Monday, 21 September 2015

Our values, soul as a nation will keep Singapore going: Tan Chuan-Jin at Social Service Institute Graduation And Awards Ceremony 2015

"Our values, our culture, our ethos, our soul as a nation ... is something that needs to be grown and nurtured," said Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin.
By Liyana Othman, Channel NewsAsia, 19 Sep 2015

As the Republic strives towards SG100, what will keep the country going will be its values, said Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin on Saturday (Sep 19).

"It's no longer just about the economics ... it's not just about the infrastructure, it's not just about the security and about healthcare. All these things are important, but the thing that's going to keep us going will be our values, our culture, our ethos, our soul as a nation," said Mr Tan.

"But these are things which are difficult to define, difficult to implement. It's not something that the Government can say and therefore it's going to happen. But it's something that needs to be grown and nurtured," he added.

Mr Tan was speaking at the Social Service Institute Graduation and Awards Ceremony, where 84 social service professionals, including new entrants, mid-career switches and existing sector practitioners, received their Diploma and Higher Diploma and Social Service (DSS and HDSS).


Mother-of-two Ms Michelle Sim, who oversees a mentoring programme for needy students, took up a Higher Diploma in Social Service to better understand the behaviour of the children in her care.

"I was a housewife for about eight years before I decided to join the workforce again,” said the programme executive at Care Community Services Society. “I felt a call to serve in my own church, and my church has a social arm, which is the Care Community Services Society.

“After working for a few years, I realised that I really enjoyed what I'm doing, and I decided that I needed the upgrade because I was only holding an O-level certificate, and I felt that the certificate in social service will benefit me in my work."

These programmes are part of an accelerated education pathway by Social Service Institute - an arm of the National Council of Social Service - and UniSIM. Through them, individuals are able to ease into their roles in the social service sector. The DSS and HDSS also help boost the number of social workers in Singapore.

In addition, both programmes will be accredited the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification certification in February next year.

Graduates include current practitioners, new graduates and those making a mid-career switch, and this diversity reflects nationwide efforts to promote lifelong learning, according Mr Tan.


Mr Tan urged employers to send their workers for training, though he noted that the issue of manpower may cause some headache. "By enabling them to continue to grow and learn, they will come back rejuvenated. They will come back better able to continue and make the difference in your space,” he said.

“I hope that you will consider training in some ways as an investment for the long-term efforts that you're trying to put in, to make that difference in our society."

Mr Tan also called on the graduates to use not only their heart, but also put into practice what they have learnt to get to the root of each case when helping those in need.

“I would urge all of us to also begin to discern the patterns and to understand the structural reasons for which people find themselves in the situation,” he said. “It is important for us to also begin to understand the patterns that we see … to not only just help the individuals, but to prevent people from ending up in that situation in the first place."

At the awards ceremony, Mr Tan also launched SSI's very first book on social service professionals, titled Nurturing Career, Inspiring Lives. It showcases the stories of 10 DSS and HDSS graduates, who shared what pushed them to join the sector.

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