Mr Koh Poh Tiong,
Chairman of the School Advisory Committee
Mr Teo Kim Ching,
President of the
Mrs Carolin Tan,
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. It gives me great pleasure to join you here at the 125th anniversary celebrations of
2. Mr Gan Eng Seng, founder of the school, wanted to bestow the gift of education upon the less well-off children in the vicinity. Then, he also recognised the importance of English and added it as another language of instruction to the Chinese students in the school. It was perhaps the only school back then that provided a bilingual education. This proved a valuable asset to students who could benefit from the growth of the region while retaining a sense of rootedness to their community.
21st Century Competencies
3. Our educational mission today remains the same as when this school was founded. It is to provide all Singaporeans opportunities to develop their capabilities, skills and knowledge. It is to provide them the wherewithal to improve their lives, contribute actively to families and society. It is to help them cultivate good values and sound beliefs for life.
4. While the mission remains timeless, our education system must evolve as society and indeed the world at large changes. New demands have been put on our children as they enter the workforce or live in a more complex and networked world. We must maintain our standards in literacy, numeracy and language competencies. But we also need to equip students with better communication skills, ability to lead teams and handle different people from varied backgrounds. Sound values will always be needed to underpin these skills and knowledge. Our students must possess integrity, compassion, civic and global responsibility, for them to live productive lives and build a wholesome society.
Laying the Foundation
5. This is similar to the foundation Mr Gan Eng Seng tried to lay for the school, which was to develop students who would give their very best in whatever they undertook. Over the years, through the leadership of the various principals and commitment of the teachers, the school has built upon this foundation to produce eminent alumni with a heart for public service. These include Dr Yeo Ning Hong, former Minister for Communications and Second Minister for Defence, and, Dr Khoo Kay Chai, former Principal of Singapore Polytechnic. Today,
Collaboration with Partners
6. Each school requires the unwavering support from all its stakeholders to fulfill its mission and potential. Undoubtedly, the partners of GESS have played a key role in its progress. The School Advisory Committee (SAC) and the Old Students’ Association or GESSOSA, as it is fondly called, are two such partners who have given of their support both in terms of resources and time to participate in the school’s events. The Gan Eng Seng School Parent-Teacher Association (
Tradition of Commit
9. On this 125th anniversary, we acknowledge the good progress and achievements that
10. I understand that the school has revised its mission, vision and values as part of the regular review that all organisations undergo to stay relevant. I believe these will serve as a reliable compass for Gessians to become active and responsible citizens of both
11. In conclusion, I would like to wish all staff, Gessians and their partners continued passion and commitment to the tradition they have inherited and which they will enrich over the coming years.
12. Thank you.