MOE FY 2016 Committee of Supply Debate - Speech by Parliamentary Secretary Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim

Published Date: 08 April 2016 12:00 AM

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OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERY CHILD TO SUCCEED

1. Mdm Chair, my colleagues have spoken about MOE’s continued efforts to provide a holistic education that prepares students for lifelong learning.

EXPANDING OPPORTUNITIES TO PURSUE INTERESTS

2. We agree with Mr Kok Heng Leun and Dr Intan that the arts play a crucial role in this endeavour. Arts education cultivates creativity, imagination, multiple perspectives, and innovation; each trait important in forging our future. It fosters deeper appreciation of our shared culture and heritage, and promotes social harmony. Who among us is not moved with pride and a sense of belonging when we come together at the National Day Parade to sing ‘Home’. This is the power of the arts.

3. We want to harness this further by enhancing students’ exposure to the arts, and providing more opportunities for students with talent and passion to deepen their learning, and pursue it at tertiary level and beyond.

4. This year, 4 more secondary schools began offering the Enhanced Art or Music programmes, benefitting more than 300 students in the 10 schools offering these programmes. In addition, 3 more centres began hosting Art or Music Elective programmes, with students from over 30 schools, selected through demonstrations of their talents and not their PSLE scores.

5. With expanded opportunities comes a growing interest in the Creative Arts Tertiary Education Sector. Enrolment into diploma-level courses increased by around 30 percent from 2006 to 2015, and by about 40 percent in degree-level courses from 2010 to 2015. Minister Ong has asked me to study this Sector to see how we might improve on the current landscape, and better position our creative arts graduates for careers that align their skills with industry needs. We also want see how industry can contribute to deepening their skills.

6. I recently met with representatives from arts institutions and polytechnics. Many shared that creative arts should be valued for how it develops the individual. They highlighted that creative arts graduates find employment in industries beyond the creative arts, such as retail and manufacturing, because they bring with them artistic skills and dispositions that can be cross-pollinated to benefit different industries.

7. One such graduate is Ms Sasha Rafi who found that Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film and Media Studies helped to expand her skills in creative thinking, effective communication, and management of group dynamics. These have been a significant help in her current role as Head of Marketing for the Singapore Grand Prix.

8. Ultimately, we want these graduates to have good career prospects, contribute to the vibrancy and diversity of our economy and society, and at the same time, keep developing their passion, skills, and love for what they do.

PRIVATE EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

9. With more opportunities, students and parents need to make informed choices about the options available for further study or employment, including courses by Private Education Institutions (PEIs).

10. In response to Mr Ang Wei Neng, 50 PEIs offered degree programmes in 2015, with a student intake of around 21,500 Singaporeans, PRs, and foreigners.

11. Concerns raised by some Members about the quality and relevance of PEI-run courses are valid as this private market sector is highly heterogenous, with uneven standards. While the Council for Private Education (CPE) ensures PEIs meet minimum standards in corporate governance and course administration, it does not accredit or endorse quality of programmes.

12. Going forward, we will study how to improve information transparency about courses and employment outcomes, enhance industry-relevance of PEIs, and ensure regulatory requirements of CPE remain relevant. The on-going Graduate Employment Survey covers the 9 largest PEIs, which cater for the bulk of private degree students. Survey results will be made public.

13. We will also study how more PEIs can offer industry-relevant training for continual skills upgrading, and support manpower capability development in areas of industry need. Today, PEIs like SEED Institute and At-Sunrice, already offer relevant training for skills upgrading and mastery.

14. While we take these steps, students and parents must do their part to get all the necessary information before deciding which courses to pursue. MOE’s ECG efforts will help students assess their reasons and readiness to pursue further upgrading, and if the course will help them acquire relevant skills for future employment. While I understand we have our own aspirations, I urge Singaporeans not to pursue qualifications as a paper chase but to develop their strengths, talents and skills.

PARTNERSHIPS WITH PARENTS AND THE COMMUNITY

15. Parental support is therefore crucial in helping our children develop the right instincts to make appropriate choices about education pathways, based on their passions and strengths. As raised by Mr Zainal Sapari, the partnership between among the home and school is critical in helping children discover and nurture these strengths and interests.

16. We will continue to support our educators and parents in their partnership efforts. We have developed two resources for this: a “Parent Engagement Guide for Educators”, and a parent-child activity book for all Primary 1 students. If you have a child or grandchild in P1, you would have received this. I urge you to make use of it with your child. We also collaborated with members of our advisory council, COMPASS, to launch the COMPASS-Parent Support Group Mentoring Scheme last year to build PSG leaders’ capabilities in structuring, growing and as well as sustaining PSGs.

1. To support PSGs further, we are working with COMPASS to develop an online resource for PSG leaders. This resource is d7eveloped by parents, for parents, and will be ready in the later half of this year.

18. I will now end my speech in Malay.

19. Pendidikan menyediakan anak-anak kita untuk satu perjalanan hidup yang memerlukan mereka belajar sepanjang hayat dan mempunyai kecekapan dalam pelbagai kemahiran. MOE akan terus menumpukan perhatian terhadap pembangunan anak-anak kita secara holistik dengan mengurangkan penekanan terhadap keputusan akademik dan menyediakan pelbagai laluan untuk berjaya. Oleh itu, kami akan membuat beberapa perubahan pada Peperiksaan Tamat Sekolah Rendah (PSLE) dan menambahkan kemasukan berdasarkan kecenderungan di Institusi Pengajian Tinggi.

20. Ibu bapa memainkan peranan penting dalam menyokong anak-anak sepanjang mereka menjadi lebih dewasa. Berilah mereka ruang dan masa untuk mengetahui kekuatan dan minat mereka serta binalah asas yang kukuh terhadap pengetahuan, kemahiran dan nilai agar dapat mereka gunakan dalam kehidupan mereka. Berhubung rapatlah dengan guru-guru mereka untuk memahami kekuatan mereka dalam bidang-bidang akademik dan bukan akademik. Dengan cara ini, anda akan dapat membimbing mereka untuk membuat keputusan yang lebih bijak untuk diri mereka.

21. Mengharungi perjalanan pendidikan bukanlah sesuatu yang mudah dan amat membantu sekiranya ibu bapa mendapat sokongan daripada ibu bapa lain. Ibu bapa boleh mendapatkan sokongan ibu bapa lain melalui Kumpulan Sokongan Ibu bapa (PSG) di sekolah anak-anak mereka.

22. Sebagai contoh Encik Juraiman Rahim menyertai PSG Sekolah Rendah Northland pada tahun 2014. Pada mulanya, anaknya berasa kurang selesa dengan kehadiran dan pelibatan ayahnya di sekolah. Namun, setelah dia melihat ayahnya beramah mesra dengan rakan-rakannya, dia mula menghargai kehadiran ayahnya. Juraiman kini lebih memahami minat anaknya terhadap permainan catur dan berasa lebih rapat dengan anaknya. Menurut Encik Juraiman, pengalaman PSG “merupakan satu perjalanan pembelajaran baginya”.

23. Dengan melibatkan diri dalam perjalanan pendidikan anak-anak kita dan berhubung rapat dengan sekolah-sekolah mereka untuk membangunkan kekuatan dan minat mereka, kita membantu anak-anak kita bersiap sedia untuk masa hadapan dengan lebih baik. Terima kasih.

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