My name is Victor Owyong and I have been appointed as the Principal of Geylang Methodist School (Secondary) with effect from 15 December 2021. I feel honoured and count it a blessing to be given this opportunity to serve and lead at Geylang Methodist School (Secondary). I invite you to find out more about our school as you scroll through our website. GMS(S) was founded in 1924 and has a long and rich history of 98 years in 2022. Learn more about the strong team of dedicated staff behind the excellent programmes. The GM team is united in our belief that every child is teachable and we affectionately call our students our GEMS as each one of them is so precious. The acronym GEMS also encapsulates our school values of Godliness, Excellence, Mastery and Service. Our vision is to develop our students into Passionate Learners, Courageous Leaders and Caring Citizens.
Over the years from the different lenses of being in the classroom as a student, a teacher and a principal, I have experienced and witnessed how Education in Singapore has grown from strength to strength and has continually evolved to better meet the needs of students and prepare them for the future ahead. In this current Learn for Life phase of Education, MOE seeks to prepare our students for an increasingly complex, interconnected and tech-driven world. The initiatives we have implemented include strengthening the digital literacy of our students through learning with a Personal Learning Device (PLD) at the Secondary level. GMS(S) has embarked on the journey of learning with a PLD since 2021. Another important initiative is the Full Subject-Based Banding (FSBB). Full SBB is part of MOE’s ongoing efforts to nurture the joy of learning and develop multiple pathways to cater to the different strengths and interests of our students. Full SBB will be progressively implemented in secondary schools from 2020 to 2024 and GMS(S) will be starting our Full SBB journey in 2022.
Under Full SBB, Secondary 1 students will be in mixed form classes where they can interact with peers of different strengths and interests. With Full SBB, we are moving towards a secondary school education where students learn each subject at the level that best caters to their overall strengths, interests and learning needs. Under Full SBB, MOE will expand Subject-Based Banding (SBB) beyond the four PSLE subjects, to allow eligible students to offer Humanities subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 2. Other subjects such as Art, Design and Technology, Food and Consumer Education, PE, CCE and Music will be offered as an accompanying set of Common Curriculum subjects at lower secondary.
In GM, we aspire to develop every GEM into passionate learners. Our focus is on improving our rigorous and relevant curriculum and working with our GEMS to foster a positive and self-directed disposition towards learning and addressing learning gaps proactively.
GM has continued to hone its Applied Learning Programme (ALP) and Learning for Life Programme (LLP), which includes Student Leadership, Public Speaking, Critical Inquiry and Values-in-Action. Our ALP in Science for Sustainable Development is listed as an area for Direct School Admission, in addition to 3 of our strengths in CCAs – Badminton, Volleyball and Chinese Dance. Our LLP in Student Leadership has continued to review and improve its structures and processes. In 2019, we introduced Peer Supporters for our students to exercise leadership in looking out for one another; we will continue to work towards Every Student a Peer Supporter.
In addition to a strong foundation and passion in learning, we provide opportunities for students to pursue their interests and aspirations, stretching their understanding and deepening their knowledge through various GEMS Challenges, a milestone programme for the Secondary 3s. Students learn valuable skills planning together and take actual steps to master their area of interest.
Aligned to our vision of developing courageous leaders, the Student Leaders’ Investiture in April officially appoints the year’s Student Council Executive Committee as well as the new Sec 3 Student Leaders and newly appointed Councillors. Outgoing leaders are recognized for their selfless devotion to lead and serve. The investiture serves as a platform to honour the courage and commitment of students who heed the call to serve.
In Semester 1, various training programmes are in place to build and develop the leadership capacity of our students. Cohort leadership training is for the Secondary 1s and 2s to develop their individual leadership capabilities and prepare them for future leadership roles. Training sessions are for different segments of the student leaders: Class Chairpersons, Vice-Chairpersons, CCA leaders, House Committee members, Student Council members and House Committee Exco.
We continue to inspire our GEMS to look beyond themselves and care for people around them. With this focus, our Values-In-Action programmes are intentional and purposefully designed to develop in GEMS a compassionate heart and insightful mind to make a difference to the community that they are in. Secondary 1s are exposed to environmental needs and issues. Secondary 2s examine the needs of the elderly in the community around them. As students progress to the Upper Secondary levels, they focus on understanding societal needs and identify areas of national concerns that they wish to champion for the good of society. This culminates in a Capstone Project in Sec 4/5 where students integrate their competencies built over the years and strive to be advocates of social change.
Strengthening our Culture of Care
I give thanks to God for the strong culture of care that undergirds everything we do in GMS(S). Over the last two years of the fight against Covid-19 around the world, there has been a growing awareness that the mental well-being of everyone has been affected. MOE has emphasised the importance of addressing the well-being of both students and staff and is implementing various programmes for this purpose. Our Education Minister Mr Chan Chun Sing has also enlisted the help of Parent Support Groups to support efforts towards the mental well-being of students. Indeed we value the partnership of parents and moving forwards, we seek to build on your strong support of our staff. When our staff are adequately rested, encouraged and feel cared for, they will be able to give of their very best to care for our students and to work with parents. This virtuous cycle of mutual care is expressed beautifully in a philosophy that originated from African culture – Ubuntu. One definition states that Ubuntu is the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others.
It takes a whole village to raise a child. Let us together work to fulfil our school mission “With God’s help, to be a beacon of light by connecting, nurturing and inspiring GEMS to make a difference.”
To God be the Glory!
Mr Victor Owyong