Forward Singapore: New Partnerships, New Perspectives

Published Date: 19 November 2022 04:00 PM

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Singaporeans affirm commitment to work towards shared education and lifelong learning goals; school-industry partnerships a priority

1. Since August 2022, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has engaged more than 2,000 Singaporeans1 to discuss the desired collective outcomes for education and lifelong learning under the Forward Singapore Equip pillar. More than 7,500 Singaporeans have made or supported pledges for Equip pillar through the microsite at https://go.gov.sg/forwardsg-equip. Details on the pledges and feedback from engagements can be found in Annex A.

2. To round up the first phase of engagements and move towards collective action, MOE organised a large group engagement with 200 youths, parents, educators, as well as representatives from the industry and community on Saturday, 19 November 2022. Discussions centred on the following three areas which resonated most with the various participants:

  1. Embracing lifelong learning to seize new opportunities and maximise potential;
  2. Supporting our students' diverse interests, learning needs and aspirations; and
  3. Building an inclusive society for our students with special educational needs (SEN) and their families.

Collective Actions

School-Industry Partnerships

3. Participants discussed how to strengthen partnerships and encourage greater collaborations between schools, Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs), the industry and the community, to create more opportunities for educators and students to learn for life. Participants also discussed ways to encourage companies to move towards skills-based Human Resource (HR) hiring practices.

4. Building on existing efforts2 to prepare students for the world of work, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Singapore Human Resource Institute (SHRI) and Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) will work with MOE to facilitate and curate partnerships between industry and schools.

5. This partnership aims to enhance and enrich students' experiences and exposure to industries, to gain a deeper appreciation of the skills and competencies needed in the workplace. While there are existing collaborations through school programmes, CCAs and guest speakers, this strengthened approach will enable more schools to come on board so that more students can benefit from such interactions.

6. Noting that there was also strong value proposition for the business community to support this effort, Mr Lam Yi Young, Chief Executive Officer, SBF, said, "Talent development is a shared commitment between the education fraternity and the business community. As our economy evolves, schools and companies can benefit from working together, for example, in co-developing authentic exposures for educators and students, and helping students explore the range of future employment opportunities. SBF is happy to help connect businesses with schools to deepen partnerships and cross-pollinate new ideas."

7. Mr Sim Gim Guan, Executive Director, SNEF, noted, "Strengthening school-industry partnerships is an important strategy to ensure Singapore remains a forward-looking, vibrant hub with a future-ready workforce. SNEF will be able to connect schools with our network of employers, to offer real-world insight on the skills and competencies needed in the workplace."

8. The initiative will also strengthen ongoing efforts to enhance educators' capability, by facilitating greater collaboration between Education Career Guidance (ECG) and HR practitioners to better guide students in exploring different educational and career pathways, and expanding Teacher Work Attachment Plus (TWA+) opportunities to broaden teachers' experiences so that they may bring authentic and fresh perspectives back to the classrooms.

9. Ms Low Peck Kem, President, SHRI, emphasised the importance of equipping our young with the competencies to help them stay relevant and competitive on a global stage, "With people as our key strategic resource, we must critically think about how to create opportunities to develop a resilient and relevant workforce. Greater dialogue between HR practitioners and the education system will open up possibilities for students, educators and employers, allowing both sides to gain a deeper appreciation of the competencies that are valued and how to better develop them."

Other Partnerships

10. There was also rich discussion on how parents and individuals can be partners in education to support diverse learning needs and aspirations, and build a more inclusive environment in school and the community.

11. Parents pledged to support their child's holistic learning and development, and to instil in them sound values of care and concern for others. Across all stakeholder groups, individuals recognised the importance of taking care of their own mental well-being while looking out for their peers. To this end, other possible partnerships discussed included:

  1. Creating parent peer communities to support parents on their parenting journey, for example, for parents of children with special education needs to support one another; and
  2. Co-creating resources to support parents in engaging their children on their holistic well-being.

Next Steps

12. MOE will continue to engage, support and partner stakeholders to work towards the desired outcomes and the next phase of education and lifelong learning. Singaporeans are invited to continue to share their pledges at the Equip pillar microsite (https://go.gov.sg/forwardsg-equip) and to step forward as partners in education.


Footnotes
  1. Stakeholders engaged include youths, parents, educators, leaders in schools and Institutes of Higher Learning and representatives from the industry and community.

  2. Examples of existing school's partnerships with the industry can be found in Annex B.

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