different schools is important. It builds social skills and fosters mutual understanding and friendship towards a more inclusive Singapore. Thank you for your continued support, whether as a donor, teacher or volunteer, and I look forward to your continued leadership in this area, to serve the evolving needs of our special needs community. So long as we have the strength and resources, let’s put all our efforts to a better Singapore for all Singaporeans.

11. Your generosity will continue to support APSN’s different programmes. Special thanks to all sponsors and those who have made this possible. Thank you and have an enjoyable evening.

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