Speech by President Halimah Yacob at Assumption Pathway School's 10th Anniversary Celebrations

Mr Gabriel Teo, Chairman, School Management Committee, Assumption Pathway School

Mr Wong Siew Hoong, Director-General of Education

Madam Low Khah Gek, Chief Executive, Institute of Technical Education

Brother Dominic Yeo Koh, Supervisor, Assumption Pathway School

Mr Eric Leong, Principal, Assumption Pathway School

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to join you today to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Assumption Pathway School (APS).

APS was founded on the philosophy that every child is special, and has different interests, developmental needs and learning styles. APS believes that we must always do our very best for every child, so that each of them can reach his or her maximum potential.

Over the past 10 years, APS has been offering its students a more experiential and hands-on curriculum. Seven cohorts of students have graduated from APS, with about 60 percent progressing to the ITE.  Five graduands managed to enroll into the polytechnics, and eight others received the SHATEC scholarship.

What APS has done for these students is both amazing and heartwarming.  Before Northlight and APS, these students would have dropped out of our education system.  Many have no choice but to join our workforce unskilled and unprepared.  They continue to be caught in a vicious cycle of life challenges.  With the setting up of specialised schools like APS, there is renewed hope for these students.  They now receive a good balance of foundational education in literacy, numeracy and character education, while also gaining life skills and achieving mastery in their vocational endeavour.

This is especially important in today’s changing global economic landscape, where we are faced with a wave of technological disruptions. To meet this challenge, our education system needs to empower every student to fulfil their potential and aspirations, regardless of background. Each and every student needs to be equipped with the dispositions and skills needed for the future economy.  And specialised schools like APS has done this well, by offering customised programmes for students who are inclined toward hands-on and practical learning.

Over the past 10 years, APS has rolled out many innovations and initiatives to maximise the potential of its students.The school established the Assumption Restaurant for Training and the Baking Production Kitchen to provide a real-life working environment to train the students.It also set up the Assumption Pathway Academy in 2015, as a further pathway to support graduands who are transiting towards the workforce instead of ITE.

Success is the result of the collaboration of many stakeholders including the partners and donors. Many of you are here to celebrate this important milestone of the school, and let me take this opportunity to thank all of you. I hope to see more of such collaborations so that more opportunities and exposure could be provided to the students to ease their way into the workforce.

Apart from celebrating the school’s milestone, this evening’s event is also a celebration of the achievements of APS students.I was at the APSolute Art gallery earlier and viewed the various artworks by the APS students. I would like to congratulate the teachers for bringing out the creativity and strengths of the students and instilling in them a sense of confidence and fulfilment. Tonight, many of them will be showcasing what they have learned during their academic journey with APS, from the performances to the banquet service. I was told that even the dinner menu is specially designed and prepared by the students, under the guidance of their teachers.  I look forward to enjoying the dinner!

The greatest satisfaction for everyone involved in APS is to see how the students have succeeded. In providing our students with the opportunity to pursue their interests, we hope they can discover the joy of learning and become passionate lifelong learners. In many cases, the supportive learning environment and dedicated teachers are the key motivation for students to attend school and learn.

One example is Muhammad Nor Bin Jasmi who graduated from APS in 2013 with two ITE Skills Certificates, in Baking Practices and Hospitality Services. He was a recipient of the prestigious Lee Hsien Loong Award for his excellent performance at APS.  He recently completed his NITEC in Asian Culinary Arts at ITE College West, and intends to pursue other courses in F&B after his National Service. But Muhammad Nor has not always been so driven in life.  When Muhammad Nor first joined APS, he actually thought that it was “the end” for him. Having struggled throughout his primary school years, he did not think he has a future at all.  His poor PSLE results were simply a reflection of his great difficulties in coping with academic studies.  Fortunately, he had very supportive teachers in APS who never gave up on him.  They encouraged him to explore and pursue his interests.  They tried different ways to engage him in studies. It is important to try different teaching methods and to find one that is the most interesting and effective. That is the strength of APS.  Today, Muhammad Nor is a confident young man who firmly believes that he can go further in life with hard work and perseverance. He is also giving back to his alma mater by serving in the school’s Alumni. Congratulations and thank you Muhammad Nor.

Muhammad Nor, and many others like those featured in the video shown earlier, have shown that one can achieve success as long as they, as well as those around them, do not give up. Through APS, they have gained not only skills and knowledge, but also self-confidence, strength and values which will guide them well in their lives. I hope their stories will continue to inspire others to strive for excellence.

In closing, let me commend the staff of APS, past and present, and all the stakeholders, for your relentless efforts in nurturing our young and providing them with opportunities and guidance to reach their full potential.

The 10th anniversary is a significant milestone for APS. I would like to congratulate APS on your success and achievements over the past 10 years, and I wish APS continued excellence in the years ahead.Thank you.