Monday 10 June 2013

Govt commitment to lifelong education not "blank cheque"

By Dylan Loh, Channel NewsAsia, 8 Jun 2013

Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has said the government's commitment to lifelong learning does not imply a "blank cheque" of subsidies.

Engaging participants in the Singapore Conversation on Saturday, he said it's not possible for the state to financially support every option that Singaporeans take in furthering their education.

Rather, the government's role is to provide the right opportunities for people to improve their skills, he said.

Singapore's Continuing Education and Training (CET) system adopts a modular approach, and Mr Tan called this the "sharpest edge" in the country's learning landscape.

He said modules are adaptable to suit changing conditions so that relevance can be maintained.

And the government will ensure that the training provided is up-to-date, allowing people to find job opportunities with better skills.

Mr Tan said: "The best form of welfare is work, because the dignity that comes with work is very important. To be able to provide for your own family, to stand on your own two feet, I think there's a value that comes from that that public assistance cannot replace."

Some participants at the Singapore Conversation clamoured for more education subsidies, while others noted that the government has already done a lot.

Mr Tan acknowledged the divergent views and reassured the participants that policies won't be static.

But as subsidies involve taxpayers' money, he said the government has to be careful with financial support.

Mr Tan noted that letting people foot a portion of course fees means they are more likely to have vested interest in their lifelong-learning pursuit.

He added that although the right courses can be provided, lifelong learning is ultimately an individual choice.

Mr Tan said the government will adjust courses that are ineffective or irrelevant so that resources are correctly used.

Still, others think more can be done to alter the Continuing Education and Training structure.

Participant Mika Swee said: "Lifelong learning should not be a struggle for us...For people like our age, I think, to go through writing and academic is pretty tough. So, perhaps, they should switch to 50 per cent assessment, writing and then perhaps project work."

While the overarching theme in Saturday's session is that of lifelong learning, other sessions will touch on job opportunities and fair employment.

No comments:

Post a Comment