Dialogue with the Ministry of Education

5 October 2016
SICC Members' Room

A dialogue session between representatives from the Ministry of Education (MOE) and 50 members was organised on 5 October 2016. The aim of the dialogue was to discuss how relevant the Singapore school curriculum is to businesses today.

Mr Tan Kuo Cheang, Deputy Director, Curriculum Policy Office, gave an opening presentation on MOE’s approach to developing 21st century competencies in students. Recognising the shift in workforce demands, MOE has implemented changes to the curriculum and introduced new programmes, all with a common goal to develop critical and inventive thinking. Some of these initiatives include project work, greater emphasis on co-curricular activities, the values in action programme as well as applied learning. Click here to download the presentation slides.

The dialogue followed immediately with the following panelists:

1. Mr Sin Kim Ho, Director, Sciences 
2. Mr Kenneth Lee, Director, Humanities 
3. Mr Ong Kong Hong, Director, Curriculum Policy Office
4. Mr Puvan Ariaratnam, Director, Character and Citizenship Education
5. Mr Ang Zhongren, Senior Deputy Director (Higher Education Policy)

A lively and engaged discussion took place. Key topics raised included:

• The prior focus of our education system on grades rather than on skills and attitude
• Whether or not our school curriculum gives students opportunities to develop creativity from a young age. It does but there are limits given what needs to be taught. 
• To what extent class size plays a role in positive outcomes. Recent research suggests otherwise. Click here to read the article. 
• Does the system facilitate students to build the courage to ask questions? It does now.
• The vital need for quality and committed teachers and the equally vital need for parents to get out of their way and let them do their job

There is no doubt that Singapore’s education system has seen many positive improvements in the past two decades. However, the way businesses operate is changing so rapidly due to globalisation and digitalisation that more companies need to work with teachers and MOE to provide insights into their evolving needs and what they expect from future employees. This process requires time, a change of mindsets and more importantly, the constructive support of all stakeholders – educators, parents, students and the business community.

The Chamber would like to thank all MOE representatives and attendees for participating in this two-way dialogue. We look forward to keep the discussions going in 2017.