MOE FY 2017 Committee of Supply Debate Speech by Parliamentary Secretary Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim

Published Date: 07 March 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

1. Madam Speaker, our education system will continue to strengthen the paths to recognise and build up the different aptitudes and interests of our children. We want to do this with strong partnerships with our parents, industry, and the community.

Expanding opportunities to pursue interests

2. Mr Gan Thiam Poh and Mr Edwin Tong asked about arts education and how we are supporting our creative arts graduates in preparing for and developing their careers. The interest in arts education and the range of opportunities and support available has increased over time. Just in 2016, around 6,000 students enrolled into creative arts courses at our Polytechnics, Autonomous Universities and Arts Institutions.

3. Last year, I shared that MOE was looking into the Creative Arts Tertiary Education Sector, to improve the current landscape, so that our creative arts graduates are better prepared for their future careers. We have been speaking to various stakeholders to understand the sector and looked at the graduate employment outcomes of creative arts graduates, especially those from the Arts Institutions, or the AIs, which include the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and LASALLE College of the Arts. Our engagements highlighted that creative arts play a role in our economy within and beyond the creative industries. We saw that AI graduates move into arts-related careers and some also join larger organisations as managers and executives, where their artistic abilities are put to good use. We also observed the prevalence of freelance work as 17% of our 2016 AI graduates in the labour force are working as freelancers.

4. Against this backdrop, the AIs have started several initiatives to support their students better:

  1. First, Education and Career Guidance efforts are being strengthened. At LASALLE, all students are required to take a CV & Cover Letter Writing course, as well as courses on personal branding and managing freelance work or a small business. Such programmes prepare students better for stepping into the working world.

  2. Second, there are continued efforts to build stronger industry links to enrich the curriculum and to expand internship opportunities. NAFA has revamped its curriculum to include industry-based learning to provide authentic learning opportunities as well as links with relevant industries.

  3. Third, there will be greater provision of modular and short courses to support lifelong learning. This will make it more flexible and practical for industry professionals to return to the classroom for further learning to deepen their skills. NAFA, for example, has developed several short specialised courses such as the Certificates in Visual Merchandising and Fashion Business based on industry feedback. These courses are aimed at broadening the design and business skills of creative professionals.

5. We recognise the special role played by the AIs in offering pathways for those with the interest and talent in the field. Since 2011, MOE has provided NAFA and LASALLE with funding to offer high quality creative arts degree programmes validated and awarded by reputable overseas partners.

6. Going forward, there is value in developing NAFA and LASALLE further into centres of excellence in creative arts education. MOE will be working with them on a roadmap to raise the standards of their programmes and to better prepare their students for the workplace. It will include efforts to further enhance teaching quality, strengthen employment outcomes, and ensure financial sustainability. Each institution will move at its own pace to implement the roadmap.

7. Beyond the AIs, we do see many who pursue private degree programmes to fulfil their aspirations. As Dr Tan Wu Meng pointed out, there is concern about the employability of graduates from these programmes.

8. When deciding to attend such programmes, we want students to be more informed and make wise choices. To help them, the Committee for Private Education is enhancing its regulation of the Private Education Institutions, mandating annual graduate employment surveys and publishing the results.

Stronger partnerships with parents and community

9. Parents play an important role in partnering schools to support their children in developing their passions into strengths and reaching their fullest potential.

10. We agree with Mr Zainal Sapari and Mr Gan Thiam Poh that strong school-home-community partnerships lead to better student outcomes. We are committed to foster such strong partnerships, and our Parent Support Groups (PSGs) play a very crucial role in this. To support PSGs, we recently launched the ‘Parent Support Groups – A how-to-guide by parents for parents’. This guide was developed by our parent representatives from COMPASS (COMmunity and Parents in Support of Schools) who wanted to help others in setting up and running PSGs effectively.

11. Besides parents, the community also has a role in enriching our children’s educational experiences. This can be seen in the efforts by the community to make our Mother Tongue Languages come alive. I will elaborate in Malay.

12. Jawatankuasa Pembelajaran dan Penggalakan Penggunaan Bahasa Melayu iaitu MLLPC menganjurkan program dan menyediakan bahan sumber bagi memupuk rasa cinta dan menggalak pelajar menghargai kegunaan dan relevannya Bahasa Melayu dalam kehidupan harian mereka.

13. Satu bahan ialah Siri Bacaan Nabil Nabilah Darjah 1 dan 2. Bahan ini telah mendapat sambutan baik ibu bapa seperti Cik Siti Shyamira. Beliau menggunakan buku-buku cerita tersebut apabila bersama keluarganya untuk bacaan dan pengajaran nilai-nilai murni seperti menghormati orang lain. MLLPC akan meneruskan usaha-usaha sedemikian dan sedang membangunkan dua aplikasi bahasa yang dapat membantu ibu bapa menyokong pembelajaran Bahasa Melayu anak-anak mereka di rumah. Aplikasi-aplikasi ini sesuai untuk pelajar sekolah rendah dan menengah.

14. MLLPC bekerja rapat dengan pelbagai agensi dan masyarakat dalam usaha untuk memupuk minat terhadap bahasa dan warisan budaya. Rakan kerjasama seperti Majlis Bahasa Melayu Singapura, Taman Warisan dan pertubuhan-pertubuhan bahasa Melayu dan akar umbi telah turut serta untuk menggerakkan pelbagai inisiatif dan program. Satu contoh kolaborasi ialah Bulan Bahasa yang meraikan bahasa dan warisan budaya melalui pelbagai acara kemasyarakatan. Tanpa penglibatan aktif dan juga kerjasama ini, kesan dan matlamat acara-acara ini mungkin terhad.

15. Puan Speaker, kerjasama sedemikian melengkapi usaha berterusan MOE untuk menjadikan pengajaran dan pembelajaran Bahasa Ibunda lebih bermakna dan menyeronokkan. Pada masa depan, MLLPC telah merancang pelbagai program dan aktiviti untuk menyokong pelajar, guru dan ibu bapa dalam pembelajaran bahasa dan budaya Melayu. Usaha murni ini akan memupuk generasi Arif Budiman masa hadapan yang berpegang teguh pada nilai-nilai murni dan kearifan yang kita peroleh daripada warisan budaya. Seperti kata peribahasa, berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing, marilah kita membawa Singapura dan masyarakat kita ke tahap yang lebih tinggi lagi.

16. Terima kasih.

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