I am happy to be here today to celebrate the strong partnership between both MOE and SINDA in providing a better education for all students.

As Senior Minister of State for Education and as President of SINDA, I am fortunate to get both perspectives of the collaboration between both organizations towards shared desired outcomes. I am happy to share that both organisations see each other’s work as mutually complementary and the working relationship is strong.

The role of SHGs in Singapore education system

The goal of the Singapore education system is to bring out the best in every student and ensure that every student realises his or her fullest potential, no matter what their starting point is.

The Self Help Groups’ (SHGs) education programmes complement MOE schools to provide a quality, holistic education for all students regardless of their background.

There are good schools, capable school leaders and dedicated teachers in our schools. The wide range of curricula and pedagogy caters to students’ varied strengths and learning preferences, and enables them to develop their talents and interests.

The SHGs play a crucial role in ensuring that all students benefit from the education system and no student is deprived due to family or financial challenges. It is through helping these students that we can level up the academic performance of our students across the board.

The education of every child is also the responsibility of the community. Thus, it is heartening that the SHGs bolster the efforts and objectives of MOE and the day schools. The collaboration between the family, MOE schools and SINDA is key to helping more of our Indian students to reach their maximum potential and do better in school.

Partners in Educational Excellence

Schools

There is an effective working partnership between school, home and the community, and our schools understand the importance of this close relationship. The support from the day schools has certainly contributed to the success SINDA’s core tuition programmes STEP and Project Teach. Let me share with you some examples.

STEP classes are conducted in Sengkang Secondary School four times a week this year. Extra Math lessons are held on Saturdays. The principal Mdm Oen Siew Yock has been very supportive in allowing STEP to use the school premises during these four days. Sengkang Secondary has been a STEP centre for 14 years now. The school also extended its support for SINDA to conduct other student engagement programmes such as the SINDA Junior Challenge, an Inter-STEP centre competition for primary students; and Success Planner workshops, a study skills workshop for Secondary students in STEP.

Woodlands Ring Secondary STEP Centre has been working with SINDA for the past three years. The school has also opened up its premises for STEP classes to be offered four times a week. The principal, Mrs Kok Chwee Kee, and the school management have been highly supportive, especially in facilitating Minister Heng Swee Keat’s visit to the Woodlands Ring STEP Centre earlier this year.

Project Teach too has very positive experiences working with schools. Chong Boon Secondary School has been a pioneer Project Teach [Secondary] centre since 2011. The principal Mr Yeo Querk Heng, vice principal, Mr Wong Jia Wang and the SINDA Liaison officer, Mdm Sakuntala have been very dedicated and supportive of the programme. The programme has benefitted more than 40 students who have seen improvement in their Maths with the additional support.

SINDA Liaison Officers (SLOs)

The SINDA Liaison Officers (SLO) scheme is another initiative that has gained much support from our schools. SLOs and language teachers play a crucial role in helping SINDA reach out to students who need the additional boost. They help to disseminate information on educational and general assistance programmes, encourage students to participate in SINDA’s programmes and activities, and engage parents on how they can support their children better.

It is important for the SLOs to ensure that all Indian students (be they Tamil, Punjabi, Sindhi, Malayalee and all the others) are reached out to, and receive the additional intervention they require. I would like to highlight some SLOs who have been exemplary in their roles.

Mdm Santa Suppiah has been the SLO at St Anthony Primary School since 2010. She has a very close rapport with the tutors and ensures the students attend classes regularly. She motivates students who do well in Project Teach by celebrating their success. Mdm Santa is always willing to share information and provide suggestions for the betterment of the programme.

Apart from her involvement in Project Teach, Mdm Santa has also worked closely with SINDA’s Family division as well as the Community Engagement and Volunteer Management division to organize student and parent workshops. She also recently attended the Project Teach Focus Group discussion and shared her views on the programme.

Mdm Rosina Bakam, SLO at East View Secondary has supported SINDA’s Senior Victory (SV) programme since 2008. Mdm Rosina took over as the school’s coordinator for the programme in 2011 and plays a key role in ensuring the programme’s success.

Besides working closely with the coordinator and facilitator from SINDA to ensure that her students get the maximum benefit from programme, she also actively encourages her students to attend other SINDA Youth programmes such as Camp Arise that will complement the SV programme.

Mdm Rosina is also very involved in the Project Teach (Sec) programme. She even calls up every student who can benefit from the programme to encourage them to attend Project Teach classes in her school.

On behalf of SINDA I would like to sincerely appreciate and thank all the schools that support our programmes, the school principals and management, Centre Principals and SLOs. You are an integral part of the SINDA network and play a key role in the success of our programmes, and ultimately the success of our students.

Many students benefit from these good partnerships between schools and SINDA. Let me share one such example before I end.

Jagdish from Admiralty Secondary School has been in Woodlands Ring STEP for three years now. He is wheelchair bound and is visually challenged. His STEP tutor, Mrs Anjalai Devi has been extremely supportive in helping him cope with his condition. As he is wheelchair bound, she helps him to copy what he has written to the board, so that Jagdish feels included during sessions and this has encouraged him to participate more confidently.

She also helps him to copy information from the board into his book when he can’t see the words on the whiteboard clearly. His school has also made special transport arrangements for him to get to SINDA classes easily from school. Jagdish has become more confident and his family also feels that his self-esteem has improved, along with his grades in English, Math and Science. This is only one example, and I’m sure there are many more students out there who can share testimonies on how they have benefited from dedicated teachers, and the successful collaboration between schools and SINDA.

Conclusion

I would like to thank the schools, CPs and SLOs once again for their dedication and support for SINDA’s programmes. I also want to take the opportunity to congratulate the school principals, SLOs and educators who have been honoured today. I would strongly encourage more such collaboration and meaningful partnership between schools and SINDA, so that more of our students benefit and do well. Thank you.