Preparing Singaporeans for the Digital Economy

Published Date: 06 January 2020 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Christopher de Souza, Holland-Bukit Timah GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) what is being done to ensure that Singaporeans will be ready for an economy heavily driven by technology; and (b) what is being done now to train Singaporeans to take up jobs in the field of information technology.

Response

1. Our approach is not to teach technology or information technology through a single subject but through a multi-faceted, immersive experience.

2. At the primary and secondary levels, students have many opportunities to develop their interest in information technology including through enrichment programmes such as Code for Fun, and Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs). Secondary students can participate in technology-related Applied Learning Programmes (ALP) and formal Computing subjects.

3. Moving ahead, these opportunities will be expanded further. For example, starting in 2020, all primary students will now participate in the Code For Fun enrichment programme. Also, starting in 2023, some primary schools will offer ALPs in technology-related areas such as health science, robotics and coding.

4. We also need to recognise that the foundation of technology-related competencies lie in Mathematics and Science, which are also traditional strengths of our education system.

5. We must therefore continue to focus on these subjects in school, and encourage students with the interest to take up STEM subjects or courses. For example, those with a special talent or interest in computing can offer O-Level and A-Level Computing in selected schools, and develop key skills to pursue their interest further at the post-secondary level.

6. The Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) offer many STEM-related pathways in engineering, information technology, data analytics and artificial intelligence. They regularly refresh the curriculum to ensure that they are up to date with the latest developments in technology and industry demands.

7. The IHLs also ensure students possess baseline competencies needed in the digital economy. For example, all polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students have to complete a module on data analysis for problem solving, and students at National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU) all undergo modules on computational thinking.

8. Even after leaving school, Singaporeans can continue to stay abreast with technology through various SkillsFuture courses. These subsidised courses are offered across different proficiency levels, and help Singaporeans stay relevant in the digital workplace. Singaporeans who wish to move into ICT jobs can also take advantage of TechSkills Accelerator programmes to acquire relevant and in-demand digital skills.

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