A degree is not the only path to success.

No degree, but she rose to become principal

source :  No degree, but she rose to become principal; Published on Aug 27, 2014

By Amelia Teng

MRS Elaine Quek, 41, almost became an engineer more than 20 years ago after obtaining an electronic and computer engineering diploma.

But she changed her mind after a two-week relief teaching stint at Outram Primary.

Today, she is the principal of Maha Bodhi School.

“When I joined teaching, I wanted to teach and I never thought about being promoted or whether I would be a principal,” said the Ngee Ann Polytechnic graduate.

Her career choice has paid off.

After completing a diploma in education at the National Institute of Education (NIE), she started working in Bukit View Primary in 1995. She was promoted to become the subject head for science at River Valley Primary in 1999, and became head of department for science in the following year.

In 2005, she became vice-principal of Woodlands Ring Primary and four years later, principal of Chongzheng Primary. She was appointed principal of Maha Bodhi School in December last year.

Mrs Quek makes up for her lack of a degree by learning more from teaching courses at the NIE and overseas attachments.

Asked if she had considered pursuing a degree, she replied: “A degree must serve a purpose. It must be relevant to my work.”

She added: “Having a degree is not the be-all and end-all, and it’s not the only way to learn.

“It’s important that we continue to learn in whatever way possible, especially on the job, and I’ve honed my skills through my experiences in different schools.”



Image -> Fabrications Led by Opposition Parties (FLOP)



Overheard :

  • I wonder why it is so difficult for people to understand what the government is saying. The government isn’t saying anything about the unimportance of a degree.

    What the government is saying is that a degree is not the only path to success. They are saying that there are many pathways to success.


  • A country cannot be made up of university graduates alone. Neither can it be made up of technical people alone. It needs both.

    There are many pathways to success. The shortest and quickest pathway to a degree may not be for everyone because not everyone is academically inclined.

    There are other pathways for people who are more of the hands-on type, who excel in this way and these people can also succeed if they are willing to work hard and learn through experience gained. They may eventually also get a degree but it is a different pathway to a degree. Some may not get a degree but they may acquire other qualifications and certifications that comes from training opportunities that make them experts in their fields.

    What is important is that there is a system that allows every person to realize his potential and opportunities for betterment to move upwards.

    Maybe some people expect universities to be shut down following the government’s shift to focus on ITE and poly.

Reference : 

  • Aspire Report  <-

    The Government accepts the recommendations of the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) Committee to further strengthen Singapore’s applied education pathways, provide more opportunities for Singaporeans to realise their full potential and aspirations, and to support better alignment of the supply of and demand for skills, so that Singapore will continue to prosper and be a land of hope and opportunity for everyone in the years ahead.



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