Speech by Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) at Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award

Published Date: 11 November 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Selamat sejahtera dan selamat pagi.

2. I am delighted to be part of the Arif Budiman Malay Language Teacher Award or AGAB, which is celebrating its 11th year. Please allow me to start off with a few words in Malay.

3. Saya berasa amat gembira dapat bersama-sama anda dalam majlis Anugerah Guru Arif Budiman tahun ini. Saya yakin anda semua turut berasa bangga melihat lima lagi guru yang bakal menerima anugerah guru cemerlang.

Delima putih ada di bucu,
          Buah nangka jatuh merata;
Terima kasih kepada guru,
          Tiada mereka siapalah kita.

4. Since its inception in 2007, AGAB has recognised 45 outstanding Malay Language teachers in primary, secondary schools, centralised institute and junior colleges who have made significant contributions to the teaching and learning of Malay language. This year, we welcome 5 more recipients who will be honoured for their excellent and exemplary service as an educator.

5. It has often been said, “The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains, the superior teacher demonstrates, and the great teacher inspires.” An Arif Budiman teacher inspires not only by providing optimal learning environment for our children, he or she also inspires by selflessly giving back to society. This exemplifies the spirit of Arif Budiman, which goes beyond just scholarstic pursuit to creating a long-term postive impact on culture and the community.

6. Please allow me to congratulate our five recipients of this year’s AGAB. They are:

  • Mdm Nurhiza Mohamed from Cantonment Primary School;
  • Mr Mohd Jamalludin Mohd Affandi from Chung Cheng High School (Main);
  • Mdm Fauziah Mohamed Ata from Endeavour Primary School;
  • Mr Djohan Abdul Rahman from Bishan Park Secondary School; and
  • Dr Mohamed Pitchay Gani Mohamed Abdul Aziz from Millenia Institute.

7. Earlier, I had the opportunity to chat with them. Mdm Nurhiza and Mdm Fauziah, who teach lower primary, shared that it was a joy for them to see the transformation in their students over time – from speaking very little Malay when they first enter primary school, to seeing the language come alive and expressing themselves in Malay as they progress to upper primary. Being able to anchor a love for the language in their students has given both teachers much satisfaction.

8. When it comes to secondary and JC students, Dr Pitchay and Mr Djohan found satisfaction in teaching their students to appreciate the relevance of the Malay Language in their lives, as well as the wider Malay culture and heritage. One of them even brought financial planning into the classroom to make the subject come alive.

9. Mr Jamalludin from Chung Cheng High School (Main) told me he teaches the Malay Language to Chinese students. He is an important bridge for Chinese students in our multiracial society. I hope his students will be inspired to be important bridges in our community to build a better Singapore.

10. May you continue with your good work in being an inspiration to other Malay Language teachers and a role-model for our students.

11. The role of teachers has become increasingly complex in the face of constant change. Teachers' capacities to deal with change, learn from it, and help students respond to the needs of a changing society will be critical for the future development of societies. On the shoulders of our Mother Tongue teachers rest the heavy responsibility of not only imparting language proficiency and the love of our heritage and culture but also guiding our students to become committed citizens with a heart for Singapore.

12. This means that teachers cannot afford to stop learning. As AGAB recipients, you can form a community of like-minded educators to improve practice and enhance students' learning, to focus on continual improvement in the Malay Language curriculum and to make explicit the currency of Malay language teaching and learning. We must strive to pass on the beauty, values and wisdom inherent in the Malay language and culture to our next generation so that they can navigate confidently in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. Our MTL is a precious asset for Singaporeans and I am confident our bilingual education will continue to give us a strategic advantage in an era of globally-connected communities.

13. On this note, I am happy to announce that AGAB recipients have come together to form an AGAB Work Group. The AGAB Work Group which was formalised in July this year aims to strengthen networking efforts to improve the teaching and learning of Malay language and culture.

14. As members of the AGAB Work Group, you can also provide invaluable expertise to design activities that will take the learning of Malay language, literature and culture beyond the confines of the classroom and bring its richness into the wider community.

15. I am also delighted to know that the Forum segment conducted this morning was anchored by two past AGAB recipients, Mr Farizan Mohd Amin and Mdm Norafizah Shariff, as well as an invited panelist from the COMPASS Advisory Council, Mdm Nafisah Suheimi. The topic on ‘A Happy Child, A Successful Child’ is apt for reaching out to parents who have been invited to attend the forum. This forum hopes to serve as a platform for parents and teachers to come together and discuss ways to support the child so that he or she can enjoy learning in school and beyond.

16. Through a strong school-home collaboration, we can work towards a holistic development of our children. Through a strong school-community collaboration, we can make Malay language a living language beyond the school for generations to come. I look forward to a stronger school-home-community partnership so that we can build a vibrant MTL eco-system beyond the school environment.

17. As teachers, you hold a tremendous power in your hands – the power to shape and transform the lives of your students. You have a front row seat to the future. You build that future one child at a time.

18. On this note, may I take the opportunity to applaud the hard work of all Malay Language teachers and congratulate this year’s awardees once again!

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