SINGAPORE - 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 on Tuesday (May 31) at the opening of the Teachers' Conference 2016 - the eighth in an biennial series - which was attended by about 2,000 educators at the Singapore Expo.
He said: "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."
He added: "Nations will rise or fall in importance and fortune based on the quality of its human capital - especially for an island state with no natural resources."
He 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 (AST) under the Ministry of Education, allows teachers to network, share insights gleaned from research and discover resources available to them for enhancing students' learning.
This year's two-day meeting is themed Maximising Learning: Engage. Collaborate. Inspire. Over the two days, there will be 79 learning sessions with 222 presenters and 98 participating educational organisations.
There are also a total of 24 learning booths, with organisations such as local museums, language institutions and other educational organisations 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 Language 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 shape their mindsets. It can't be something that is top-down."
Educators from abroad such as Australia, Hong Kong and the United States are also attending the conference.