From 2016, students will have more opportunities to enrol in art and music talent development programmes at the secondary level. To grow the potential and talent of students across a wider range of domains, MOE will:
Extend the Enhanced Art Programme (EAP) and Enhanced Music Programme (EMP) to seven more schools, and
Appoint three schools that are hosting the Art Elective Programme (AEP) or Music Elective Programme (MEP) as AEP or MEP centres. These AEP or MEP centres will accept students from other schools into their respective AEP or MEP.
Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education said: “The Enhanced Art and Music Programmes, as well as the Art and Music Elective Programmes, will enable more students to further develop their passion and talent in art and music. They have more opportunities to learn from artists and musicians, and contribute to the cultural life of the community too. We have recently announced that talented students from any school can enrol in the Junior Sports Academy programme that will be sited in accessible facilities distributed around Singapore. Similarly, with more schools offering the art and music programmes, talented students do not have to travel as far to enrol in these programmes. Through our programmes and efforts, we hope to nurture students to lead purposeful lives and use their talents to benefit their community.”Seven More Schools to Offer EAP and EMP
The two-year EAP and EMP provide an enriched learning environment for Secondary 3 and 4 students inclined towards art and music respectively. All EAP and EMP students will take the GCE ‘O’ Level Art and Music examinations respectively. Beyond the O-level syllabus for Art/Music, students will benefit from exposure to the arts and creative industries in the form of master-classes with artists/musicians, and studio sessions and visits by practitioners for authentic and relevant learning. They will also have opportunities to hold exhibitions and perform at concerts.
Starting from 2016, the EAP will be extended from four to nine schools and EMP will be extended from two to four schools. With that, the EAP and EMP will have a better geographical spread across the island. Talented students interested in these programmes can enrol in one of these schools nearer to their homes. All the seven schools that will start the EAP or EMP by 2017 have good art/music programmes, and are offering the Applied Learning Programme (ALP) and Learning for Life Programme (LLP) with an arts focus. The new schools will receive support from MOE in terms of additional facilities, equipment and teaching personnel. The full list of new and existing schools that host the EAP and EMP are in Annex A.
This initiative to extend the EAP and EMP to more schools will further enhance our students’ access to art and music-related developmental opportunities, and allow students who have talent and interest in art and music to develop stronger mastery and pursue a lifelong interest and learning in these areas.
The EAP and EMP are available to students from Secondary 3 onwards. Interested students must first enrol in a school hosting the EAP or EMP and sign up for these programmes at the end of Secondary 2.Three AEP and MEP Centres to Enrol Students from Other Schools
With the diversity of talents among our students, there may be students with passion and talent for art or music, who are not enrolled in the schools that host the AEP/MEP today. To support these students, National Junior College will operate as an AEP centre, and Dunman High School and Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) will operate as MEP centres for students with passion and talent for art or music from other schools, starting from 2016.
Secondary 1 students in the Express course, who demonstrate passion and talent in art or music, can apply to be an external AEP or MEP students at these AEP/MEP centres by submitting their application through their secondary schools in January 2016.
Shortlisted students will be required to attend a selection test, and selected students will commence their AEP/MEP lessons at their AEP/MEP centres from Term 2 of 2016. Details of the three centres, and the list of existing schools offering the AEP/MEP, are in Annex B.Promoting Holistic Development of Our Students through Art and Music
To promote the holistic development of our students, all primary and secondary students have access to quality art and music programmes. Schools also provide a good range of art and music CCAs, with about 1 in 5 students involved in either an art or music CCA group. The EAP/EMP and AEP/AMP further develop students who have strong passion and talent in art and music. These programmes aim to encourage these students to cultivate a life-long interest in the arts and be equipped with useful lifelong competencies associated with an appreciation of the arts.Footnote
- More details about the AEP can be found at MOE website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/secondary/other/art-elective-programme/ ↩
- More details about the MEP can be found at MOE website at http://www.moe.gov.sg/education/secondary/other/music-elective-programme/ ↩
Speech (in Chinese) by Ms Sim Ann at the Chinese Language Elective Programme (CLEP) 25th Anniversary Luncheon
Nine students from across five Chinese Language Elective Programme (CLEP) centres will receive the inaugural Best Improvement Award. The award will be presented by Ms Sim Ann, Minister of State, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Communications and Information, at the CLEP 25th Anniversary Luncheon on Saturday, 23 May 2015. The list of award recipients can be found in Annex A.
The “Best Improvement Award”, introduced by the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning and sponsored by the Chinese Language and Culture Fund, will be presented to students who are Singapore Citizens and show remarkable improvement in Chinese Language subjects, contribute actively to the CLEP and exemplify good character. Each year, the award will be presented to students from the Pre-U 1 and Pre-U 2 levels in all CLEP centres. Awardees will each receive a cash award of $500.The Chinese Language Elective Programme (CLEP)
The Chinese Language Elective Programme was introduced by the Ministry of Education in 1990 to nurture students who have an aptitude for the Chinese Language so that they can attain a high level of proficiency and enhance their understanding of Chinese Literature. The programme also aims to allow academically able students to become effectively bilingual so as to better serve the needs of our nation. There are currently 5 CLEP centres - Dunman High School, Hwa Chong Institution (College), Jurong Junior College, Nanyang Junior College and Temasek Junior College.The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL)
The Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning (CPCLL), formed in January 2005, aims to garner the support of the community to support the learning of Chinese Language (CL) and to facilitate a continuing process of collaboration between schools, community organisations and the media to create an environment for promoting the use of CL beyond schools. Since its formation, CPCLL has actively organised engaging and interactive activities to enthuse students and develop in them an abiding interest in CL and Chinese culture.
Singapore's Young Research Talents go Global at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2015
The Ministry of Education (MOE), the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and the Science Centre Singapore congratulate the Singapore Team on their performance at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) 2015 held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America (USA) from 10 to 15 May 2015. The Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science fair held annually to provide a platform for top science and engineering talents of different nationalities to showcase their projects. The Singapore team submitted four individual projects and two team projects this year and achieved commendable results at the fair (Refer to Annex A for details of the projects).
Benjamin Tan Kye Jyn, Lim Zheng Theng and Tan Yi Zhao from Hwa Chong Institution found a novel way of embedding silver nanoparticles into membranes used in water purification processes and won the Second Award in the category of Environmental Engineering. Additionally, for their innovation in membrane technology, they were also awarded the Second Life Science Award in the Special Awards Segment. One of the team members, Lim Zheng Theng, shared, “By participating in the ISEF, I’m able to see how I can apply this knowledge in a manner that benefits people and processes. I’m inspired to consider science and engineering research as my future career option.”
Lee Shi Ya Claudia from Raffles Institution studied how the use of peptide-derived hydrogels could be injected into the body for the consistent release of drugs over a specific period of time. For her new method of producing hydrogels, she was awarded the Fourth Award in the Chemistry category. On her thoughts about participating in Intel ISEF, Claudia said, “I feel that science and engineering is very much dependent on the effective exchange of ideas and meaningful collaboration. I value the experience of having the opportunity to discuss and exchange ideas with the judges.”
In their team project, Madhumitha Shridharan and Ren Yuhua from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science developed a method to significantly reduce energy consumption and improve patient comfort to administer a patch test for patients with skin problems. For their innovation, they were awarded the Special Award by the China Association for Science and Technology.
Other individual projects submitted to Intel ISEF were by Tommy Ong Zhi Xian from Raffles Institution, Joel Tan Shi Quan from NUS High School of Mathematics and Science and Ching Yi Jie Preston from National Junior College, whose research projects explored the scientific areas of Microbiology, Physics and Astronomy as well as Biomedical and Health Sciences respectively.
The Singapore Team was chosen from the top awardees in the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) held in March this year. SSEF is a national competition jointly organised by MOE, A*STAR and Science Centre Singapore. The Singapore Team was jointly led by Mr Gary Neo Wei Chung (Curriculum Planning, MOE), Mrs Sow Yoke Keow (Hwa Chong Institution) and Dr Tan Guoxian (Raffles Institution).
As part of the national SkillsFuture movement to provide individuals with opportunities to develop to their fullest potential regardless of their starting points, polytechnic graduates can look forward to refreshing and deepening their skills and knowledge through compressed and enhanced Post-Diploma Certificate (PDC) courses.
From October 2015, polytechnic graduates from the five polytechnics in Singapore who have graduated from a relevant course of study for at least two years will be able to enrol in such Enhanced PDC courses. These Enhanced PDC courses will help refresh and deepen individuals’ industry-relevant skills and knowledge, given that some time would have passed since these individuals graduated from their diploma programmes.
These Enhanced PDC courses will typically be run more intensively to allow individuals to complete them in a shorter duration. The typical duration of the Enhanced PDC courses will be around one to two months. For individuals who did not join related fields immediately after graduation from the polytechnics, they will therefore be able to join the industry that they have trained for faster, and with a set of refreshed skills. The Enhanced PDC courses will be conducted twice a year, with classes starting in July and October of each year. The first run will commence in October 2015.
Students who successfully complete an Enhanced PDC course will receive the same certificate that is issued to students who complete equivalent PDCs that make up part-time Advanced Diploma or Specialised Diploma courses. Enhanced PDCs can be recognised for credit exemption and can count towards attainment of corresponding Advanced Diplomas or Specialised Diplomas should the individual subsequently decide to enrol into the relevant courses (subject to existing course requirements).Course fees for Singapore Citizens undertaking their first Enhanced PDC course to be waived, to encourage first steps toward continual education and training
To encourage individuals to take their first steps towards continual upgrading and lifelong learning, course fees for Singapore Citizens (SCs) undertaking their first Enhanced PDC course will be waived if they have not taken any PDC course previously. These individuals will only need to pay a nominal sign-up fee of $50 to defray administrative costs. SCs who take subsequent Enhanced PDC courses and other post-diploma courses will continue to enjoy the 85 per cent course subsidy provided by MOE.Ten Enhanced PDC courses to be launched as a start
As a start, the polytechnics will be launching 10 of such courses in the areas of applied sciences, maritime, engineering, and information and communications technology. The courses in the pilot phase were chosen carefully to ensure a wide coverage of sectors. Over time, under the joint leadership of polytechnics and the industry, more Enhanced PDCs will be made available for other key growth and priority sectors. Details on the feeder diploma programmes for these Enhanced PDC courses can be found in the Annex.
Congratulations to award recipients and all graduands from the Diplomas in Aerospace Electronics and Aerospace Engineering.
Today, we celebrate the successful completion of your studies at Temasek Polytechnic (TP).
I am honoured to be here with proud parents, family members and friends to witness this significant milestone in our students’ learning journey.The Past to Present - Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence in Education
This year is also of special significance as it marks the 25th anniversary of TP’s founding.
- TP was started in 1990 with just three schools - Business, Design, and Technology - offering 9 diploma courses.
- You can see in this photo, the first batch of TP’s graduates in 1991.
- There were only 89 of them, all students from the School of Design. Speaking to them at their graduating ceremony was Dr Tay Eng Soon, the then-Senior Minister of State for Education.
- At that time, TP was operating out of its temporary campuses at Stirling Road and Grange Road.
- Plans for the new campus had yet to be developed, but Dr Tay was confident then that the campus would be aesthetically and functionally outstanding, and a landmark that all would be proud of. More importantly, he was confident that our economy would continue to need more polytechnic graduates, and that practice-oriented polytechnic diploma holders would continue to be well-received by our companies.
- We started with an idea, a vision of developing an alternative path for education and success for students. We took a leap of faith and implemented it. Fast forward 24 years to the present, and here we are today in the campus which was then just a concept.
There is much that we can be proud of TP today beyond its campus. TP’s commitment to excellence has allowed it to establish itself firmly as one of the pillars of technical education in Singapore.
From an intake of just 873 in 1991, TP now takes in more than five times the number of students each year.
From offering only 9 courses in 1991, it now offers 51 courses across six schools, helping to nurture talent in a wide range of areas.
TP has accomplished much - its largest accomplishment being the nurturing of generations of young graduates like yourselves, with the skills that are in demand.The Present to Future - SkillsFuture
But the rapid pace of technological change means that the world of work which the polytechnics are preparing its students for is changing.
- In 2013, the British Broadcasting Corporation News (BBC) ran an article about the fascinating plans researchers had to use moon soil to build a space station on the moon via 3D printing. This may sound far-fetched but in fact, we are not far from something like that.
- 3D printing is already being used extensively in the aerospace sector. Boeing uses a large number of aircraft replacement parts that are 3D printed. 10 years ago, this was unheard of. Nobody would have thought that it was possible to fabricate anything that you need instantly with just a digital file and a printer.
- Technological advancements have changed jobs in the past and it will continue to change jobs in the future.
- In light of these changes, educational institutions like TP must adapt and respond so that they can continue to develop their students effectively, and prepare them well for the future economy.
It was for this reason, that I had led a committee last year, to review and consider how applied education in the polytechnics and ITE could be strengthened.
- Our goal was to ensure that graduates like yourselves will continue to enjoy good opportunities to progress in your careers and thrive in the future.
- The recommendations of that committee have now been carried over to SkillsFuture. SkillsFuture is about empowerment. SkillsFuture is about always learning and developing new skills so that you will always be in demand. SkillsFuture is about being very good at what you do, and being adaptable to changing circumstances.
What does this mean for TP and the other polytechnics?Tightened Linkages with Industry
First, they will need to strengthen the connection between education and the work place. Why is this so?
- So that your leaning is real and relevant.
- So that potential employers will get to know you and you get to know them.
- So that as educational institutions, they are always at the cutting edge and forefront of the areas in which they are teaching.
- In this way, we, the Singapore education model, can be a model of what an industry- relevant education truly means.
To achieve this, TP and the other polytechnics, will have to:
- Enhance their internship programmes; and
- Develop new Earn and Learn programmes. The Earn and Learn programme will place polytechnic graduates like you with progressive employers, where you can apply your skills and earn salaries as employees, but at the same time, continue to learn and gradually acquire additional skills-relevant qualifications. This will put you in a stronger position to advance your careers once you have completed the programme.
To engage the industry more effectively, each polytechnic will be appointed coordinator for specific industry sectors. TP for example, is the sector coordinator for:
- Aerospace Engineering
- Early Childhood Care and Education
- Info-communications and Technology
As sector coordinator, the institution will coordinate outreach and engagement across the polytechnics and ITE with employers in their selected industry sector, and look for opportunities to strengthen linkages through internships and other partnerships.Continuing Education and Training - Modular Courses
Second, the polytechnics, together with ITE and the universities, will do much more to support their graduates and the rest of the working population in developing and deepening their skills, at different stages of their careers and lives.
The polytechnics already offer a range of Continuing Education and Training (CET) programmes such as advanced and specialist diploma courses, to help those who want, to develop the skills they need for their work and careers.
This is Mr Kelvin Kuan, who graduated from TP with a Diploma in Law and Management in 2004. Kelvin shared that while the skills he had picked up during his diploma had been useful in starting his career, it became less relevant over time, due to advances in technology. This spurred him to return to TP to do a specialist diploma in Accounting and Finance. Doing so enabled him to refresh his accounting knowledge and learn new skills that could be applied to his role as a Business Development Manager.
Under SkillsFuture, the provision of such programmes will be greatly stepped up to help others like Kelvin, expand their skillsets to perform better at their jobs.
Here, I am happy to announce that from October 2015 onwards, the polytechnics will be launching enhanced Post-Diploma Certificate courses, or enhanced PDCs for short. These enhanced PDCs are targeted at polytechnic graduates who wish to refresh their skills and keep up-to-date with developments in a field related to their original area of training in the polytechnics.
The development of these enhanced PDCs arose from feedback from your seniors - polytechnic alumni - during our engagement with them last year. While your diploma prepares you to embark on careers in related fields, those who had not done so immediately after graduation, whether to serve National Service, or to pursue jobs in other fields, found it daunting to return to the field for which they were trained. This was particularly so for fast-moving industries like the IT sector.
The new Enhanced PDCs will thus help to bridge this gap.
- The enhanced PDCs will also be run in a more intensive mode, allowing completion within a shorter duration of one to two months, compared to existing programmes.
- The enhanced PDCs will be fully subsidised for Singaporeans who had graduated for at least 2 years from a relevant polytechnic diploma, and taking up the PDC for the first time.
- Polytechnic graduates who wish to re-enter the industry for which they were trained, will thus be able to get equipped with the skills that they need to do so in a much shorter time.
So as you graduate today and embark on your careers, be rest assured that you will continue to have support and access to opportunities to deepen, and acquire the skills that you need to progress in your careers.The Aerospace Industry
Singapore is known globally as an aviation hub and a regional leader in Aerospace maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) and manufacturing.
As diploma graduates in Aerospace Engineering and Aerospace Electronics, there are four main career tracks that are available to you.
- You may choose to be an Inspector, to assist in the investigation of damaged aircraft parts and to ensure aircraft components are repaired for defects.
- You may choose to be a Planner dealing with production control, production scheduling and material requirements planning.
- You may also choose to be an Aircraft or Workshop Technician, dealing with aircraft MRO activities.
- Finally, you may choose to be a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer or Workshop Engineer by undergoing further training while working to eventually lead a team of technicians to carry out MRO activities.
To succeed in your careers, not only must you develop mastery in your technical skills, you must also seek to develop mastery in your soft skills. In our discussions with companies in the Aerospace sector, they mentioned that apart from the requisite technical knowledge, new hires need good communication and interpersonal skills, good analytical and problem-solving skills, initiative and a positive working attitude. Your greatest asset must be your willingness to keep learning. You will find many opportunities to deepen your skills and become amazing professionals who help to build a brighter future not only for yourselves, but for your loved ones, the community and the nation.
Singapore is slated to grow as an aviation hub. This means that for anyone coming to Asia, they will be transiting at Singapore. We will be the port of call. Travellers from all over the world would come and leave in planes that you would have worked on. Singapore will continue growing as an aviation hub because of the work that you do, which in turn will lead to the creation of more jobs in the service industry, the finance industry, the tourism industry and many more. Everything that you do in your job will also have an impact on other sectors.
If you can build on the knowledge you have acquired in TP, acquire mastery over the soft skills I have mentioned and leverage the opportunities available to you under SkillsFuture to take advantage of the global and regional expansion of the Aerospace industry, you can be rest assured of a bright future ahead of you.Conclusion
Congratulations once again to all award recipients and all graduands. I wish all of you the very best as you embark on the next phase of your lives.
Speech by Mr Heng Swee Keat, at the Launch of the Official SG50 Book - Living the Singapore Story: Celebrating Our 50 Years 1965-2015
Good evening. My sincere thanks to President for gracing this occasion. And to all of you for joining us for the special launch of our SG50 book - Living the Singapore Story: Celebrating our 50 Years 1965 - 2015.
This year, we celebrate our 50th anniversary of independence. It is a time to appreciate the pioneers for bringing us to where we are today; to reflect on the lessons learnt and our values that bond us; and, to inspire all of us to create a better future for all Singaporeans. I am happy to be able to share this book with you. There is no better way to appreciate, reflect, or inspire, than through people.
This book, “Living the Singapore Story: Celebrating our 50 Years”, chronicles the small steps and great strides made by our nation and our people over 50 years in a very special way. It does so by telling the small steps and great strides that each of us has made individually [including our trips, stumbles and leaps into the unknown]. The book tells our Singapore story through the stories of 58 Singaporeans - many of whom are with us this evening. I encourage you to chat with them later and learn more about their fascinating lives. Each person has more to tell than any book can contain.The Singapore Spirit
To tell our SG50 story through the lives of our people is very fitting. Because the story of our Singapore is the story of all our people combined. When we celebrate SG50, what we celebrate is really the achievements of our people. When we commit ourselves to the future, we do so for our people too. I am thankful to the creators of this book for bringing this fundamental truth to life. Their stories tell of a strong and unwavering Singapore. Their stories are honest and heartfelt accounts that exemplify the determination and fearlessness of Singaporeans when faced with adversities in life. It is this spirit that connects us.
Sometimes reviewers describe a really good book this way - they say, “You can’t put it down.” When I read through this book, I felt the same way about the Singaporeans in it: You can’t keep them down. They bounce back, they overcome, they reach beyond. Ordinary Singaporeans and some better-known ones tell the stories of the lives they have led, the work they have done and the dreams they have pursued. Collectively, their memories make up the Singapore Story. They come from all walks of life, and reflect our rich multi-cultural heritage. And every one of these plucky, quirky, courageous, inspiring Singaporeans has a Singapore story to tell.
I was very happy to read Puan Noor Aishah’s story in the book. Last year, Minister Yaacob and I paid a call on Puan Noor Aishah to discuss the naming of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies to ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute. We are doing so in honour of Puan Noor Aishah’s late husband, our first President Yusof Ishak, who was also our Yang di-Pertuan Negara at the time that Singapore became independent. As PM Lee said, President Yusof Ishak was “a president for all Singaporeans”, and it is fitting to honour him with this tribute. In fact, I introduced a Bill, just earlier this week, on Monday - the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Amendment) Bill - to bring this about. As I introduced the Bill, I was reminded of Minister Yaacob’s and my visit to Puan Noor Aishah. She is a most gracious hostess. She listened to our ideas, gave us her support, and recounted many interesting stories of her experiences as a very young lady entering the Istana at the side of her husband, and serving our nation in those early years. I am so glad that her experiences are captured here, and I hope many will read the story of Puan Noor Aishah.
Many other inspiring Singaporeans share the pages of this book with Puan Noor Aishah. For example, Mr Ngalirdjo Mungin, or Pak Moen, a 94-year old satay seller, who is also the oldest person featured in the book. You must read his story. Pak Moen is a man after my own heart, a pioneer of SkillsFuture before we even came up with SkillsFuture. He started out knowing only how to make Indonesian kuih, but he really wanted to sell satay, so he hung around near satay sellers and memorised their ingredients, and then, even better, innovated his own techniques. Perfecting his skills over the years, his business prospered. The business is named after his late wife, Mdm Kamisah Dadi. Pak Moen says her mee soto and mee rebus were very good. I like how, at the heart of Pak Moen’s success, it is a story of pride in his skills, a strong partnership with his wife, and love of family. He started it to make more money to feed 11 mouths at home, and he has indeed raised a family. Now, Pak Moen has passed his thriving Malay food stall at Sims Place Food Centre to one of his sons. Do you know, he still goes to the stall every day to have a bowl of mee soto to make sure his son is keeping up the family standard?
We also have Ms Rosie Ang, Singapore’s first female car salesperson - another true pioneer. In fact, her career in the car industry is even older than Singapore - she worked at it for 53 years. In the book, Rosie shares her experiences starting out in a male-dominated industry. What she lacked in experience and knowledge of cars, she more than made up for with a willingness to learn, and a strong desire to succeed. Her go-getter attitude helped her close her first sale within just two weeks on the job. She has even sold cars to our former presidents Mr Yusof Ishak and Mr SR Nathan.
I was also touched by Angel Ng’s story. Angel was in and out of jail for drug offences for many years. An opportunity came through for Angel through the Yellow Ribbon Project and today, she manages three call centres. Of course, it had a lot to do with Angel’s own determination to do better. It was while in prison at the age of 33 that Angel completed her ‘O’ levels and scored five straight distinctions in subjects like English Literature and History. So Angel, you have shown a lot of strength. Thank you for sharing your story with us, and I hope you will go from strength to strength in your work, and keep inspiring your daughter and everyone you meet.
The never-give-up spirit is also alive and well in our younger generation. Dipna Lim Prasad shares her story of an athlete who persevered despite naysayers telling her to quit, saying she would never make it. Fuelled by her passion for running, Dipna became the national record holder for women’s 400m hurdles championship. Dipna is going to compete in the upcoming SEA Games, and she hopes to become the first Singaporean to qualify for the 400m hurdles at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. She is actually away today for a competition. We wish her all the best!
Speaking of record holders, we cannot forget the story of Kyra Poh, the youngest voice in the book. At the tender age of 13, Kyra holds four Guinness World Records for indoor skydiving and was Singapore’s representative in the 2014 Bodyflight World Challenge in Britain. Indoor skydiving looks easy but it took Kyra months of hard work to master the sport.
These stories, along with many others in the book, show the true Singapore spirit.Telling the Singapore Story
As we celebrate our nation’s Golden Jubilee, let us not forget that the Singapore story belongs to all of us. It is built out of the memories, stories and most importantly the dreams and hopes of every Singaporean. There is no better way to tell the Singapore Story than through the eyes of all of us who call Singapore home. Coming from all walks of life, these stories offer us perspectives of our history and shared memories. Their triumphs and indomitable spirit are immortalised in the pages of this book, which I hope will serve as an inspiration for many future generations.
It is poignant that the book contains one of the last interviews given by the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, our founding prime minister. His story is full of hurdles, and he faced those challenges with guts and spirit, and most of all, a strong love for and total unwavering dedication to this place he called home, and to the people of this home.
I would like to thank the Editorial Advisory Committee, led by Professor Tommy Koh, for putting together such a rich collection of stories. I also want to commend the National Library Board and Strait Times Press for producing a meaningful book that tells the story of Singaporeans.
Most of all, I would like to thank you for sharing your personal Singapore stories, and for living your lives with courage and generosity.
May your stories inspire many to live with the same spirit!
Thank you. And Happy SG50 to all.
Thank you for inviting me to be here with you on this joyous occasion. My heartiest congratulations to our Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) graduands, and to our award recipients. Can we take a moment to applaud our family, friends, and teachers - they have given you strong support.
Graduation is a big day. For many of you, you are moving from working on your grades to building your careers, and very soon, to building your own families and homes. You will find that your studies will have prepared you well for this moment - you have the knowledge and skills to get started. But how far you will go depends entirely on you.
At the end of one phase, is the beginning of another. In an interesting way, your graduation marks the beginning of further learning. Allow me here to speak about how you can: Learn for the Future, Learn Throughout Life, and Learn for Impact.
Learn for the Future, because what you can achieve in the years ahead will depend not just on what you have learnt so far, but how well you continue to build deep skills that are needed in the future.
Learn Throughout Life, because learning doesn’t happen only in the classroom. You will find many meaningful life and work lessons to be picked up in the workplace and indeed in the community. Anyone can be your teacher. Every situation is an opportunity to improve.
And if you’re going to learn for the future, and learn throughout life, you might as well make sure that what you learn will leave a lasting, positive impact on others - go ahead and learn the things that will make life better for others, and hone those skills and attitudes that will transform your learning into benefit for others. So Learn for Impact.
Do you notice something? Whether you are learning for the future, learning always and everywhere, or learning just for the sheer joy of it, the point is this: Keep learning. Never stop learning. Learning does not stop once you graduate. Graduation is just the start of a new phase of learning.
Why must you learn for the future? Today and in the future, skills matter. But the skills that you will need to excel in your chosen fields today may be very different from the skills that will be needed ten years from now.
There is so much changing in the world, much of it driven by technology. So change is the one constant in life, and we must be ready to pick up skills that will help us move with this change.
This is where SkillsFuture comes into the picture. With SkillsFuture, we commit to helping you acquire the skills that will help you stay on top of change, and excel at what you do, so that you can have a better future.Learn Throughout Life - Future Opportunities and You
So, learn for the future. To do that, we need to learn always and everywhere. We should learn not just when we are in the classroom, or during our schooling years, but throughout life, in all contexts.
As part of your time at NYP, most, if not all of you, have had the opportunity to learn outside of the classroom through internships. Internships can provide a very enriching learning experience as they allow you to apply your knowledge in a real-world context, and to develop skills that are best learnt outside the classroom.
But this depends on two factors. First, students need to go in with the right attitude. They need to be willing to try new things, work hard, and take the initiative to find things out for themselves. Earlier on, I was speaking to some employers who shared with me that the best students make the best use of their internship because they take the initiative to propose ideas and to learn. Second, we need host companies to be willing to provide the necessary support and mentorship to our students, and to provide them with the right mix of opportunities to learn. This is why our Institutes of Higher Learning are working with employers to make many enhancements to internships.
I am happy to share with you that this morning, we witnessed the signing of MOUs between NYP and 50 industry partners to enhance internships for meaningful workplace learning.
This is the biggest MOU signing to date to enhance internships for our students.
The 50 partner companies are from a broad range of sectors, such as Microsoft in Information Technology (IT), Singapore Power in Engineering, and Mediacorp in Media. I am truly heartened by the number of employers collaborating with our polytechnics to enhance internships. When our schools and companies work together, they create powerful contexts for our students to learn in new and meaningful ways.
The structured internship programmes that NYP will launch with these 50 companies will be longer than current internships - typically six months or more, with structured learning outcomes, clear job scopes, and mentors to guide the interns.
With these enhancements to internships, students will be able to have more purposeful and effective on-the-job learning, together with the time necessary to pick up deep skills. They will also be able to immerse themselves deeper in the industry sectors and understand the soft and hard skills that are needed to succeed in the working world.
Employers play a critical role in providing real world learning opportunities, and we hope that these closer links between industry and education will continue to enrich the learning experience of many students in the years to come, just as many of you hopefully have had.
As you graduate today, what does learning throughout life mean for you?
The textbooks of the future have not yet been written. What we need to learn for the future, we may not know yet. Thus, for you, learning throughout life also means continuing to learn at every stage of your life, even as you embark on your careers. As you have experienced during your time in internship, you can be an effective learner by being open-minded to learn from everyone, everywhere, and at any time.
How can you do this?
One option is the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme. The programme places you with progressive employers who are committed to your development, so that you can learn while working and earning your salary too.
SkillsFuture will also support you to learn throughout all stages of your lives through other means. As Singaporeans, you will be able to select from a wide range of highly-subsidised courses to meet your specific learning needs at any time in your career. These will range from full qualification programmes such as specialist and advanced diplomas, to bite-sized modular courses that provide more targeted upgrading.
You can also look forward to getting the SkillsFuture Credit when you turn 25, which can be used to pay for fees of work-skills related courses on top of existing course fee subsidies.
SkillsFuture is about supporting Singaporeans to deepen skills at every stage of your careers. We hope to create a culture where all Singaporeans can learn throughout life, to develop the skills needed to stay ahead.Learn for Impact - Singapore’s Future and You
Ultimately, why do we learn? Why do we strive to excel? It is not just about the careers we want to build; it is about the home we want to be a part of. This year we celebrate 50 years of Singapore as a nation. As we reflect on what our pioneers went through over the last 50 years to bring us to where we are, we also need to think about what we want for the future, for the next 50 years.
Here, I would like to commend NYP students for your good work in using your skills and technology to develop innovative solutions to benefit society. I know that our lecturers and our advisory board have been very supportive of your effort in this area. Last week, we saw the launch of the mobile anti-drug game application, developed by NYP students in collaboration with the Central Narcotics Bureau. Another project is the development of a web application offering pedestrian path information, and barrier-free routing for wheel-chair users. The pilot project currently covers Ang Mo Kio Town. This, and many more, are meaningful projects, and a good way in which students are making an impact on our society - to make Singapore a better place for us to live, to work and to play.
I would like to encourage you today, to consider how you can use your skills to contribute back to the society, and to build a better future for Singapore in the years ahead.Closing Remarks
In closing, as you graduate from NYP today, you have completed one step of your journey into the future.
- Learn for the future, so that you can be on top of constant change.
- Learn Throughout life. Seize every opportunity to learn, including the many new platforms created through SkillsFuture.
- Learn for Impact. Apply your skills to create positive, lasting benefits for others.
Thank you and congratulations once again.
MOE's SG50 "Building My SG" Set - Inspiring Students to Know Our Roots and to Build Our Desired Future Together
To commemorate Singapore’s Golden Jubilee, students have been engaged in a series of learning experiences throughout the year to guide them in reflecting on our journey together, celebrating what makes us Singaporean, and inspiring action to contribute to Singapore’s future.
“Building My SG” is a set of building bricks that can be used by students in class to construct three iconic Singapore landmarks - Cavenagh Bridge, Changi Airport and Gardens by the Bay - each representing a distinctive aspect of Singapore. Through creative play, the building bricks open many meaningful and creative opportunities for students to learn about these landmarks and the significance of what they represent in the history and the continued progress of Singapore. More information on the three landmarks is in the Annex.
In their class activity as a lead-up to National Day, students will also use the building bricks to collaborate and imagine, design and build the Singapore of their future together. The metaphor of building something meaningful together represents collective ownership in building Singapore as one people.
All students and teachers in MOE Primary schools, Secondary schools, Special Education schools, Junior Colleges/Centralised Institute, ITE and Polytechnics will receive their building bricks set progressively by National Day. Primary-level home-schoolers and full-time Madrasah students can also look forward to receiving this SG50 gift too.
We hope that our students will share their creations with their families, treasure this keepsake and their creations in commemoration of SG50 - celebrating our past and working together towards our desired future as a nation.
The “Building My SG” set will be available for purchase after National Day 2015 by the distributor Duck Learning. More details will be announced by Duck Learning at a later date.