Speech by Second Minister for Education, Ms Indranee Rajah, at the Special Awards Presentation Ceremony

Published Date: 27 August 2019 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Colleagues, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

1. My heartiest congratulations to all award recipients, as well as your family, friends, and teachers who have supported you along this journey! It is my great pleasure to be here this afternoon to join you in celebrating your achievements.

2. The Special Awards Presentation ceremony is a meaningful one because it celebrates the spirit of excellence in our students. The range of awards we are presenting this afternoon recognises students’ achievements in both the academic and non-academic areas – showing that we value the diverse talents and unique qualities of our students.

3. Indeed, all our awardees are outstanding in their own way, and we recognise that education is not just about doing well academically in school. We want to develop in our students the disposition and attitude to be well-rounded and passionate lifelong learners, who are innovative and positive agents of change. We hope that they will be resilient when facing challenges, be active citizens grounded in sound values, and harness their strengths and talents to contribute to the well-being of the community. Let me share the stories of some of our awardees this afternoon, who embody these qualities.

4. Keith Tan, Ryan Chua Cheng Feng, and Wong Ying Shun are Nanyang Polytechnic students. Wanting to make a positive difference to the community, Keith, Ryan, and Ying Shun worked with the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) to develop a free mobile application for caregivers of dementia patients.

5. The application implements a crowd-sourcing feature to allow caregivers of dementia patients who have gone missing to post their photos and frequently-visited places, thereby improving the chances of locating the missing patients. The details in this app are shared with Dementia Friends, a group of volunteers in the community registered with the app. Since its launch, 6,600 volunteers have signed up and 101 patients have been located through the app. For their innovative spirit, which leveraged technology to benefit our community, Keith, Ryan, and Ying Shun are clearly deserving recipients of the Lee Hsien Loong Interactive Digital Media Smart Nation Award. They saw a need in the community, and applied the knowledge they had learned, to better the lives of others around them. I hope more young people can be inspired by, and learn from them. Congratulations, and well-done, gentlemen!

6. We are proud of our students when they achieve excellence. But it makes us even prouder when we see our students becoming well-rounded, passionate learners who understand that learning takes place not only in the classroom, but also in the school and community they live in. We want to recognise these students for not just their academic achievements, but for their commendable attitude towards learning in life which extends beyond the classroom.

7. One such student is Shaun Lim Chuang Ye. Beyond his academic achievements, Shaun is very active outside of the classroom. By all accounts, Shaun is an excellent and humble leader who was well-respected by his peers during his time as a Student Councillor and Staff Sergeant in the National Cadet Corps (Land) at Ahmad Ibrahim Secondary School. As a Student Councillor, Shaun served as an Orientation Group Leader in charge of welcoming the Secondary One students, and played a key role in the school’s Student Voice Project, where he studied the feedback from the student body and presented proposals for school improvement initiatives. Shaun is also very interested in giving back to the community. As part of a class project, he leveraged the use of social media to raise public awareness on water conservation. The project culminated in the sharing of information through brochures with the public at the Yishun Pond. Shaun also displayed empathy and compassion when he was attached to one of the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) centres as part of the school-organised Work Experience Programme (WEP). Hoping to offer the patients a listening ear, he initiated and coordinated activities with his classmates to interact meaningfully with the patients at the dialysis centre.

8. Today, we celebrate Shaun’s passion and commitment to excellence and learning, where he has contributed positively to both his school and community. Congratulations, Shaun, for being a recipient of the Lee Kuan Yew All-Round Excellence Award, and the Lee Kuan Yew Outstanding Normal Course Award.

9. I believe I speak for all teachers when I say our hope is for our students to understand the true value of resilience, and to have in them the strength and grit to overcome any obstacles that come their way. One such exemplary role model we would like to celebrate today is Nur Umairah Bte Mohd Akbar, who will be receiving the Lee Kuan Yew Exemplary Student Award.

10. This award affirms the resilience and effort of students from our government-funded special education schools who have risen above their odds to aspire towards and achieve excellence. Umairah has come a long way since her early days in Grace Orchard School. From a shy, timid girl who cowered from public speaking, she has since blossomed into a brave young lady today who leads with enthusiasm and confidence. As a prefect in her school, she displays maturity and confident leadership in her communication with her peers and teachers. What is even more commendable is her empathy in reaching out and engaging the many different types of learners around her. Selected for the pilot of the Teacher Childcare Aide Programme, Umairah assists teachers at the Presbyterian Community Services Grow and Glow Jurong West Childcare Centre with various learning activities for the children. She readily looks out for the children in her group, and has received stellar feedback from the teachers at the childcare centre. Umairah’s remarkable drive and positive attitude, as well as her empathetic and caring leadership, are an inspiration to us all.

11. As we celebrate the diverse backgrounds which our recipients come from, let us also remember the importance of a quality and inclusive education system. It is vital that education continues to provide multiple pathways to our students, and help them find positive purpose and build confidence in what they do. It has empowered students like Keith, Ryan, Ying Shun, Shaun, and Umairah to be in a better stead for the future, and encouraged them to pursue their individual and unique aspirations. We cannot achieve this vision alone – to this end, we will continue our work with parents, the community, and the industry to develop our students into resilient, empathetic, and innovative young men and women who will create a better Singapore in both the present and the coming future.

12. To all awardees, I would like to leave you with this: remember your family, your teachers – the people who have stood by you on your journey. Never cease to wonder at the world around you and find joy in learning and pursuing your dreams, but most importantly, use your knowledge, talents, and skills to better the lives of others and the world you live in. I wish all of you the very best in your future endeavours.

13. Thank you.

Share this article: