Published on 22 Sep 2023

Be bilingual and the world is your oyster

Singapore’s bilingual policy and education give its citizens an edge in navigating  the modern world while preserving their roots and heritage. 

And with a strong foundation, the  world will be our children’s oyster, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee  Rajah said at last Saturday’s Most Inspiring Tamil Teacher’s award  ceremony.

In her speech before 200 teachers at the Umar Pulavar Tamil Language Centre, t he Second Minister for Finance and

National Development recalled the views of the late founding prime minister  Lee Kuan Yew.

“He said that while English connected us to the world and was needed for  trade, our Mother Tongue languages gave us the means to tap the rich heritage  that our culture offers,” said Ms Indranee.

She also said educators remain strongly rooted in core values in the face  of uncertainties and continue to give
their best in nurturing the coming generations – “just like how banyan trees  stand strong and spread their canopy

with aerial roots over a large piece of land”.

Jointly organised by Tamil Murasu,  the Singapore Tamil Teachers’ Union and the Ministry of Education’s Tamil  Language Learning and Promotion Committee (TLLPC), the award has  been conferred on top-tier Tamil language educators since 2002.

Nine award recipients, including two for lifetime achievement and one for  best trainee teacher, were honoured this

Primary school:
■ Ms Harunnisha Mohamed Jamaludeen, 44, Kuo Chuan Presbyterian Primary  School
■ Ms Kayal Vili Pugalendi, 41, Zhangde Primary School
■ Ms Usha Krishnasamy, 44, North View Primary School

Secondary school:
■ Ms Azmed Beevi Abdul Kalam, 42, Serangoon Garden Secondary School
■ Ms Mageswari Salverraju, 41, Yishun Town Secondary School
■ Ms Shamini Raja Kumar, 44, Tampines Meridien Junior College


While Ms D. Piriyadarisini won the NIE Best Tamil Teacher Trainee Award,  Senior educators Anjappan Sinna Konar and A Mallika received the lifetime  achievement awards.

Ms Mallika, who said she was moved and felt honoured, paid tribute to her father  who inculcated in her strong moral values and a passion for the Tamil language.

Source: Tabla © SPH Media Limited. Permission required for reproduction 

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