Singapore Government Press Release

Media Relations Division, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts,

MICA Building, 140 Hill Street, 2nd Storey, Singapore 179369

Tel: 6837-9666

 

SPEECH BY PRIME MINISTER MR LEE HSIEN LOONG AT NAN HUA SECONDARY SCHOOL'S 88TH ANNIVERSARY DINNER CUM OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE NEW CAMPUS AT NAN HUA SECONDARY ON SUNDAY, 17 JULY 2005 AT 7.30PM

 

Mr Leong Heng Keng

Chairman, School Advisory Committee

 

Mr Foo Suan Fong

Principal, Nan Hua Secondary School

 

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

 

����������� I am happy to join you this evening for a double celebration: Nan Hua�s 88th anniversary and the official opening of your new campus.Let me start by saying a few words in Mandarin.

 

Message in Chinese

����������� 八十多年前,女性受教育的机会不多。一位热心的华侨熊尚父先生为了弥补这个不足,在1917年创办了一所女校。由于资源有限,当年的校舍只是一所简陋的建筑物。开始时,南华不止培养学生, 同时也负起训练老师的任务,确保学校能够提供良好的教育。

 

����������� 八十多年来,南华经历各种的变化。今天南华是一所特选学校,拥有现代化的校舍,齐全的设备,为少男少女提供优良的全面教育。这个演变反映了南华勇于开创和尝试的精神,以及适应环境的能力。

 

 

����������� 值得庆幸的是,南华虽然改变了许多,但是也保留了许多优良的传统。道德观念的灌输,以及品格的培养,仍旧是南华办校的重要原则。我相信南华的学生和毕业生,会将校训牢记在心,那就是忠孝仁爱,礼义廉耻

 

����������� 作为一所特选学校,南华正负起培育新一代华文精英的任务。它为学生提供了深入了解中华文化和思想的课程,也同中国,香港和台湾的学校建立联系,以丰富学生的学习经验。南华在2000年成为特选学校后,选修高级华文的学生越来越多。在2000年,这些学生只占总学生人数的21%,到了今年,人数增加到79%。这是令人鼓舞的现象。

 

����������� 展望未来,南华应该继续保持优良的传统,并且争取校友,家长和社会的支持,以便为学生提供更良好的学习环境,特别是接触和认识华族文化和历史的环境。我相信南华能做到这点,能够借此吸引更多优秀的、对华文有浓厚兴趣的学生。

�����������

����������� [In 1917, Mr Xiong Shangfu, an overseas Chinese, started a school in a makeshift building with the hope of extending the privilege of education to girls.At that time, classes were run not just for students, but also for teachers to ensure that they were adequately trained to give the young girls quality education.

 

����������� From these humble beginnings, Nan Hua has transformed over the years into a top Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school for boys and girls, excelling in both academic and non-academic fields.This demonstrates the school�s tremendous pioneering spirit, and its ability to adapt and respond to change.

 

����������� Despite these changes, Nan Hua has preserved the best of its Chinese traditions.Nan Hua continues to emphasise moral and character development as an integral part of its curriculum.Its values of 忠孝仁爱,礼义廉耻 (loyalty, filial piety, humanity, love, courtesy, righteousness, integrity, shame) remain an important moral compass for its students, even after they leave the school and start work.

 

����������� As a SAP school, Nan Hua is well positioned to help nurture a new generation of Chinese elite. Nan Hua has developed programmes to enrich its students� appreciation of Chinese values and culture, and forged ties with schools in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan to broaden its students� learning experience. I am also encouraged to learn that since Nan Hua became an SAP school in 2000, the proportion of its students taking Higher Chinese has increased significantly from 21 percent in 2000 to 79 percent in 2005.��

 

����������� Going forward, Nan Hua should continue to leverage on its strong traditions and the support of its parents, alumni and the community to create an environment where students can deepen their understanding and appreciation of Chinese history and culture.I am confident that Nan Hua will be able to build on its wide range of Chinese language enrichment activities and position itself as a school of choice among students who are keen to learn Chinese.]

 

From Strength to Strength

����������� Nan Hua has chosen the phrase �from strength to strength� as the theme for its anniversary and official opening.This aptly reflects the changes in Nan Hua over the last 88 years.

 

����������� From its humble beginnings in 1917 when it started out in a makeshift building, Nan Hua has transformed over the years into a top Special Assistance Plan (SAP) school.Building on its rich heritage and tradition of excellence, Nan Hua has distinguished itself in both academic and non-academic fields, and developed quality programmes and activities to provide a holistic education for its students.

 

A First-Class Education System

����������� Nan Hua�s success is a testament to the robustness of our education system.Over the years, we have upgraded our education system across the board, so that all our students can benefit from a first-class education.Our parents and students take education seriously, and set high goals. Our schools are well-equipped, and staffed with capable, dedicated and forward-looking leaders and teachers. Together, we have achieved a high standard of education. In international comparisons and competitions, our schools and students consistently rank among the top.

 

����������� As we embark on a future of uncertainty and change, we will have to keep renewing our advantage in education, and equip our young with new skills and attitudes to succeed in a globalised world.We may be small and lack natural resources, but we should not lack confidence in our abilities to move forward.We must make the most of what we have, build on our strengths, and keep up our efforts to nurture in every young Singaporean a passion for learning that lasts through life, and a drive to push the limits of success.At the same time, we must root our young in Singapore and strengthen their commitment to contribute back to society.Only by investing in our young and nurturing their growth can we assure ourselves of continued progress and prosperity in the years to come.

 

Preparing our Young for the Future

����������� Nan Hua reflects the high standards of education we have achieved in our school system. Over the years, Nan Hua has given its students a well-rounded education and groomed them into responsible citizens, ready to contribute to our economy and society.Going forward, Nan Hua will continue to play a key role in our efforts to prepare future generations of Singaporeans for an increasingly complex and challenging future.

 

����������� For example, to promote innovation and enterprise among its students, Nan Hua has incorporated project work as part of its curriculum and introduced an annual �Budding Entrepreneur Competition�.�� One of the winners of this competition won a silver award at the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventors Competition in 2003.The team subsequently participated in the International Students Invention Competition in Korea where it clinched the silver medal, against an international field of competitors.

 

����������� Last year, a Nan Hua team participated in the annual Singapore Science & Engineering Fair.Nan Hua was the only secondary school to win the Gold award in the Fair � the other winners were from junior colleges and other tertiary institutions.And in August last year, the team took part in the 3rd APEC Youth Science Festival in Beijing.

 

����������� These achievements not only illustrate Nan Hua�s success in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, but also demonstrate that our young Singaporeans can excel on a global stage. We must continue to encourage our students, nurture their creativity and originality, and open their minds to the rich expanse of possibilities in the world around us.This will help them to face the future with confidence, seize the opportunities that come, and contribute to Singapore�s continued success.

 

Excellence in Chinese

����������� As a SAP school, Nan Nua also plays an important role in grooming a new generation of students competent in both English and Chinese. Last year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) reviewed the Chinese language curriculum and shifted towards a more flexible and customised approach to cater to students with different language abilities and backgrounds.Some were concerned that this would diminish the standards of Chinese among young Singaporeans.But in fact the new approach has provided more opportunities for students to deepen their appreciation and understanding of the Chinese language and culture.

 

����������� In Nan Hua, for example, a group of students who are strong in Chinese are selected every year to participate in a Chinese research programme. These students undertake research projects under the mentorship of lecturers from the National Institute of Education (NIE).Last year, one of the student research papers on "Singapore Secondary School Students' Chinese Reading Habits outside the Classroom" was published in the Shunde Education Journal, a publication for educationalists in Shunde, Kwantung Province.In addition, Nan Hua students are able to explore their interests in Chinese culture through a wide range of activities such as calligraphy and drama.Many of them go on to win awards at national competitions.In fact, since it became an SAP school in 2000, the proportion of Nan Hua�s students taking Higher Chinese has increased significantly from 21 percent in 2000 to 79 percent in 2005.��

 

����������� Nan Hua�s experience shows that our new approach in the teaching of Chinese is working. It enables those with aptitude and interest in Chinese to master the language and go deeper, while others who need more time and effort to learn the language can go at a slower pace and get help along the way.For all students, our objective is to make Chinese more enjoyable and interesting, so that it will not just be a subject to study in school, but a living language that Singaporeans can use in their daily lives. 

 

Learning Malay

����������� Besides Chinese, we are also making it easier for students with the interest and inclination to learn a third language. For non-Malays, in particular, the ability to listen, speak and read basic Bahasa Melayu is an important asset, as shown by our recent experience in the Tsunami relief operations in Aceh. In this regard, I am happy to note that from next year onwards, Nan Hua will be one of the thirteen designated schools in Singapore offering Malay language classes to non-Malay students.This will complement Nan Hua�s strengths in the Chinese language, and allow its students the opportunity to expand their scope of language competencies.

 

Autonomous School Status

����������� To give our schools more room to respond to changing needs, MOE has progressively devolved greater autonomy to well-established schools with a good track record.These schools are accorded Autonomous status, and have the flexibility to chart their own course, and be more responsive to the needs and aspirations of students and parents.There are currently 25 of such Autonomous Schools. They have continued to do well in providing quality and well-rounded education to their students.

 

����������� Tonight, I am pleased to announce that Nan Hua will be accorded Autonomous status in January 2006.As an Autonomous School, Nan Hua will take on greater responsibilities for the holistic education of students under its care.It will have more freedom and resources to create new programmes and activities, to help its students discover their passions and interests, and bring out the best in each one of them.

 

Partnership with Stakeholders

����������� Nan Hua could not have achieved all this but for the unstinting support of its parents and other stakeholders.I am encouraged to see that Nan Hua has forged strong links with the parents of its students, tapping their energies and talents to grow and enhance the varied activities of the school. I am glad to see many parents here tonight, and I hope you will continue to remain actively engaged and involved in Nan Hua�s next phase of development as an Autonomous School.

 

Conclusion

����������� Nan Hua has come a long way in nurturing many generations of boys and girls.With its new campus and the move towards greater autonomy, Nan Hua will be even better placed to prepare its students for the future.

 

����������� I extend my heartiest congratulations to the School Advisory Committee, the Principal and staff, and the students and parents of Nan Hua as you celebrate your Official Opening and 88th anniversary.It is now my pleasure to declare Nan Hua Secondary School open.