March 05, 2018

MOE FY2018 Committee of Supply Debate Response by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Ms Low Yen Ling

1. Chairman, Minister Ng Chee Meng, Minister Ong Ye Kung, SMS Janil and SPS Faishal have expounded on the shifts we are making in our education landscape to better equip Singaporeans for the future economy.


2. As we build up our people’s skills, competency in our mother tongue languages (MTLs) is an important area that will stand Singaporeans in good stead. Chairman, please allow me to continue in Mandarin.

3. 一直以来,掌握双语是我国教育政策当中,不可或缺的重要元素。而在这个越来越全球化的时代,具备优异的母语能力和母语水平,以及多元的文化素养,也将使我们能够更有效地与世界各地的伙伴,建立密切的联系。

4. 陈佩玲国会议员询问我们如何加强学生掌握母语的能力。首先,学校所扮演的角色是非常重要的。学校在教授母语时,除了根据时时修订的课本上课以外,还有三个推广母语学习委员会以及李光耀双语基金的支持下,联合本地文教团体、本地媒体以及社区组织,引入具有创意的元素,如新谣、漫画写作、广播剧创作、社区导览,甚至游戏等等。

5. 例如,静山小学的老师,他们就创设了华文学习平台叫做“故事村”,让他们的学生通过互动性强的游戏,以及有趣的故事,学习华文华语。一些语文能力强的学生,还参与编制游戏软件,帮助同学们学习华文华语。基本上我们希望通过富有创意的教学方式,把母语的学习和应用,融入到生活当中,让母语不单单是一个科目,而是让母语成为生活语言。正如黄部长所提到的,生活中的实际应用,能让母语成为活生生的语言。因此我们特别重视让学生们“乐学活用”母语,爱上母语。

6. 其次,为了把母语进一步融入生活当中,打造一个学习和使用母语的大环境,我们也特别鼓励家长们多用母语跟孩子们沟通,从家里开始。一家人可以一起做很多事,打个比方一起观看母语节目、影片,还有收听母语歌曲,或是一起阅读母语书籍。教育部也为家长们,提供了非常丰富的母语学习素材和资源。

7. 例如,一年一度的母语学习论坛(MTLS),就邀请了多位专家学者,与家长们分享母语学习的方法和许许多多的资源。去年的母语学习论坛,就吸引了多达1万5千名家长、老师和同学们参加。此外,教育部也设置了iMTL 网络平台,好让家长们能够在家中依据他们孩子的学习能力和学习进度,督促和引导孩子学习和复习母语。这就是我们的iMTL母语学习平台。

8. Our local arts and cultural groups, media as well as grassroots organisations can also provide rich contexts to excite our students to use their MTLs.

9. For example, the Indian Heritage Centre worked with the Tamil Language Learning and Promotion Committee to develop a Discovery Kit that lets students practise the language as they explore the centre.

10. Like the learning of many skills today, as you have heard from the Ministers, the learning of our MTLs does not stop after we leave school. As adults, we can still build on the foundation we received in school and continue to build on our language proficiency later in life and throughout life.

11. There are now 190 MTL-related SkillsFuture Credit courses supporting lifelong MTL learning. The Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce Institute of Business will also be introducing Business Chinese programmes in community centres for easy access by adult learners.


12. Besides strengthening our proficiency in MTLs, what are the other work-relevant skills that we need to develop to face and thrive in the future economy? This is what the SkillsFuture movement is about, as you have heard from Minister Ong Ye Kung.

13. I agree with A/P Randolph Tan that literacy and ICT skills are critical skills for our workforce. This is why our WSQ framework includes Workplace Literacy and Numeracy as well as International Computing Driving Licence courses. ICT is also the top area of training that is supported by SkillsFuture Credit. Over 6,000 Singaporeans have picked up useful IT skills under the SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace initiative, such as using e-payment platforms, using social media and even starting an e-business.

14. Dr Intan asked about the impact of the SkillsFuture movement. Awareness of the SkillsFuture movement among Singaporeans has improved from 45% in January 2016 to 70% in December last year. According to the WSQ Outcomes Evaluation Survey 2016, 90% of respondents indicated that their WSQ training has helped them work more effectively and more efficiently, and 72% found that it had also facilitated their job search. More than 1,700 Polytechnic and ITE graduates have participated in the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme, and more than 2,400 Singaporeans have been awarded the SkillsFuture Study Awards.

15. Nonetheless, some Singaporeans may need help to navigate the training landscape, as Dr Intan has pointed out. Our schools and our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have strengthened their Education and Career Guidance efforts to help students better appreciate the strengths and passions they possess, and better understand the available education and career opportunities. To help Singaporeans make informed decisions, SSG publishes key information, such as the Private Education Institution (PEI) Graduate Employment Survey and trainees’ ratings on the course quality and outcomes of SSG-supported courses. This information transparency spurs the PEIs to keep their programmes industry-relevant and graduates’ skills employable.

16. To encourage and facilitate our people’s training journey, we have tailored and personalised the MySkillsFuture portal to meet individual training needs. This portal allows users to access industry information and search for jobs and training opportunities according to their interests. On this website, we also highlight exemplary employers who are avid supporters of staff training. In the two months following its launch, the portal has attracted more than 1.9 million page views, with more than 270,000 users having logged in. Come later part of this year, Singaporeans can look forward to a customised SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme (ELP) portal that shows available places and participating employers.

17. To broaden our public outreach, we have partnered our five Community Development Councils to introduce SkillsFuture Advice workshops to help Singaporeans understand work trends and workplace skills needed.

18.Ms Evangeline Boo is one of the 4,600 Singaporeans who have benefited from this move. Through the SkillsFuture Advice workshop, she became more aware of her own training needs. She now actively uses the MySkillsFuture portal to search for leadership and management courses to improve her work as a director.

19. As Minister Ong had mentioned, we will continue to expand the learning options for Singaporeans, and that includes working with IHLs to introduce more courses for adult learners.

20. Part of this will involve resourcing IHLs with the best talents, local and foreign, for teaching and research. Mr Seah Kian Peng asked about the local representation in our AUs. Our AUs are national institutions and it is certainly important that they continue to have a strong Singaporean core who understand our local issues well. We have introduced the Singapore Teaching and Academic Research Talent Scheme in 2015 and awarded 77 scholarships to aspiring Singaporean academics so far.


21. Together with our parents and partners, we will continue to strive to equip and empower Singaporeans in their lifelong learning journey ahead, so that we can all gear up to seize the opportunities ahead.