CAREER BOOST FOR NON-GRADS

No degree, but she rose to become principal

Mrs Quek, who has an electronic and computer engineering diploma from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, says "having a degree is not the be-all and end-all, and it's not the only way to learn".
Mrs Quek, who has an electronic and computer engineering diploma from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, says "having a degree is not the be-all and end-all, and it's not the only way to learn".ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

MRS Elaine Quek, 41, almost became an engineer more than 20 years ago after obtaining an electronic and computer engineering diploma.

But she changed her mind after a two-week relief teaching stint at Outram Primary.

Today, she is the principal of Maha Bodhi School.

"When I joined teaching, I wanted to teach and I never thought about being promoted or whether I would be a principal," said the Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate.

Her career choice has paid off.

After completing a diploma in education at the National Institute of Education (NIE), she started working in Bukit View Primary in 1995. She was promoted to become the subject head for science at River Valley Primary in 1999, and became head of department for science in the following year.

In 2005, she became vice-principal of Woodlands Ring Primary and four years later, principal of Chongzheng Primary. She was appointed principal of Maha Bodhi School in December last year.

Mrs Quek makes up for her lack of a degree by learning more from teaching courses at the NIE and overseas attachments.

Asked if she had considered pursuing a degree, she replied: "A degree must serve a purpose. It must be relevant to my work."

She added: "Having a degree is not the be-all and end-all, and it's not the only way to learn.

"It's important that we continue to learn in whatever way possible, especially on the job, and I've honed my skills through my experiences in different schools."

ateng@sph.com.sg