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Preparing students to face the unknown
PUBLISHED ON 27 Mar 2018
Singapore’s education systems have to evolve to recognise the diversity of strengths and talents amongst the young, in order to help them pursue their passions said Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Mr Ong Ye Kung.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Association for International Education (APAIE) 2018 conference on 26 March 2018, Mr Ong pointed out that one of the key functions of education is to produce workers for the economy and industrialisation has an impact on how education is being delivered.

“40 years ago, we knew what our economic strategy was, which was to attract MNCs to Singapore, as foreign direct investments to set up factories and provide jobs. And we knew what we had to do to the education system in response to this, which was to educate our young to possess the knowledge and skills demanded by the MNCs. That was a straightforward equation. Today, we don’t even know what jobs of the future will look like. Industries are creating new job titles all the time, and new ways of organising work,” remarked Mr Ong.

As such, it will be “foolish to think that the old way of planning education will continue to be effective,” he added.

To better prepare students for the future, Mr Ong said the Ministry of Education has embarked on several reforms such as doubling down on making education holistic, moving to wider scoring bands for PSLE, a renewed emphasis on Applied Learning and expanding aptitude-based admissions in universities, polytechnics and ITEs.

“We must now foster human ingenuity and resilience so that our children will grow up and thrive in an environment we cannot yet fully fathom or discern,” he emphasised.

Mr Ong also underscored the importance of lifelong learning, highlighting how Institutes of Higher Learning are increasing courses for adult workers and that SkillsFuture will encourage adult workers to pursue multiple pathways in their lifetime. 

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