Principal’s Message 2018
New beginnings and new resolutions are synonymous with every new academic year. In today’s digital era with shifting values, it is pertinent for us to develop a high sense of humility and resilience to embrace it well, in order to “flourish” in our personal and student lives. Mental resilience helps us to accept what is beyond our control, and work around it. When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade.
2018 marks another fulfilling start for us as we make our school vision “Scholars • Leaders” [博学•领袖] a reality, through the dedication and passion of our staff and the support of our partners in education. The delivery of ZH education, guided by our school mission and time-tested motto [礼 义 廉 耻], is grounded on our core performance values of Responsibility, Integrity, Care and Excellence (RICE).
In the 2015 External Validation Exercise, Zhonghua proudly retained its Autonomous School (自治学校) status for another 6 years (2015 – 2020). We were also granted the School Distinction Award (学校优异奖) and recognised for all 5 Best Practices (五项最佳治校奖), namely Teaching and Learning, Student All-Round Development, Character and Citizenship Education, Staff Well-Being and Development and Partnership. In 2017, we achieved another significant milestone in clinching the Singapore Quality Class (新加坡素质奖) and People Developer Standard (人力资源发展标准). Both the Validation Exercise and SPRING certification re-affirmed that we are an institution of excellence not only in the area of the academics, but also in providing a myriad of quality learning experiences for our Zhonghuarians beyond the confine of the classrooms.
Student-centric and Future-ready Curriculum
Recognising the need to be responsive to future trends and smart-city imperatives, our school has been continually conducting curriculum reviews and promoting innovations so as to engage its learners more holistically.
Beginning 2017, our school offers three new GCE “O” level subjects: Music, Computing and Foods & Nutrition. Our future graduands are poised to gain a competitive edge in the fast-developing arenas of aesthetics, robotics, programming and food science. In the pipeline, our school is working on our revised STEAM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Aesthetics-Mathematics) initiatives and school-based Environment Sustainability Education (ESE) for better integration and alignment. Correspondingly, we have also upgraded and added new infrastructural facilities such as the Music Lab, the STEM Hub, the Inno-Room and the Student Centre.
We have also forged sustainable overseas partnerships with top-ranked foreign schools through the Trips-for-Internationalization-Experience (TIE) Programme. This aimed to provide our students with more opportunities to deepen their cultural quotient (CQ, 文化商数). Some of the places that our students have been include Ningbo (China), Taipei (Taiwan), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam), Chiangmai (Thailand), Penang (Malaysia) and Hong Kong. Besides, our AEP (Art Elective Programme, MOE) Unit also embarks on their annual urban-sketching trips to Penang in June. Selected student leaders are nominated to attend the annual International Student Leadership Camp which is also hosted by our counterparts, the top-ranked Chung Ling High School during the July period.
Engaging Supportive Parents and Key Partners
Personally, I am heartened to have met and heard many parents express their appreciation of our teachers and educators. Similarly, I am grateful for the many parents who volunteer at our school through the Parents Support Group (PSG). In this partnership, we ask that there be faith and trust placed in our commitment and integrity to deliver quality outcomes. In recent years, several active members of the PSG came forward to offer their expertise to enrich our curriculum. Mr Ng Teow Koon (President/Asia-Pacific, Side Effects) volunteered his services in the field of virtual reality and animation while Ms Serene Lau (Senior Legal Counsel, Du Pont) had arranged for learning journeys to those cutting-edge manufacturing plants. Prof Chng Wee Joo (Director, NUH Cancer Institute) hosted our science-centric students at the Institute.
We must also acknowledge the two other key pillars in our Zhonghua community. Our School Advisory Committee (SAC) forms the first pillar. Many members of the SAC have stayed with us for many years. Together with the Zhonghua Alumni, the second pillar, they have generously sponsored numerous school projects, awards, bursaries and scholarships to motivate our students and relieve needy students from ised their financial strain. After the screening of the popular Mediacorps-Channel-8 “When the Bell Rings” documentary series《星期二特写：钟声响起时》, we were also heartened by the vehement response of the Alumni with a huge turn-out at the Mid-Autumn-cum-Home-coming Event in September.
Since 2014, we have introduced the Distinguished Speakers Series (杰出的演讲者系列) where we invite key partners to deliver motivational lectures and offer career guidance. In the last 4 years, our Alumni speakers included Dr Desmond Chong (Biomedical Engineering, STI), Ms Jean Foo (accomplished NAC music scholar), Mr Larry Peh (President’s Designer Awardee), Mr Royston Tan (a renowned local film-maker) and Mr Aniq Ahsan (A*STAR Oxford-trained scholar). These platforms have also allowed us to build ties and strengthen the relationship between our present student population and the Alumni.
Enhancing Character and Citizenship Education
In navigating the complex world of work, we are committed to providing a values-based education through the implementation of the enhanced Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) Curriculum. To facilitate this, we have assembled a robust Student Development Team (SDT) comprising the Year Heads and CCE key personnel within the school to synergise efforts across the various domains of National Education, Social-Emotional Learning, Cohort Rapport-Building Platforms, Student Leadership, Cyber-wellness, Civics and Moral Education. In addition to the explicit teaching of the themes that 礼 义 廉 耻 encompass, we have also woven these annual themes into our school-based CCE curriculum.
Research has indicated that practising gratitude increases happiness, life satisfaction and strengthens relationships. Thus, we started our gratitude-in-action (GIA) movement (饮水思源, 感恩图报) alongside the Positive Education initiatives. We need to deepen our sense of gratitude, beyond merely feeling grateful. We also need to express this in action with humility, and do so intentionally, authentically and consistently.
Appreciating the Past and Anticipating the Future
As we evolve and grow with the times, the school remains committed to preserving our positive school culture and leveraging our strengths to bring out ‘Culture in Modernity’ in the rich fabric of our Zhonghua community. Zhonghuarians are anchored with an appreciation of our school spirit, tradition, social and moral mores in this rapidly changing modern landscape [温故知新，展望未来]. Our educators, being skillful and mindful teachers, are reflective practitioners who are committed to honing their craft and passionate about developing the emotive and cultural sensitivities of Zhonghuarians to transcend present-day functionality and utilitarianism.
Thoughts lead to emotions, emotions lead to attitudes and attitudes lead to actions. Action is the final thing that counts. All these repetitive patterns lead to habits and character traits. It is through strength of character [育品德, 创前程] and personal mastery [自强不息] that a student can progress with confidence and optimism.
Life must be lived forward, but it must be experienced backward. While pursuing excellence is a personal priority, it is equally important to care about the society at large and cultivate a sense of fulfilment in paying it forward. We want to see every student find such fulfillment with a broad and deep foundation for his or her lifelong journey.
In conclusion, the school’s many achievements would not have been possible without the sterling dedication of the entire staff, key school partners and supportive parents. Let us undertake the next lap of our journey together, with commitment and conviction!
Student-centric, Staff-valued ZH Community!
Loh Leong Beng
Zhonghua Secondary School
时代会变，校长、老师以及学生也会变。但不会变的是先辈们所传承下来的传统价值观。让我们 以中华的百年校训---“礼义廉耻”为根; 核心价值观 ---“尽责、正直、关爱、卓越”为本，继续让中华在未来培育更多博学多才的领袖。经历2015年校外评估团的全面评估后，中华中学将保留自治学校的地位6年。我们也蝉联学校优异奖，并囊获所有五项最佳治校奖。去年7月，学校也获颁新加坡素质奖和人力资源发展标准。这些殊荣再度肯定了学校的办校方针。