SINGAPORE: Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said it's important to encourage children to pursue their dreams, no matter what these are as this will encourage them to become lifelong learners.
Mr Heng said this at the opening of Montfort Secondary's new campus on Saturday, where he also officiated Montfort Schools' 97th Founder's Day.
He said: “A child does not learn and grow in silos. If he finds joy and fulfilment through learning in one area, he will be more likely to find joy learning in other areas".
The school underwent extensive upgrading works as part of the Education Ministry’s (MOE) Programme for Rebuilding and Improving Existing Schools (PRIME).
The project, which was completed in 2011, cost S$23 million. Of this, 95 per cent was funded by MOE, while the school's management committee and alumni raised S$2.1 million.
But some suggested the ministry take the full cost of the project, as schools like Montfort Secondary are starting to see donor fatigue.
The committee’s chairman, Chua Cher Choon said: "The government ideally should fund 100 per cent of the standard items, while we look for the 100 per cent to fund the non-standard items. I think that's a fair deal.
“It's harder and harder to fundraise for brick and mortar. It's much easier to raise money for programmes – for enrichment, even like our niche sport is badminton, so if we go and raise more money to strengthen the programme for our badminton players that will probably go down better."
Mr Chua, who graduated from Montfort Secondary in 1962, said the money tends to come from the same people – the school's former students.
"During our time, our boys start from primary one, to pre-university, so that special affiliation, that attachment to the school is more compelling. We now have situations where the boys leave in Primary Six. If they do well once they get employed, they probably don't think Montfort, they think of the school they were last in," he said.
Mr Chua said feedback from other schools within the St Gabriel’s Foundation, which Montfort Schools is part of, has been similar.
In response, MOE said the contribution of aided schools towards development costs have been reduced significantly - from 50 per cent in 1982, to five per cent today. - CNA/ck
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