The definition of success in Singapore’s education system needs to change: Chan Chun Sing

SINGAPORE – The pace of acquiring skills and new knowledge must accelerate as Singaporeans face the reality of having to change jobs every five years, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing has said.

He added that about 20 to 25 percent of Singapore’s local workforce, which numbers about three million people, might need upskilling every year, or about half a million adult workers every year.

To do this, the definition of success for the education system must change, Chan said in a keynote address at the 2022 Straits Times Education Forum on the changing role of universities.

The forum was held in partnership with the Singapore Management University (SMU) on Thursday 10 February.

Mr Chan said: “The definition of the success of our education system cannot simply be how we produce a cohort of 30-40,000 students each year for the job market. It should be how which we do, plus retraining and upgrading about half a million adult learners each year.

Mr. Chan then detailed four points on which the education system must change to achieve this new objective.

He said, “First of all, we have to let go of the concept that we can never be done with learning.”

No amount of early education can prepare Singaporeans for work, he added, and only lifelong learning can help keep them up to date for the rest of their lives.

Second, Singapore must abandon the idea that there is a predefined path to success.

He said: “Success is never static. It does not matter how many of our students in a particular cohort attend universities and polytechnics or the Institute of Technical Education at any given time in their lives.

“It matters more, much more, how many of our students can acquire the appropriate degrees, diplomas, post-graduate degrees and even stackable modules and micro-titles throughout and at relevant times in their lives, to meet their ever-changing needs throughout their life cycle.”

Mr Chan added that a “lifetime participation rate” in training and education is a more apt description of what the education system wants to achieve as a whole, rather than the current practice of measuring rates. of participation of cohorts in the various institutes of higher education here.

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