Thank you for your interest in our school. As its 6th Principal, I bring with me 18 years of experience from teaching/leading in secondary schools, a junior college and the Ministry of Education headquarters. As the immediate past Principal, Mr Vasuthevan had articulated before his retirement, the next lap of BVSS’ journey will be one full of opportunities and new developments. I am humbled and excited to build upon the 34 years of my predecessors’ good work to lead the school to cater to the diverse interests and needs of our students, in the hope of fulfilling our school’s vision for them to be Engaged Learners, Empathetic Citizens and Ethical Advocates.
Our school’s mission is to be A Dynamic Institution that Adds Value to All by Valuing Learners, Valuing Learning and Learning Values. Very often, I share this story when I elaborate on how we go about fulfilling our mission: During the 1920s to 1940s, the United States Air Force tried to develop a ‘one-size-fits-all’ fighter plane seat. Engineers spent much time measuring various attributes of existing fighter pilots like height, arm length, hand size and shoulder width, in the hope of arriving at the dimensions of an average fighter pilot. When the seat for this average fighter pilot was constructed, none of the real fighter pilots fit into it comfortably. Worse still, the rigidity of the seat led to pilot errors and plane crashes. In the 1950s, the Air Force repeated the same process with a much larger population size, hoping to arrive at a more accurate set of dimensions of an average fighter pilot. It took a courageous young scientist, Gilbert Daniels, to prove that there was no such thing as average. From research, he found that none of the existing fighter pilots actually fit into the full set of average dimensions that the Air Force had come up with. In fact, he went as far as to say that “it is virtually impossible to find an average pilot not because of any unique traits in this group but because of the great variability of bodily dimensions” and any system designed to fit an average pilot would doom to fail. This discovery led the Air Force to take a radically different design route, which was to fit the environment to the pilot. Adjustable seats were designed so that pilots could adjust the seats based on their own body size, leading to better performance and flight safety.
The above story aptly describes how it is also impossible to design rigid school programmes to fit an average student. Hence, our mission is to be a dynamic institution that has customisable programmes to cater to the interest and needs of our diverse student population.
In Valuing Learners, Positive Education is the approach that BVSS has adopted to develop the individual strengths and personal motivation of students to promote learning. Unlike traditional approaches in which teachers attempt to teach to the average student, Positive Education focuses on the well-being of students through developing tailored goals for each to learn via individual plans to reach their goals, so that they will be motivated to do so.
In Valuing Learning, our dynamic school programmes include the ‘Junior OUtstanding Leaders in Energy for Sustainability (JOULES)’, which is the school’s Applied Learning Programme (ALP) in Clean Energy and Environmental Technology. Our school also promotes Environmental Education to equip our next generation for a resource constrained world through authentic and rich learning environments for students to develop core STEM related skills and be exposed to the role of technology and innovation in sustainable development.
In Learning Values, our school values of Zest, Grit and Gratitude are distinctive additions to the values of Respect, Responsibility, Resilience, Integrity, Care and Harmony (R3ICH) that are taught through the national Character and Citizenship Education syllabus. Both the school and RI3CH values will be developed in students through drama via our Learning for Life Programme (LLP), ‘Living the Values, Learning the Arts’.
This year will be a very special one for Bukit View Secondary School as we celebrate our 35th anniversary. In starting the new school year, I shared with staff as well as students, the following quote from the British poet T. S. Eliot: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.” While there were many experiences, both positive and negative, that 2020 brought through the global pandemic not least, I encouraged staff and students to look forward to 2021 positively and give voice to the many things that we are passionate about and to add value to the things we do. I hope that the collective voices of all of us at Bukit View Secondary School will bring about much Zest, Grit and Gratitude as we celebrate our 35th anniversary.
Best wishes for 2021!
Mr Kevin Ang
Bukit View Secondary School