'Critical role for teachers' in shaping nation's future

Education is a key factor and teachers play a critical role in shaping the nation's future, said Mr Ng Chee Meng, Acting Minister for Education (Schools) and Senior Minister of State for Transport.

He was speaking yesterday at the opening of the two-day Teachers' Conference 2016 - the eighth in a biennial series - which was attended by about 2,000 educators at the Singapore Expo.

"As we embark on the next 50 years of our journey as a nation, it is my belief that teachers will continue to play a critical role in shaping our national identity and destiny.

"Nations will rise or fall in importance and fortune based on the quality of their human capital - especially for an island state with no natural resources."

Mr Ng noted that to preserve Singapore's safety, economic vibrancy and relevance, "we must keep our eyes on education".

The conference, organised by the Academy of Singapore Teachers under the Ministry of Education, allows teachers to network, share insights from research and discover resources available to enhance students' learning.

This year's meeting is themed Maximising Learning: Engage. Collaborate. Inspire.

There are 79 learning sessions, 222 presenters and 98 participating educational organisations. The event also has 24 learning booths, with organisations such as local museums and language institutions offering their services to enhance learning experiences.

Mr Ng stressed that schools "must find the balance between what can be measured - grades - and what can only be observed: values and character".

Madam Audrey Lim, a school staff developer and Primary 5 English teacher at Canossa Convent Primary School, said: "More teachers are beginning to see that it's beyond the grades. They realise it's important to make sure students have the correct values, attitudes and habits that will see them through life.

"The conversations that teachers have with one another are important to shaping their mindsets. It can't be something top-down."

Educators from countries such as Australia and the United States are also attending the conference.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 01, 2016, with the headline ''Critical role for teachers' in shaping nation's future'. Print Edition | Subscribe