Speech by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the Official Opening of EHL Campus (Singapore)

Published Date: 21 March 2022 06:00 PM

News Speeches

Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, Head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research

Excellencies

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good afternoon.

1. Congratulations, EHL, on the establishment of your first international campus.

2. EHL is a world-renowned institution based in Switzerland with an established track record where many of its graduates have gone on to assume leadership positions in the hospitality, tourism and other industries.

  1. It is significant that EHL chose to establish its first international campus outside of Switzerland in Singapore.
  2. With Singapore serving as a gateway to Asia, the new campus will help EHL to expand its presence to this region and beyond. It also allows us the opportunity to learn from EHL's expertise.
  3. I am confident that this partnership will benefit EHL, Singapore and the region.

3. One of the challenges for the global economy is to ensure a healthy, well-skilled talent pool to meet the demands of increasingly diverse and fast-evolving industries.

4. COVID19 has accelerated many trends and heightened the need to evolve our education system.

  1. Singapore is actively enhancing our education system to better prepare our students for the future.
  2. Some of our efforts in our higher education landscape include:
    1. Strengthening the nexus between our institutions – the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics and Autonomous Universities (AUs) – and industry,
    2. Enhancing LifeSkills curricula, in areas such as communication and engagement, and global perspectives,
    3. And providing more support for Singaporeans in their journey of continual learning and skills upgrading across the course of their lives.
  3. I am happy to see similar themes in EHL's Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management.
    1. The programme focuses on the development of interpersonal skills alongside a management degree.
    2. Students also gain valuable exposure to industry, through internships and other opportunities for industry engagement.

Collaboration between higher education institutions

5. Collaboration and partnership between institutions is another important aspect we must promote in our higher education landscape.

  1. Each institution has their own niche, and the sharing of resources and ideas can help to build a more diverse and vibrant learning ecosystem.

6. I am excited to see EHL already playing an active role in our higher education ecosystem.

  1. EHL is working with ITE to develop a new Technical Diploma in Hospitality and Hotel Management.
  2. This Technical Diploma will provide a new pathway for those keen to pursue a career in the hospitality industry and will leverage both the Swiss hospitality education excellence and the distinctive applied learning approach of ITE.
  3. Graduates of the course will be equipped with skills in supply chain and facilities management, and new in-demand skills such as business analytics and sustainability hospitality practices.
  4. This will prepare our students to work in a range of different settings in the hospitality and service sectors.

7. I encourage EHL to explore further collaboration opportunities with our local institutions. EHL could do so by:

  1. Tapping on the strong links our local institutions have with local and regional businesses to explore joint programmes, and
  2. Sharing best practices and teaching methods, including in catering to a new generation of adult learners.

Lifelong learning as a priority for Singapore

8. Today, firms and workers face greater disruption and faster skills obsolescence.

  1. This is accelerated by COVID19 where the workforce needs to continually upskill and reskill to remain competitive, and keep up with the pace of change.
  2. One example relevant to the hospitality sector is the growth of automation and contactless services, in response to the need to minimise physical interactions during the pandemic.

9. Going forward, our Institutes of Higher Learning must effectively be institutes of continual learning. Now, more than ever, lifelong learning is essential for us to stay relevant and competitive.

10. And that is why I commend EHL for your efforts – not just in grooming a new generation of students, but as importantly, allowing the current generation of adult learners to keep upgrading and reinventing themselves.

11. It is one thing to bring on a new stream of new workers with new capabilities. It is another magnitude of challenge to retrain workers who are already in the industry and in need of new skillsets to remain relevant and meet tomorrow's challenges.

12. In recent years, SkillsFuture Singapore has encouraged Private Education Institutions to do more in the aspects of adult learning, in support of the SkillsFuture movement.

13. I am glad to hear that EHL plans to offer online certificates and short courses for adult learners.

  1. These will expand upskilling opportunities for individuals in the hospitality sector, broaden their career options in the hospitality and service industry, and help them to stay relevant and competitive.

14. One of the challenges we would like to work on with EHL is this: if we look at the size of this campus, it would be quite hard to imagine that this campus can reach the number of students who desire to come here. I would say there is the need to expand EHL's physical presence by an order of magnitude of one, if not two.

15. And therein lies both our challenge and our opportunity. How do we scale up EHL's offerings to a much wider group of students who cannot be here physically?

16. The traditional concept of bringing students to school, or bringing adult learners back to school, may no longer be sufficient.

17. Instead, the challenge is how to bring the school to adult learners.

  1. Adult learners have many competing demands such as financial responsibilities and family commitments.

18. If we are able to pilot new ways of teaching, or new andragogy for adult learners, we will be able to use this campus as a platform to reach out to many more people who would like to upskill in the hospitality industry.

19. We all know that the hospitality industry is highly contact intensive. Not everything can be done and learnt virtually. But if we can combine the best of the physical and virtual pedagogy and andragogy, then we will make a significant breakthrough in adult education.

20. I encourage EHL to continue working with us closely, as well as with the industry and institutions, to provide more industry relevant programmes for our students, including our adult learners.

Closing

21. Once again, congratulations to EHL on the establishment of your new campus in Singapore. We look forward to working closely with EHL to:

  1. Enrich the diversity of our tertiary education landscape;
  2. Provide more opportunities for both our young learners and adult learners; and

22. We also look forward to EHL being a platform for the industry to come together to pioneer new concepts and ideas, not just for the service industry, but for the wider economy.

23. Thank you.

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