June 29, 2018
Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, 2nd Minister for Education at Maha Bodhi School’s 70th Anniversary Celebration and Completion Ceremony of PERI Upgrading Project
1. It gives me great pleasure to join you today to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of Maha Bodhi School and the completion of the school’s PERI Upgrading Project.
2. Maha Bodhi School has had an illustrious journey over the past 70 years. From its humble beginning as a Chinese school in 1948, promoting Buddhist education at a shophouse with just 40 students and four teaching staff, the school has gone on to become a full English-medium school in 1985 and a Special Assistance Plan school in 1990. Today, Maha Bodhi School is a well-established institution with modern facilities and close to 1,900 students and 160 staff. The school also has a strong track record of promoting bilingualism.
3. I’m glad to see that the school has chosen the theme of ‘Gratitude in Our Hearts’ for its 70th Anniversary Celebration, to recognise the efforts of all who have helped to shape the growth and development of the school for the past 70 years.
4. Indeed, much of what the school has achieved today would not have been possible without the dedication, hard work and sturdy foundation laid by its former principals and staff, as well as the strong support and partnership with parents, alumni and the community over the years. I am also delighted to know that seated among us u today are pioneer principals and staff who have joined us here to celebrate and to witness this new stage of the school’s development.
5. Over the years, the school has done well in providing a values-centred, holistic and robust education that is well-received by students and parents.
6. Its distinctive Learning for Life Programme in Aesthetics is a testimony of the school’s belief in developing students’ interests and talents. For example, the school has promoted the appreciation of the Aesthetics through LEAP, which stands for Learning through an Ethnic Arts Programme. This is a signature programme to expose students to a range of performing and visual arts from the various racial groups. Through this programme, all students have the opportunity to learn Chinese, Malay and Indian cultural art forms such as Chinese opera, batik painting and Indian dance.
7. The school has also designed Values In Action or VIA programme for its students. Through the Do Good. Feel Good. Spread Good. initiative, students learn to appreciate kindness shown to them and to pass it on. For example, Primary 4 students go through the Grow Project where they cultivate, harvest and sell hydroponics vegetables in school, and donate the proceeds to Brighthill Evergreen, Jamiyah and St Theresa’s homes. The school also holds an annual Jumble Sale for Primary 6 students together with the Parent Support Group and former students, where they would sell re-usable second-hand items and come up with creative ideas like games and customised keychains to raise funds for charity. Last year, a sum of $14,000 was collected. The proceeds from the sale were also donated to the three homes.
8. I am heartened that MBS staff have shown themselves to be good role models who impact society through the staff’s VIA programme. The staff visit the three homes to donate daily necessities and food, put up performances and conduct games and activities to bring cheer to the residents. They also pick up litter at East Coast Park and take part in gardening activities at Bishan Park.
9. 2018 is a milestone year for the school as it became a single-session school in the newly upgraded campus. Both students and staff now enjoy enhanced facilities for teaching and learning; including additional ICT Laboratories, PAL Rooms, a synthetic field, a Student Care Centre and a Teaching Laboratory.
10. The launch of the MBS Art Gallery earlier today opens up a creative space that encourages play, collaboration, communication and exploration. The gallery aims to ignite in the students a feeling of wonder as they use their senses to experience and appreciate the various art forms.
11. Our late founding Prime Minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew once said, “Just as a country is as good as its citizens, so its citizens are finally, only as good as their teachers. More than anything else, we are to educate our students to be people of character, people with a heart for others, and a heart for Singapore.” Indeed, Mr Lee believed that education plays a critical role in laying the foundation for nation building, and that teachers are entrusted to shape the hearts and minds of the next generation.
12. In this spirit, I would like to applaud Maha Bodhi’s commitment in developing its students to be people with sound values and a heart for the community. I hope that the school will continue to nurture each and every Maha Bodhian, provide them with opportunities to realise their potential, and inculcate in them a strong sense of gratitude.
13. I am confident that Maha Bodhi School will continue to do well with its team of dedicated staff who care and work tirelessly with stakeholders to bring out the best in the students. I would also like to encourage all parents and stakeholders to continue giving your support to the school.
14. Warmest congratulations on the school’s 70th anniversary! I wish everyone a wonderful evening ahead.