Former Chief of Defence Force-turned-Education Minister Ng Chee Meng talked down on more than 500 principals and teachers at the Appointment and Appreciation Ceremony for Principals today (Dec 29).
The former army general who has never been a teacher a day in his 25 years-long career in the military, told educators that they should not “intervene too early” and that students should be allowed to learn from their mistakes:
“Students need to learn to be resilient and self-reliant, as well as learn from their mistakes. Are we, out of the best intentions, preventing our students from going through setbacks and failures and in the process, learn and build resilience? Perhaps we need to let our students learn from their own mistakes, find their own solutions, and put in the necessary hard work or corrective action to eventually succeed. School leaders, teachers and parents alike, may need to learn how to selectively stand back and be an observer rather than intervene too early.”
Education Minister Ng Chee Meng shares half the education ministry portfolio with Minister Ong Ye Kung, despite having workload not as strenuous as the Transport Ministry or Foreign Affairs Ministry – both which saw major hiccups in recent years.
Minister Ng Chee Meng continued his lecture-speech on the principals and teachers:
“The importance of cultivating in students an attitude of lifelong learning, one that comes from a joy of learning, and of the need to prepare students for an increasingly connected and high-tech workplace to reduce the growing skills gap between what we learn in schools and the jobs (graduates) are applying for. The schools’ Applied Learning Programmes can help prepare our students for the future workplace as they can learn innovation, and nurture an entrepreneurial attitude in their learning.”
Minister Ng Chee Meng was brought in to Parliament through the GRC election system and was fast-tracked to a full ministerial position without any merit. He currently draws S$1.1 million a year alongside another inexperienced Education Minister, with both ministers double taxing the Education Ministry’s ministerial salaries budget. Under the two Education Ministers, two students have committed suicide due to academic stress in 2016. There is also no significant changes in the education system either.