SPEECH BY PRESIDENT TONY TAN KENG YAM AT THE TEACHERS’ DAY RECEPTION, 3 SEPTEMBER 2015 AT THE ISTANA

 

Mr Heng Swee Keat

Minister for Education

Mr Hawazi Daipi

Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower

Educators

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Good evening

My wife and I are very happy to host this reception today to celebrate the achievements and contributions of our educators, past and present.  We would like to wish all teachers a very happy Teachers’ Day! 

Over the past 50 years, Singapore has progressed from a developing country to a thriving metropolis.  Our nation’s sustained investment in education played an important role in this.  Our schools and teachers brought together young Singaporeans from different races and religions, and created opportunities for all of them to develop their strengths regardless of their backgrounds.

Today, our education system is held in high regard around the world, and I am confident we will continue to improve and innovate, to bring out the best in our children and better prepare every child for the future.

This Teachers’ Day Reception has been hosted at the Istana every year since 1998. It is our way of thanking all of you – our educators – for the important work you do in our schools, every single day.

In classrooms, fields, and assembly halls across the nation, your leadership, words, and actions shape the minds of our young people.  Beyond teaching subjects, you impart skills which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives – the ability to speak with confidence, to work well with others, and to think critically.   Beyond teaching them to be good students, you show them how to be good people.  Through you, they learn values such as responsibility, resilience, integrity, and care for their families and communities.  

Forging good character in our youth has long been at the heart of our education system.  It is central to our society’s continued progress towards our founding generation’s vision of Singapore – a fair, just and harmonious society, where everyone, regardless of race, language or religion, has the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from Singapore’s development.

Today, we are particularly happy to welcome more than 300 pioneer educators who are with us.  Some of you have served more than 50 years in the education service and many of you continue to teach today, as contract and adjunct teachers.  In the early days of our independence, with meagre resources but great resourcefulness, you were undaunted in your collective belief in educating our people.  In so doing, you helped to build a rugged and adaptable people with the commitment, loyalty and leadership to take Singapore forward.  Where Singapore is today is a measure of your achievements as a fraternity, and a result of your perseverance and determination.

To the teachers and school leaders of today – you are the pioneers of this generation.  In your classrooms are the leaders and innovators of the future, who will build upon the good work of our pioneers.  With your guiding hand, Singapore’s next 50 years will be better than the first 50.

Thank you to all teachers, for moulding the future of our nation.