First batch of NIE-trained school counsellors get certs

Ms Abirami Archunan was among six teachers who received the Outstanding Youth in Education Award. Mr Andy Png, who graduated with 15 others in October last year with a Diploma in School Counselling, wants to help students who face problems in differe
Mr Andy Png, who graduated with 15 others in October last year with a Diploma in School Counselling, wants to help students who face problems in different areas of their lives, and to work with them on their learning journey.ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY
Ms Abirami Archunan was among six teachers who received the Outstanding Youth in Education Award. Mr Andy Png, who graduated with 15 others in October last year with a Diploma in School Counselling, wants to help students who face problems in differe
Ms Abirami Archunan was among six teachers who received the Outstanding Youth in Education Award. ST PHOTO: SHINTARO TAY

He studied engineering in university, joined the navy, and worked as a real estate agent before he decided to be a school counsellor.

Mr Andy Png, 38, realised it was what he really wanted to do - to help students who face problems in different areas of their lives, and to work with them on their learning journey.

"When you're still in school, you don't realise that there are students who need help but are not able to talk about it," said Mr Png, who graduated with 15 others in October last year with a Diploma in School Counselling.

He is part of the National Institute of Education's (NIE) first cohort of graduates from the new programme.

Mr Png, who has been working at West View Primary School since his graduation, said he is lucky to have a supportive school environment.

"The school has a very committed and understanding group of school leaders," he said, adding that the environment makes counselling easier.

The 16 new school counsellors, along with 975 new and returning teachers, received certificates and awards at the NIE teachers' investiture ceremony yesterday.

IMPORTANT MISSION

Your mission goes beyond preparing your students for exams. Your mission is to help prepare them for life.

MS INDRANEE RAJAH, Second Minister for Education and Finance, on the role of teachers.

Six young teachers were also awarded the Outstanding Youth in Education Award for inspirational teaching and dedication to their students.

The award was especially meaningful for Ms Abirami Archunan, whose application to join the education service was accepted only on her third try.

"It's like a dream come true for me," she said of the award.

"(Teaching) is exhilarating. Every day, there's something new to look forward to. My pupils make me happy, and when your pupils make you happy, you love what you do."

The 30-year-old CHIJ (Kellock) teacher engages her pupils in an activity she calls "Lunch Bunch", where pupils are paired up randomly to do an activity together during recess.

She started it after noticing pupils forming cliques during mealtimes. She wants them to mix with more of their classmates.

Apart from honouring the achievements of young educators, the award is also to inspire youth to take up teaching as a profession.

Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Education and Finance, who was guest of honour at the event at Nanyang Technological University, said education is more than just the imparting of knowledge.

"Your mission goes beyond preparing your students for exams. Your mission is to help prepare them for life," she added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2019, with the headline 'First batch of NIE-trained school counsellors get certs'. Print Edition | Subscribe