Schools, especially those with students who have done well, should imbue them with the spirit of service, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.
Mr Lee was speaking at an event marking the 80th anniversary of the CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School.
He said that while the students may have succeeded through talent and hard work, they also had to realise that this is possible because they live in a society with a meritocratic system that rewards them for their abilities and develops them to their potential, one that cheers those who succeed instead of cutting them down.
"It is right that you give back to society, and strengthen the system that has enabled you to succeed," he said.
Mr Lee also affirmed that Special Assistance Plan schools like St Nicholas remained an important part of the education system in developing students with a deep understanding of Chinese culture. But he urged them to learn to understand and relate to other ethnic groups.
He said: "If we do it well, it gives us a unique strength - a deep understanding of one's culture, within a multicultural context - which will enable you to continue maintaining harmony in Singapore, and also to thrive in a globalised world."
Mr Lee officially opened the rebuilt campus of CHIJ St Nicholas Girls' School at Ang Mo Kio Street 13. Its new facilities, funded mainly by the Government, include an indoor sports hall and music and dance studios.
He said the Government is rebuilding old campuses and investing in upgrades, while encouraging schools to come up with creative ideas to improve their facilities.
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