US President Barack Obama famously once said, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
Indeed “Change” is the buzzword for schools in Singapore right now. This change is what our Minister for Education (Schools) Mr Ng Chee Meng calls “A Collective Paradigm Shift towards Holistic Education”. It is a change we need - to respond to changing global and domestic demands, a change that heralds new opportunities and signals new challenges, a change that requires both parents and schools to work in tandem to change old mind-sets and create a better balance in our children’s educational journey.
Throughout 2016, we at Zhonghua Primary, have been supporting and advocating for this change. We reflect deeply and ask ourselves what we have to do differently in order to better prepare our children for the uncertain future. For this Change to take place, we need to look beyond preparing our children for examinations and beyond an overemphasis on academic results. These are important - but they are neither complete nor holistic. Our children need more and deserve more.
What do our pupils need to be future-ready? Importantly, they need to be grounded in the right values and attitudes, build qualities and competencies that will help them be ready for work and life. They will need to be adaptable and resilient to face challenges and changes ahead. And just as important, they need to learn to have a sense of belonging to Singapore and to care for the people around them.
The Change we want would not happen if our Teachers are also afraid of change. The fear about changing is that when we change, we fear we may lose something good….. but at Zhonghua we are confident that we will also gain something better for the children. With this belief, we have tried to build a Culture for Change in the way we encourage our teachers to design their learning programmes and be Captains of Active Learning for the children.
We have taken many “first steps” in providing a good, Holistic Education to our pupils. We look forward to having parents, guardians and partners climb the steps hand in hand with us, up this stairway of “Change”, one step at a time, leading and motivating our children confidently as they move towards the future ahead of them.