MOE FY 2017 Committee of Supply Debate Speech by Parliamentary Secretary Low Yen Ling

Published Date: 07 March 2017 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Education and Career Guidance – Helping Interests To Grow

1. Madam Chairman, MOE wants to sustain and strengthen an environment where students discover their interests, and are guided in their choice of studies and career for a fulfilling learning journey.

2. And this journey of discovery starts in their schooling years. Because when our students understand their abilities, strengths and their interests, as well as the options available and what it takes, then our students can make better decisions about their education pathways, vocations and career choices.

3. Let me briefly share about Gracella’s experience. From young, she has been interested in plants but did not view it as a career option. However, at secondary school, she discovered the opportunities in the landscaping industry during an education and career guidance, in short ECG, talk with an ECG Counsellor. Armed with new passion and direction, she is now enrolled in the Nitec course for Landscaping Services, happily learning what she loves.

4. To better support students like Gracella, our ECG arm will help our students grow towards their career path. Grow, G-R-O-W. Let me explain:

  1. G – Grasp where their interests lie;
  2. R – Recognise their abilities;
  3. O – Observe how their interests link to future education and career pathways; and
  4. W – Weigh their options for informed decisions.

5. MOE facilitates this growth by weaving ECG into the curriculum, and by equipping our ECG Counsellors with updated information on education and industry opportunities.

6. Industry partners like companies, trade and business associations are crucial links between students’ interests and careers. Last September, I visited the ECG Fair that you see on the slide here, held at Nanyang Polytechnic and attended by over 3,000 students. Here, the industry representatives showcased their work. Their sharing enabled the Secondary 3 students to better understand and appreciate the industries and what it takes to be part of it.

7. Like what both Minister Ng Chee Meng and Minister Ong Ye Kung said in their addresses, parents play a vital role in their children’s aspirations and career planning. We hope they can become actively involved as coaches and guides along their children’s journey. This booklet is designed for parents, called “Journeying With Our Children, Achieving Their Aspirations”. It is a very thin booklet. Parents should read it not once, but many times, as it allows them to make informed decisions. Along with the Parent Engagement Session, these are some of the many ways we partner parents to help them better understand their children’s interests, talents and passions. These parenting skills can also improve their parent-child relationship and mutual understanding, and through it, set a solid foundation for life.

Making Our Languages Come Alive

8. Madam Chair, language skills are another key asset that will put the students in a good stead for life. To address Mr Chen Show Mao’s and Mr Henry Kwek’s questions, a significant number, close to 1,000 Secondary One students, take up regional languages as a third language yearly. That is 1,000 Secondary 1 students per cohort. There are more opportunities at tertiary level. We will certainly promote more interest in this area, especially in regional languages like Malay, Tamil and Chinese.

9. I thank Ms Tin Pei Ling for understanding and also underlining the importance of our MTLs. We will certainly continue to work with our community partners to make MTLs come alive for our students.

10. To this end, last Monday, the new bilingual children’s TV programme “Junction Tree” debuted on Okto TV. Produced in partnership with the Lee Kuan Yew Fund for Bilingualism, the show fosters deeper appreciation of the three MTLs by showcasing their use and relevance in daily life. Our children can catch it on air every afternoon. And parents, please catch the re-telecast with your young children too.

11. The Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee is also spearheading a new programme, “Tamilodu Inaivom!” What does this mean? It means, “Let’s Connect With Tamil!” Through drama and cultural activities, it will show families how Tamil is fun and easy to use at home.

12. Our new primary school curriculum makes the MTLs come alive by reflecting the rich cultures and languages in everyday settings, which the children can relate to. Lessons often reflect the cultural festivals and national events that they experience in the real world. So they are motivated to relate about what they have learnt.

13. Madam Chair, allow me to conclude in Mandarin.

14. 双语教育是我国教育的基石。我同意国会议员陈佩玲的看法,我们的母语不但有着深厚的文化内涵,更是生生不息,紧跟着社会发展,是活的语言,在现代社会也有很高的实用性。我们都知道,这一代的学生是“数码原住民” (digital natives),因此在学习母语方面,有必要以他们熟悉和感兴趣的方式,让孩子们发现语言的奥妙,让他们从心里爱上华文。教育部母语处和推广华文学习委员会,以及李光耀双语基金,接下来将联合更多的社区伙伴、媒体伙伴,共同携手创建生机勃勃的本地母语生态 (ecosystem),打造让学生们 “爱上华文” 的良好大环境。

15. 首先,学习母语必须从小开始,让我们的孩子从小就习惯用母语表达他们的思想,他们的感情,因此我们为学前儿童推出新颖的活动,比如体验式的学习项目 -- “娃娃游园乐”,让我们的孩子们在游戏中学习母语。

16. 第二,我们以兴趣为导向,让学生感受到华文的魅力,比如,“新空下” 的新谣比赛,今年就增添了新谣校园音乐分享会,通过例如《新加坡派》等等歌曲,为我们的同学们讲述我们的新加坡故事,传承属于新加坡自己的文化。此外,我们也将与新加坡华族文化中心紧密合作,加强我们的学生本土华族文化的意识。

17. 第三,我们更要善用资讯科技,开发数码的资源,比如iMTL母语互动平台,和配合教材开发电子资源 “学乐” ,就能够让我们的家长陪伴孩子一同通过电子平台乐学母语。

18. 谈到家长,我们知道现在有许多年幼孩子的家长,其实都是在双语制度下成长的,他们具备一定使用华语的能力,因此一定要善用这个优势,从小就和我们的孩子讲华语,听中文歌曲,一起阅读华文书籍,或是观看华文节目或视频,只要坚持,一定会看到成效。

19. 母语是新加坡宝贵的文化资产,而文化是创新的泉源,也是我们和国际接轨的重要资源。未来经济委员会报告所提出的“深化并扩展国际联系”策略,就需要我们进一步的加强多元语言沟通能力。在双语政策的引导下,我们将继续加强母语教学,为未来的创新、国际化发展奠定稳固的基础。我相信在教育部、学校、家长、社区伙伴、媒体伙伴共同的努力下,一定能够培育一批具有文化底藴、思路创新以及有效和国际接轨的新一代!

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