MOE FY 2016 Committee of Supply Debate - Speech by Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling

Published Date: 08 April 2016 12:00 AM

News Speeches

A Diverse World of Many Options

1. Madam Chair, today, the world has far more options for learning and education than before. There are thousands of courses. There are new types of courses in developing fields, such as app design, food technology, robotics, and more.

  1. This creates an array of diverse choices that can also be potentially bewildering. Moreover, an individual’s aspirations are likely to change with time and with experience.
  2. So we want to help our students to navigate the complex universe of choices with confidence. This is a journey that our Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Counsellors embark with our students, guiding them as their aspirations and experiences develop and mature over time.
Better Guidance

2. With advice and assistance from ECG Counsellors, our students can then better understand their interests and strengths, and make informed choices for their education and career path. The guidance provided is not prescriptive; rather, it aims to enhance the students’ self-knowledge for decisions that will impact their career.

  1. Mr Baey Yam Keng asked if Counsellors know enough about what industries are looking for to effectively guide students to make such choices.
  2. I would like to assure Mr Baey and the Members that our ECG Counsellors are well-trained and supported by a robust knowledge management system with up-to-date data from authoritative sources. The Counsellors also conduct regular industry visits, and are in direct contact with industry sectors, chamber of commerce and trade and industry associations. With such access, knowledge and networks, the ECG Counsellors are well positioned to give timely and relevant advice on various career prospects.
  3. Just a few months back in February, 68 MOE ECG Counsellors and WDA Career Coaches attended industry sharing sessions by experienced personnel from the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) and SPRING Singapore. They also heard from home-grown companies like Soo Kee Group, and Home-Fix D.I.Y.
  4. In addition, the Counsellors are kept abreast of information on labour markets. Their learning journeys to the respective sectors also arm them with close-up knowledge and experience. For instance, the Counsellors visited Keppel Offshore & Marine last month, so this type of first-hand information, interaction with the engineers and the technicians enable them to better counsel our students.
  5. We will also leverage the existing pool of over 100 Career Coaches at WDA and e2i, to provide individuals with a understanding of industry needs, to better guide training decisions and these career coaches generally have good industry knowledge, and are well placed to assist job seekers.
  6. And as WDA restructures, part of the agency, as the members will know, from the earlier press release, part of the agency will come under MOE, and the career coaches will be under MOM’s wing. This move, this move, creates a multi-agency force working hard and working closely together, linking the education front to the sphere of work very tightly, as well as the various sectors of industries.

3. Madam Chair, may I have your permission to display a few slides on the LED screen, please.

  1. ECG Counsellors such as Dorothea, Noormala and Muhd Faizal are helping our young people to discover their talents and interests, who in turn are more sure of what their next steps could be.
  2. We are on track to having close to 100 ECG Counsellors serving all schools, polytechnics and ITE colleges by end-2017. Mr Baey talked about the heavy responsibility that the ECG counsellor have. We agree. Which is why we are taking great care, great care to select suitable candidates, with attributes such as a passion to work with young people, a positive and encouraging nature, and excellent interpersonal skills, communication and also networking skills. We have filled nearly all positions for trained ECG Counsellors at our Polytechnics and ITE: and that would be 47 out of 48. We have also recruited 14 ECG Counsellors to support our Secondary schools and JCs. More Counsellors will join the force.
  3. Our ECG Centres in MOE Grange Road, and in every Polytechnic and every ITE college campus are fully operational, and have been serving our students since the end of 2015.

Better Exposure to Industry

4. Besides having the right guidance, getting wide exposure to relevant industries will help our young people gain a better grasp of what these fields may offer. Hence, we will partner industries even more closely to provide systematic programmes that increases our students’ exposure to industry at a younger age. And one such initiative is the ECG Fair for Secondary 2 students.

  1. And the first ECG Fair was held at Tampines Secondary School just last month. More than 2,000 students and teachers participated in the exhibition featuring various education and career pathway. You can see from the bottom left photo that they have attended career talks and also received practical hands-on experience related to the Chemistry and Life Sciences sector. And for some of them this really broadened their horizons and perspective.

5. At the post-secondary level, we will strengthen our linkages with industries so that students will undergo meaningful internships and industry exposure. Last year, MOE announced that the polytechnics and ITE colleges would be appointed as sector coordinators for 17 sectors. Today, we are pleased to reveal that we have appointed sector coordinators for 10 more sectors. So there are now 27 sector coordinators in total, covering areas of Singapore’s future growth and priority sectors. And these new sectors are: air transport, design, electronics, energy & chemicals, environment management, human resource, landscape, precision engineering, sports & wellness, and tourism.

Bilingualism, as Part of Heritage

6. Last but not least, I will now touch on the role and importance of our respective Mother Tongue Languages (MTLs). In a fast-changing world, they put us in good stead by giving us a strong anchor to our heritage. Madam Chair, please allow me to conclude in Mandarin.

7. 双语政策是我国教育的基石,它从多方面提升我们国人的能力:首先,它强化我们的文化和身份认同,让我们能更深入了解不同思想和理念;也让我们能够和邻近国家,亲切地联系、亲切地沟通,进行深入交流还有商贸往来。

8. 今后的5年,教育部将投入更多资源拓展母语的学习。李显龙 总理在2015年宣布,教育部将在未来的五年内,给予三个推广母语学习委员会更大的支持,拨款将提高百分之50,达到2千5百万。

9. 教育部将致力于为我们学生创造各种学习母语的良好环境与条件。我们也将和社区伙伴紧密合作,除了进一步地强化现有的计划,也将推展更多新颖的活动,结合科技结合新媒体,从更多层面把母语的学习融入到生活中。以推广华文学习委员会来说,政府将在未来五年内拨出1千6百万元 ,支持委员会展开更多、 更精彩还有更多元化的活动。

10. 总的来说,我相信我们的学生都是很热爱各自的母语和文化。而教育部将竭尽所能,让每个孩子对传统文化与价值观,有更深入的认识,强化新加坡独特的多元文化传统。另一方面,教育部也将通过刚才所提到的教育和就业辅导,让我们学生们具备更强的自我意识,与时并进,及时把握周遭的契机,迈向属于自己的光明前程。

Translation of CL Segment in English

11. Bilingualism deepens our capacity in many ways. For example, we gain a richer appreciation of different ideas; it makes us more adept at social and communication skills; and it boosts our identity and connection with our heritage.

12. Moving in this positive direction, we will continue to support the learning of MTLs in several ways:

  1. MOE will continue to provide students with excellent official Mother Tongue Language instruction as part of our bilingualism policy. We also work with partners to support the MTLs. One way we do so is through the Mother Tongue Language Learning Promotion Committees (MTLLPCs).
  2. PM announced in 2015 that MOE will increase our funding commitment by about 50% for the three MTLLPCs over the next five years to $25 million. These committees tap on community stakeholders to organise programmes that develop competencies and interest in the MTLs.

13. With increased funding, each MTLLPC will strengthen partnerships with the community to introduce meaningful new initiatives and enhance current programmes. For the Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning, the government will commit up to $16 million over the next five years for more exciting and varied programmes.

14. We hope our students will develop a deep love for their MTL and culture. Equipped with an appreciation of their heritage and values, stronger self-knowledge, and up-to-date information about the opportunities around them, MOE supports every individual’s unique journey toward a brighter future.

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