Founders' Day Speech at HCIS

11 March 2022
Published by SCHS
SCHS Chairman Dr Sia Nam Chie delivers speech to HCIS on HCI 103rd Founders' Day
SCHS Chairman Dr Sia Nam Chie delivers speech to HCIS on HCI 103rd Founders' Day

SCHS Chairman Dr Sia Nam Chie delivers speech to HCIS on HCI 103rd Founders' Day. Below is the full transcription of his speech.


今天是我们庆祝母校 – 华侨中学 – 简称 “华中” 的 103 年纪念。我也很高兴看到短片中,大家回顾华中建校的一些历史,还有陈嘉庚先贤为我们带来的贡献。华中在 103 年的历史,大家现在看到的华中,知道它名满天下。


那回到华中国际学校建校 17 年的历史。在这短短 17 年里,大家也可以看到我们已经有了很好的礼堂,还有课室。但是,当初我们建校的时候也是有很多疑问。我们能够吸引到学生吗?会有老师愿意到华中国际学校来教书吗?我们会有资金吗?我们能够建起一栋有课室的大厦吗?但也很幸运的事,我们的董事部,还有热心的校友,他们的坚持,他们的自强,才把华中国际建到今天的地步。


I just spoke about the history of our 103 years of Hwa Chong and 17 years of HCIS. The reason I spoke about the history is because: we should remember our humble beginnings.

Although we are good now, we are strong now, but please stay humble. Look around our surroundings, if there are people who need help, please help them. And of course, with all the good results, can we stay as is? We cannot, because we have to "自强不息", right? So, we cannot rest, 不息. And to do that, we have a lot of plans for HCIS.

For example, expand our facilities, upgrade them; we want to promote Asian Culture; we want to be your life partner; and, one important thing I want to touch on today, is Digitisation.

Now as you know, the whole world is going through a digitalisation. Some people call it the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Now, why do they call it a Revolution? It's there for a reason. Because, the changes are going to be very remarkable. And it's going to hit us in a big way. So we ask ourselves, can HCIS not be part of this digitalisation journey?

The answer is No, the option is not there. We cannot stay out of it. We have to embrace this digitalisation. We have to embrace the changes. And the question is: how?

So, I ask myself three questions. (1) Are our students ready for digitalisation? (2) Are our teachers ready for digitalisation to teach in a digital world? (3) The third question: is HCIS ready to facilitate education in a digital world?

For the students, I think you have about 50% You are quite tech-savvy, you are born in the Internet era, so I give you 50%. I believe the other half of you are probably like me, not so tech-savvy, we have a lot of question marks, what is the world going to be, how do we learn all those skills? For the teachers, I think maybe we have 25%. For the school, maybe 5%.

Now, I'm saying this not in a derogatory way, I'm not here to criticise anybody. So if you notice that the lowest marks is given to the school. And that's because I see myself as part of the leadership in this school. So when the school scored the least, I have to take some responsibility.

Even if we have low scores now, it doesn't mean that we have to score low in the future. We have to do something to change this. So how do we change it? Now, the plans are still being worked out as we speak. But why do we envision the future of the school? Maybe I can paint a little picture for you.

If you are a student, let's say you fall sick, you cannot come to school, does that mean you will miss the lesson? The answer is no. We are going to have teaching scripts recorded so when you recover, you can view them. You can view them, review them, revise and learn. And when you come back to the school, you can seek clarifications with your teachers.

If you are a teacher and you fall sick and cannot come to school. Does that mean we have to find a relief teacher, send the relief teacher to the classroom who cannot relate to the students? And the students look at the teacher, and the teacher look back at the students? The answer is no. Again, we are going to have recorded scripts. Although the teacher may not be there, the teaching can continue.

So you see, your learning environment will not be confined to the classroom. You can learn anywhere, anytime. This is how we envisage it.

You know that we also have a co-managed school in China. If they have a very good teacher who can deliver a very interesting lesson, can we use technology to link you up to these good teachers so that you to learn from them? Also for our teachers, can we learn from them the teaching methods and make it better, and vice versa? If we have very good teachers who can deliver very difficult concepts in a very interesting way, can we share it with the China side? It is a win-win.

And, what if I can tell you: If you want to score 45, full marks for IB, you have to do these, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 steps. And if you do not do want to do these 5 steps, you do only 4 steps, you will score 40. I can predict what you'll score, based on your behaviour, based on how you study. That is something we'd try to do. We can roll out the road map for you. And it'd be your choice. You can choose to score 45 or 40 based on what you want to do.

Of course, to do this, we still have a lot of details to iron out. For example, what kind of data we need to collect? Where do we store the data? How do we analyse the data? How do we safeguard the privacy of all our students and teachers? And how do we help the teachers to build the content in tip-top manner? So that students will find them interesting. The students would like to watch them and listen to them.

So we have to work out a lot of details, and as I've said, the plan is in progress as we speak. And, this is the direction we want to take.

The important point for everyone here is this: to not digitalise is no longer an option. Our real options are how we can go about doing it. We will look forward to you coming on board this digital journey. We will look forward to your constructive feedback, on how we can deliver this in the least painful and least destructive manner. Now, the journey is not going to be smooth-sailing. There will be a lot of discomfort, there will be a lot of changes. Sometimes, you may not like it. But please bear in mind, the whole world is doing it, we cannot be left behind.

OK, with that, I will wrap up.

I spoke about our history. I hope we use our very rich and strong history to remind ourselves to stay humble, to help people around us and to use the resiliency and perseverence to scale new heights for the school. And one of the most important thing we need to do is Digitalisation.

With that, thank you everybody.