Speech by Dr Maliki Osman, Second Minister for Education at the Nanyang Polytechnic Graduation Ceremony 2021

Published Date: 05 May 2021 12:00 AM

News Speeches

Mr Tan Tong Hai, Chairman, Nanyang Polytechnic Board of Governors

Ms Jeanne Liew, Principal & CEO, Nanyang Polytechnic

Parents and family members

Graduands

Introduction

1. Good morning. Thank you for inviting me to join you for this special occasion.

2. My heartfelt congratulations to the graduands from the Diplomas in Architecture, Digital Game Art & Design, and Game Development & Technology who will be receiving their diploma certificates today. I would also like to congratulate the nine Distinguished Award recipients across NYP's Schools. You have proven that success comes only with hard work, determination and perseverance! Keep up the good work!

3. Let us also show our appreciation to those who have journeyed with you – your family, friends and the team of lecturers, tutors and support staff at NYP. Most of them are not able to join us in person here today due to safe management measures, but I know that they are all very proud of every one of you. Your success is their success too. So, let us put our hands together to thank them.

Resilience

4. This past year has been very challenging for all of us. With COVID-19, we adjusted to new ways of learning and keeping in touch with our friends and loved ones. Lessons, project work and CCAs had to be shifted online and some of you would have had to adjust to working from home during your internships, as employers pivoted their business models to stay one step ahead of the pandemic.

5. While the experience was different, you saw how companies adjusted their operations and functions to stay afloat and overcome the challenges. It was not easy for everyone, but with determination and collective will, we managed to get here today. You should all be proud of how far you have come. I hope you will continue to stay resilient as you embark on the next chapter of your lives.

6. The recent spike in the number of locally transmitted cases in the community however, is a grim reminder that this virus is not letting up easily, and we must continue to be vigilant and not let our guard down. We should encourage those who are eligible to get their vaccinations to do so as this will act as an added layer of protection for all of us.

7. Some of you may feel anxious about stepping out into the workforce in the middle of the pandemic. I would like to assure you that Government is committed to supporting Singaporeans through these uncertain times. In this year's Budget, we announced an additional $5.4 billion for the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, with the bulk of this top-up going towards an extension of the Jobs Growth Incentive that provides wage support for new local hires. With this change, we expect to support the hiring of 200,000 locals and provide up to 35,000 traineeship and training opportunities this year.

8. I am heartened that NYP has also leaned forward to support its graduates in navigating these uncertain times. For example, NYP will be offering all graduates at least two complimentary continuing education and training modules, to kickstart your lifelong learning journey. This is complemented with "Career Headstart", a one-stop online repository of information about NYP's support measures and initiatives for all graduates. I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities and support provided by NYP.

Embracing Change

9. Technological advancements and other macro shifts in the economy have disrupted business models and jobs across entire industries, and COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of change. Yet, with these disruptions, come opportunities.

10. For designers and creatives like yourselves, the crisis presents many new and interesting challenges to explore. For example, with the rise of remote work arrangements, one big challenge is how to reimagine the design of our homes, neighbourhoods and even cities, to safeguard human relationships and well-being even as we reduce face-to-face interactions to limit the spread of the virus. Our society is also fast aging and issues of social isolation amongst our seniors may need to be addressed from a design perspective. Thus, as you embark on the next stage of your journey, I encourage you to remain curious, adapt to new situations and seize new opportunities.

11. There is increasing recognition of the importance of design to the broader economy. The total number of job opportunities for individuals with design training will continue to grow in the next five years from 69,500 jobs in 2019 to 85,000 jobs in 2025. Designers and creatives will be called on to connect the dots between disciplines, and help bridge gaps between different parts of their organisations. In addition to having strong core competencies in design, success will now increasingly hinge on complementary skills such as user experience design, programming and even writing and storytelling.

12. NYP has responded to the changing needs of the design sector by merging the School of Design and School of Interactive & Digital Media into a new School of Design and Media since April 2021. Many of you here today are from these schools. I am confident the merger will help NYP better integrate its long-standing expertise across the Design, Media and Technology fields, and strengthen educational offerings for future generations of NYP students.

13. In this vein, NYP has introduced the Professional Competency Model (PCM), where teaching is organised around real-world work tasks, instead of "subjects". This is done in close collaboration with NYP's industry partners. Students under the PCM will benefit from lessons co-taught by NYP lecturers and industry practitioners, and graduate with additional industry certifications that can help kickstart their career. The PCM is a bold move that will help NYP students better appreciate the connections between different disciplines and translate them into practice. This will give them an edge in the fast-moving workplace of the future, where the ability to navigate complex challenges will be the key to success.

14. I am heartened the new School of Design and Media is one of the NYP schools forging ahead with the PCM, starting with the Diploma in Game Design & Technology in 2022, followed by the rest of the diploma programmes in 2023. I wish NYP all the best in this transformative effort.

Service to the Community

15. As you graduate, I encourage you to give back to those around you. This is at the heart of what NYP stands for – innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us.

16. Take for example Jay Ang, a graduand from the Diploma of Biomedical Engineering. Jay applied his skills learnt in this diploma to design a robot guide dog to help the visually impaired. The robot dog can "learn" from its experience and guide its ward to safety across obstacles and traffic crossings. It has received praise from organisations like Guide Dogs Singapore, which trains real guide dogs.

17. Another example is Elson Ng, who is the gold award winner for Diploma in Game Development & Technology. Elson led a group of his peers to design "Code Blue", a training module for the Institute of Mental Health's (IMH) nurses. The group comprised students from the Diplomas in Game Development & Technology and Game Art & Design, and they used what they learnt about gamification to help the nurses immerse themselves into various scenarios encountered around the hospital. I hear that the game is well-received by the IMH team, and has been incorporated into the regular training for nurses. Kudos to Jay, Elson and the NYP teams - well done. Your passion for the community and spirit of innovation have made a difference to those around you!

18. The community also includes your alma mater – NYP. The strength of an institution is often anchored on the network of Alumni committed to the growth of their alma mater. You are the beneficiaries of your predecessors' commitment to contribute to NYP's success and growth, and I strongly encourage you to follow in their footsteps. Come back and contribute! Share your industry experience and strengthen the nexus between NYP and the industry so that successive cohorts of students continue to value their education experience in NYP. More importantly, be role models and source of inspiration to these future cohorts of NYP students.

Conclusion

19. You should be very proud of what you have accomplished, and I am confident of the bright futures that you have ahead of you. Always remember that the recipe for success is to be resilient and open-minded, and to have the passion and motivation to keep learning and discovering new ways to do things better. Do also treasure the friends that you have made over the years in NYP. They will be part of your support network as you venture out into the future. The journey will not be smooth sailing all the time. But this network of support will ensure that you are not alone in your journey as you navigate the challenging terrain in search of the path of success.

20. For now, remember that our fight against COVID-19 is still ongoing and we must all do our part to stay safe and keep everyone safe.

21. I wish you all the very best. Congratulations once again. Thank you.

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