When Mr Kevin Ang first assumed the post of principal at Bukit View Secondary School in October, he found its culture, history and traditions unfamiliar.
But the school's vision - to be a "dynamic institution that adds value to all" - struck a chord with him.
"It aligns with my personal belief as an educator," said Mr Ang, 42, who is a first-time principal.
He was formerly a vice-principal in Clementi Town Secondary School.
"Every child is different. We have to recognise those differences and their intrinsic worth, and find ways to engage them," said Mr Ang.
He was one of 66 principals who received their letters of appointment from director-general of education Wong Siew Hoong at the Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals at Shangri-La Hotel yesterday.
Mr Ang told The Straits Times he had plans to enhance Bukit View Secondary's Applied Learning Programme that focuses on environmental science and sustainable living.
For example, he said the school would be adding a "makerspace" - a collaborative work space - that would allow students to use their knowledge of clean energy to develop models of solar-powered trucks or cars.
Besides Mr Ang, nine others were first-time principals.
Madam Ratna Kumari, 47, who has been principal of Tampines North Primary School since Dec 17, said her priority is to engage her teachers, pupils and their parents to help her understand how to chart the direction of the school in the months ahead.
She was formerly the vice-principal of Chongzheng Primary School.
VALUES ARE FUNDAMENTAL
Values education is the foundation not only in the child's academic journey, but also personal growth.
MADAM RATNA KUMARI, who has been principal of Tampines North Primary School since Dec 17.
ENGAGING EACH PUPIL
Every child is different. We have to recognise those differences and their intrinsic worth, and find ways to engage them.
MR KEVIN ANG, principal of Bukit View Secondary School since October. '
She added that the "fundamentals", such as character development, were important. "Values education is the foundation not only in the child's academic journey, but also personal growth."
Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, who gave a speech at the ceremony, touched on the Learn for Life movement, which aims to move away from an overemphasis on academic results.
"A major impetus is to shift away from an overemphasis on grades and assessment, and invigorate the classroom through applied and inquiry-based learning," said Mr Ong.
He brought up the example of Tampines North Primary School, which had removed continual assessments (CAs) a few years ahead of the Ministry of Education's announcement of the reduction of assessment load in schools this year.
Said Mr Ong: "At first, parents were sceptical and worried that without CAs, the children would not study hard. But they soon came around when they saw that fewer CAs actually made the students more interested in learning."
He said the school's leaders had developed ways to assess the pupils and gauge their learning outcomes, without relying on CAs and examinations.
"And they will make use of the freed-up time to further improve teaching and learning."