SINGAPORE: While the job landscape has changed, Singapore’s education system will enable its young people to have the flexibility, values and skills to prepare them for “any kind of job”, said Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.
Mr Teo was speaking in a Facebook Live video on Friday evening (Jul 3), alongside the People’s Action Party (PAP) candidates contesting in Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC – Dr Janil Puthucheary and new faces Desmond Tan, Yeo Wan Ling and Sharael Taha. The team addressed questions written in by residents and weighed in on issues raised by people they met.
Job security among youths in a post COVID-19 world was one of the key issues addressed by Mr Teo.
“I think our young people are fortunate, compared to young people in many places because we have spent a lot of time designing our education system,” said Mr Teo. “In our education system, we try to make the education relevant and make our young people job ready, world ready when they come out.”
Besides being able to acquire a range of digital and communication skills, “almost all” young people in tertiary institutions have access to local and overseas internship opportunities, Mr Teo said.
Meanwhile, Singapore continues to have key sectors “built around trust, connectivity and knowledge” – a “powerful selling point” that the Economic Development Board (EDB) uses to convince investors to come and create jobs here, Mr Teo added.
He said that Singaporeans, especially young people, must have the flexibility to go out of their comfort zone to take up these jobs.
“I think that our young people do have that kind of skill and that kind of mentality,” Mr Teo said.
While the tertiary system has continued to improve in recent years, Mr Teo also shared that more emphasis will be placed on pre-school education.
“We want to make it (pre-school education) more accessible and more affordable. So, we all know that primary school education is … very affordable,” Mr Teo said.
“But preschool education can still be … quite expensive for young families. So we want to make pre-school education as affordable as primary education.”
While there have been support measures to help companies impacted by COVID-19 “until they come back to normal”, it is also important to help the workers in these industries and think about how to restructure jobs, Mr Teo said.
“Some of those jobs in the industries may change quite permanently,” he added.
The Government is developing a “comprehensive upskilling system” for workers in the workforce and has “started with SkillsFuture”.
The PAP team will in a three-cornered fight against the Singapore Democratic Alliance and Peoples Voice party in Pasir-Ris Punggol GRC in this General Election.