SINGAPORE - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong sent a condolence letter on Monday to the widow of the late founding principal of National Junior College (NJC), Singapore's first junior college.
Mr Lim Kim Woon, 81, had died from poor health on Saturday evening.
In the letter to Madam Fong Chen Phin, PM Lee said Mr Lim, his former principal, had "helped to build up our education system from scratch, and nurtured generations of students and teachers".
Prior to his tenure at NJC which began in 1969, Mr Lim had taught at Chinese High School and Tanjong Katong Secondary School, and was later posted to Teacher's Training College, a predecessor of the National Institute of Education.
Mr Lee said Mr Lim belonged to the pioneer generation of educators and "played an important role training teachers to staff our schools and prepare Singaporeans for jobs in our young economy".
PM Lee was in NJC's pioneer batch, while his wife Ho Ching was in the second batch.
Mr Lim pursued high academic standards, said Mr Lee, but also paid attention to his students beyond their academic performance, and inspired many with his dedication and integrity.
"We too were inspired by his energy, enthusiasm, and concern for our well being and moral upbringing. He left a deep impression on us all, and we stayed in touch with him for decades," he said.
PM Lee said he once organised a retreat at the National Youth Leadership Training Institute, now known as the National Community Leadership Institute, which was led by Mr Lim in 1980.
The retreat was meant for Teck Ghee activists, but Mr Lim showed up.
"He said he wanted to listen to me speak, to see how well I did," said Mr Lee. " It was still the old principal in him, interested in his students and assessing them with a critical eye."
Mr Lee added that he had hoped to see Mr Lim at NJC's 45th anniversary dinner last month. The latter had missed the dinner due to his poor health.
Mr Lim suffered a stroke in 2010 and was hospitalised two months ago for a chest infection. His condition worsened in the last two weeks.
Said PM Lee: "Sadly Mr Lim has left us, but his memory will live on in the educational institutes he built up, and the lives of the students he touched."