Singapore pays a lot of attention to education as the path for children to have "every chance to succeed" regardless of their family background, income level or which school they attend, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sunday.
"In Singapore, it doesn't matter what your starting point in life is. If you work hard, if you have the ability, you can rise," he said at an Edusave award ceremony in his Teck Ghee ward.
These awards reflect both the Government's commitment to education as well his own "personal emphasis that we must pay attention to the education of every child in Singapore," added Mr Lee.
However, he also urged the over 1,000 students receiving awards on Sunday to work hard not just for grades and awards.
Ultimately, he hopes they will grow up to be "good people, responsible citizens and caring Singaporeans".
These Edusave awards recognise not just academic ability but also character and leadership.
The Education Ministry has increased its emphasis in recent years on a values-driven education.
In his Mandarin speech, Mr Lee also reiterated his hope that students would go beyond their school textbooks and learn how to be "hao gong min", or good citizens who care for others and have the right values and civic spirit.
Parents also have an important part to play in inculcating such values in their children and setting a good example, he said.