Tamil teachers lauded at award ceremony

Miss Noorul Wasima, 23, won the Best NIE Trainee Teacher Award at the Most Inspiring Tamil Teacher's Award ceremony yesterday.
Miss Noorul Wasima, 23, won the Best NIE Trainee Teacher Award at the Most Inspiring Tamil Teacher's Award ceremony yesterday.PHOTO: TAMIL MURASU

Miss Noorul Wasima, 23, had a place to study law in Britain after getting her A-level examination results 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 came round to her decision when she enrolled in the National Institute of Education (NIE) that same year.

His pride in her grew when Miss Wasima was awarded the Best NIE Trainee Teacher Award at the Most Inspiring Tamil Teacher's Award ceremony yesterday afternoon.

The event was jointly organised by Tamil daily newspaper Tamil Murasu, Singapore Tamil Teachers' Union and the Ministry of Education's Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee.

She was one of the 10 recipients of the awards, which were launched in 2002 to recognise the work of outstanding Tamil teachers as role models and educators.

Miss Wasima said the award affirmed her decision to pursue her passion as a Tamil teacher.

"There were times during my teaching attachments when I doubted myself. But winning the award affirmed that I was on the right track in life, for me and my family as well."

Madam Santhalingam Kalpana, 35, picked up an award in the secondary school category.

She said: "Teaching Tamil is a challenge because students are not used to speaking the language at home. I've found that making use of technology, such as setting online quizzes that they can answer using their mobile phones, have helped them become interested in the language."

Three lifetime achievement awards were given to retired teachers who have contributed to the teaching of the language over the course of their careers.

One of them, Mr A. Ramasamy, 84, played a part in writing the first primary school Tamil textbooks in the 1960s, which set the foundation for the Tamil syllabus in the decades that followed.

"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 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 the teachers have shown is essential in inspiring students to love the language.

"They are not only nurturing our students in critical, inventive thinking through the languages, but also enabling our students to convey their ideas confidently in both the written and spoken forms," he said.

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 03, 2017, with the headline 'Tamil teachers lauded at award ceremony'. Print Edition | Subscribe