SINGAPORE - Miss Noorul Wasima, 23, had a place to study law in Britain after getting her A Level examinations in 2015, but her passion for the Tamil language led her to apply to be a teacher instead.
Her decision led to a conflict that lasted four months with her father, who preferred her to study law and had tried to dissuade her from becoming a teacher.
But he eventually turned around to her decision when she enrolled in National Institute of Education in 2015.
His pride in her only grew when Miss Wasima was awarded the Best NIE Trainee Teacher Award at the Most Inspiring Tamil Teacher's Award on Saturday (Sept 2) afternoon.
The event is jointly organised by Tamil daily newspaper Tamil Murasu, Singapore Tamil Teachers' Union and the Ministry of Education's Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee (TLLPC).
She was one of the 10 recipients at the awards, which started in 2002 and is supported by the Singapore Tamil Teachers' Union. The awards recognises the work of outstanding Tamil teachers as being role models and educators.
Miss Wasima said the award affirmed her decision to pursue her passion in being a Tamil teacher. "There were times during my teaching attachments where I doubted myself. But winning the award affirmed that I was on the right track in life, for me and my family as well."
Three lifetime achievement awards were given to retired Tamil teachers who had contributed to the teaching of the language over the course of their lives.
One of them, Mr A. Ramasamy, 84, contributed to the first primary school Tamil textbooks written in the 1960s, which set the foundations for the Tamil syllabus in the decades to come.
"It took me and the other three co-writers three years to complete six textbooks and six workbooks," he said. "We weren't trained to write textbooks. But we wanted to do so to write textbooks in a Singapore context because we used to get them from Malaysia and Indonesia."
Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng said in his speech at the event that the passion these teachers have shown are essential in inspiring students to love the language.
"They are not only nurturing our students with critical, inventive thinking through the languages, but also enabling our students to convey their ideas confidently in both written and spoken forms," he said.