Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung stated that while there have been no major shake-ups to its infrastructure in the wake of Budget 2017, the Singapore’s education system is going through an “overwhelming adjustment” to prepare the young for a changing world.
Speaking at the sidelines of a family carnival in Sembawang on Sunday (12 March), the Minister noted that the Budget came in the wake of some economic uncertainty and no major fiscal shifts were announced.
However, he stressed that encouraging students to pursue their talents is the way to make sure they “grow up fully prepared for the changed world ahead”.
Mr Ong gave reporters the illustrations, saying, “The computer is unchanged but inside, the OS (operating system) is changing. The algorithm is changing. From the MOE’s (Ministry of Education) perspective, to us, that is an overwhelming adjustment.”
The Minister said that the country is at a stage where Budget headroom is not so much.
“I can’t just make a big change in the system by pumping in another billion dollars – build another polytechnic, build another university. Instead, it’s changing the way we do things – uncovering students’ talents, developing them to the fullest,” he added.
There were some steps to help students maximise their talents and develop their passions were announced during the Budget debate, including moves to encourage students to pursue their strengths and passions.
There were also plans for changes to the Direct School Admissions scheme and tweaks to aptitude-based admissions to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and polytechnics.
Mr Ong said, “Altogether, I think we’re taking meaningful steps, changing the way education should work for our children so that they grow up fully prepared for the changed world ahead.”
The Minister, along with his fellow Sembawang GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak, was at the event to give out Education Merit Awards to 330 students between primary and junior college levels.
The award is given to students who have done well in school but whose household incomes do not meet the criteria for the MOE Edusave Merit Bursary.
Another Award, Canberra Education, was also given to 185 students whose grades did not quality for the Edusave Merit Bursary.
Mr Lim said, “We want to give them a small award to spur them on so that they can achieve the bursary award next year.”