While teaching gives Ms Christine Hor a deep sense of satisfaction, she finds policymaking at the Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Policy Branch at the Ministry of Education (MOE) just as rewarding. This is because the 28-year-old has a hand in developing policies that reflect the evolving needs of the economy.
“The introduction of new admission routes, such as Early Admissions Exercise, Polytechnic Foundation Programme and Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme, has made educational pathways more diverse and porous,” she says. “I wanted to be part of this change and thought that it would be exciting to learn more about the higher education space.”
Prior to joining MOE Headquarters as a senior head of higher education policy, Ms Hor taught chemistry, lower secondary science and maths at Punggol Secondary School. As an MOE Overseas Merit Scholarship (Teaching) awardee, she has the opportunity to rotate jobs within the ministry every two to three years to develop a better understanding of how policies are crafted and implemented.
The scholarship has since been renamed as the Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Teaching Service).
Ms Hor has a Master of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Honours (First Class) from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. She chose to study overseas to gain new perspectives on the British education sector while learning about different cultures.
“Imperial was one of my top choices as it is known for its academic rigour and offering research opportunities,” she says, referring to the university’s undergraduate course.
Joy in helping others
As a junior college student, Ms Hor did peer tutoring, helping schoolmates with their studies. She also volunteered at Salvation Army, where she gave tuition to needy children.
“Through these experiences, I found joy in helping others and felt a great sense of satisfaction knowing that I could help them learn better. Many of them gained confidence and felt empowered to pursue their dreams. This prompted me to consider teaching as a career,” she says.
After her A levels in 2009, Ms Hor enrolled in the MOE Teaching Internship Programme to get some experience, and it reaffirmed her decision to join the education sector.
“The most rewarding thing about teaching was to watch my students grow and develop into young adults with good character. I always hoped to make a positive impact on their lives. Even after they graduated, it was a joy to see how they were charting their own paths.”