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Speech at 42nd College Day of National Junior College

Mr Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Manpower, The National Junior College School Hall

Mr Heng Chye Kiou,
Chairman, NJC School Advisory Committee (SAC)

Mr Lim Chin Hong,
President, NJC Alumni

Mrs Virginia Cheng,
Principal, NJC

Staff and students of NJC, both past and present

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon.

  1. As an NJCian, I am very happy to be back at my alma mater today to commemorate her 42nd College Day. It is a timely occasion to celebrate the College's achievements and the good work of all its stakeholders.
  2. The NJC has seen many changes since I was a student here at the college. However, there is one constant fundamental that never changes. And that is, the best interests of every NJCian's education and development always lies at the heart of every programme and innovation. They seek to enhance the learning experience of students to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills, nurture the right values, and strengthen their character.
  3. Having served in both the Education and Manpower Ministries, I have come to deeply appreciate how Singapore's education and manpower policies work hand-in-hand towards honing a globally competitive and productive workforce. Our schools provide every Singaporean an all-round, high-quality education, regardless of race or family background. We help every student develop his full potential and lay the foundation for successful careers in the future.
  4. There is now also greater emphasis on cultivating "21st Century Competencies" such as Civic Literacy and Global Awareness. NJC's Integrated Programme is an excellent example. I understand that all students in the programme have the opportunity to enhance their cross-cultural awareness and communication skills through living together in a vibrant boarding programme.
  5. Such skills are difficult to be taught explicitly. NJC has customised its programmes so that NJCians acquire these skills through both the curriculum and co-curriculum programmes. This helps to develop the future generation of a productive workforce that is skilled, dynamic and flexible in meeting the challenges in this fast-changing world.
  6. Learning cannot stop after completing your formal education in our schools. It also does not stop after you have graduated from university. For us to remain relevant, we must continue our learning journey through Continuing Education and Training or what we call the "CET". We must nurture a spirit of life-long learning. The Government will be investing $2.5 billion over the next 5 years in CET to help Singaporeans remain globally competitive and relevant.
  7. With a solid foundation in both hard and soft skills, I am optimistic that Singaporeans today can confidently engage the world and succeed in the global arena.

    Refreshed Governance and Society (GS) Curriculum
  8. At the opening of The Oasis earlier, I had launched the refreshed Governance and Society (GS) Curriculum. I understand that the GS Curriculum was first introduced in 2004 as part of NJC's Integrated Programme. It gives NJCians greater insight into Singapore's own principles of governance and policies by studying and evaluating different political systems in the region and worldwide. The GS Curriculum in 2011 will continue to drive such civic engagement and awareness, and active citizenry among NJCians.

    Learning On the Move (LOTM) Heritage Trails
  9. I also had the privilege of launching the new Learning on the Move (LOTM) Interactive Heritage Trail earlier on. Built around the theme of NJC's history, I was informed that it is one of five trails to be borne out of a collaborative initiative between NJC and the Info-communications Development Authority of Singapore (IDA). A student showed me just now how students can use mobile devices to add their experiences or reflections about the trails to the original database created by the teacher. This empowers the students to become active content developers too. Students can even create their own trails to bring their families and friends on the trail.
  10. I understand that this is an innovation which evolved from NJC's signature Cultural Mapping Trails - aptly named Home@Bukit Timah. The benefits of these trails go beyond the college and extend to local schools, the local community and even overseas visitors. They are useful learning tools on the locality's history and can also spur the people's interest in finding out more about other parts of Singapore. These trails also reinforce Singaporeans' sense of belonging and identity. I commend NJC for developing these Cultural Mapping Trails which will benefit many.
  11. I am proud to note that such innovations and initiatives have made NJC a leader in National Education in Singapore. This is also in line with the College's desired outcome of the "21st Century Learner" who is a confident and self-directed learner, active contributor and above all, a concerned citizen.

    Award Winners
  12. Today's prize winners embody these qualities. Lim Jia Ying, the top student of the Junior High wing and first recipient of the new "JH All Round Excellence Award", showed her sense of service and adventure by participating in a community service trip to Cambodia. Similarly involved in such community service abroad, Student of the Year Oon Yee Jeng is another all-round NJCian with a global outlook. Ably balancing her studies and co-curricular commitments, this President of the Student Council exemplifies the true spirit of "Service With Honour".

  13. Congratulations, Jia Ying and Yee Jeng. Let's give them a round of applause. You have indeed done well and made your parents and your teachers proud.
  14. I also offer my congratulations to all staff, students, the SAC members, parents' associations and all stakeholders of NJC. The achievements of the College would not have been possible without your dedication and support.
  15. Education is a journey. All of you are partners in this journey. Your contribution and participation will make this journey a rewarding one that will prepare our students and our children well for the future.
  16. I wish all of you the best as you continue your mission to make NJC the "College of the Nation: Home of Scholars and Leaders who Serve with Honour".
  17. Thank you.