The Value Of Education

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I had an impoverished childhood and saw some of my childhood playmates grow up to a life of poverty and crime. I started working after secondary school to support my family financially, and my job search was an awaking experience — there was a great divide between the educated and the not-so-educated. I was only offered low-level jobs such as clerical work. Management positions were out of reach. It was frustrating. All this left me with an indelible belief on the importance of education. Refusing to be defeated, and determined to chart my own destiny, I attended night classes to continue my education. This belief drove me to start a pre-school, Modern Montessori International (MMI), in 1989. Perhaps because of my childhood, I have a soft spot for children who have fewer opportunities in society — and the best way to help them is through education; ideally from the early years. Education is not only about the imparting of knowledge, it is — more importantly — a character building process and, I believe, the greatest leveller in life.

I continued to pursue my own education while developing MMI, earning two doctorates, an MBA and a fellowship with the Chartered Institute of Marketing while growing MMI into one of the fastest growing pre-school education groups in Singapore and the region. I make sure that MMI fulfils social objectives consistently since the day of its founding. A percentage of its income is committed to charities, mostly to fund children’s education. MMI also operates a community childcare in Singapore for children from poor families by subsidising a significant portion of the school fees. MMI’s CSR efforts have gone beyond Singapore through its recent collaboration with the Singapore International Foundation, where it contributed S$55,000 towards the setting up of a mobile library to promote reading among youths in the Jaffna, Sri Lanka. More than 3,000 children from 38 schools in Jaffna are expected to benefit from this. I remain committed to giving back to society at a personal level and continue to seek ways to help needy children as much as possible.

 


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