Thursday, 15 October 2015

Schools should teach students to be more than book-smart: PM Lee

Speaking at the 80th anniversary celebrations of Catholic High School, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong urged schools to inculcate values in students, so they grow up to have good character and not just academic knowledge.
By Hetty Musfirah Abdul Khamid, Channel NewsAsia, 13 Oct 2015

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday (Oct 13) urged schools to inculcate values in students, so they grow up to have good character and not just academic knowledge.

Mr Lee was speaking at celebrations to mark the 80th anniversary of Catholic High School, where he is an alumnus.

He said: “One thing which has not changed is Catholic High’s emphasis on values and character development. That's something timeless and essential and in fact, something which we want all schools to do more because our students should not just be book-smart, but should grow up to be citizens of good character, who will contribute to society and serve fellow Singaporeans.”

Mr Lee also officially launched a set of 12 illustrated books in Chinese, which aims to help younger students understand and learn positive values such as filial piety and perseverance. The series, called the Catholic High School Picture Book Series: Growing Up Years, was created by the school's Secondary Two students. It also contains a prologue written by Mr Lee.

Copies have been distributed to all primary schools, as part of efforts to promote reading of Chinese books among younger children. They are also available at bookstores.

I have fond memories of Catholic High School, and especially my old principal, Brother Joseph Dufresse. So I was very...
Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

PM Lee joins fellow old boys in marking Catholic High's 80th anniversary
By Charissa Yong, The Straits Times, 14 Oct 2015

As a student in Catholic High School's graduating class in 1969, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was put in charge of the school magazine.

The job was not easy, as Mr Lee, then 18, had to look for advertisements and persuade fellow students to contribute articles, which he then had to edit and typeset.

But guided by the principal, Brother Joseph Dufresse Chang, the magazine was published, Mr Lee recalled at a dinner at the Fairmont Hotel yesterday to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the school's founding.

Mr Lee joined about 1,800 old boys in catching up with old friends and former teachers, and reminiscing about their school days.

He noted that his alma mater had been preserved and transformed in the decades since he graduated.

Its old Queen Street campus has been converted into the Singapore Art Museum's 8Q annexe, and the school has moved to Bishan. But for old boys, memories remain.

Mr Lee told guests that when he visited the 8Q building a few years ago, he went to his old third-floor classroom. "The corridors and staircases looked the same as before... We spent many happy hours there and for a little while I was back there, 13 years old, Secondary 1."

Now, a new junior college is being built for students in the Joint Integrated Programme, in partnership with CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School and Singapore Chinese Girls' School. Mr Lee said he was glad the school continues to stay relevant "because the world is not static, and the graduates you produce must keep up with the times".

But what has not changed is Catholic High's emphasis on values and character development, he added.

The school has produced leaders in diverse fields because it is anchored on these values, he noted.

"That's timeless and essential, and something we want more Singapore schools to do more of," he said.

In doing so, students "will not only be book-smart, but will grow up to be citizens of good character who will contribute to society and serve fellow Singaporeans."

The school has also retained an emphasis on bilingualism, he said.

Last night, it launched 12 illustrated books in Chinese titled Growing Up Years, by Secondary 2 students.

Principal Magdalen Soh said these were given to all primary schools to encourage younger pupils to read in Chinese and make learning the language more fun.

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