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Pathways upwards will remain open to all S'poreans: Tony Tan

No single point in Singapore's education system will determine the future of children here, said Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

SINGAPORE: No single point in Singapore's education system will determine the future of children here, said Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam.

He gave that commitment in his address on Friday evening as Parliament re-opened after its traditional mid-term break.

In setting out the government's agenda for the second half of its term, Dr Tan said pathways upwards will be kept open to all Singaporeans regardless of background and family circumstances.

Singapore, he added, must be a nation of opportunities for all.

If someone does not succeed at first try, there should always be a chance to try again.

Crucial to upholding this ethos, is the country's education system.

The government is already reviewing the sector.

More is being invested in pre-school education, and efforts are underway to reduce the stress of competition, especially at milestones like Primary One registration or the PSLE.

"We will continue to improve the system, so that no single point in our education will wholly determine our future. We will ensure that every school is a good school, and offer more opportunities for students to hone their interests and talents across many fields," said Dr Tan.

He added that the government will go beyond academic success, to imbue the young with practical skills, good character and sound values, which he said are "just as important in life".

And this aspiration will go beyond a child's early years in school.

At the tertiary level, a committee is exploring ways to create more opportunities for Institute of Technical Education and Polytechnic students.

Singapore's two new universities will also have a stronger focus on practical application.

And into adulthood, the government will continue to invest in life-long learning.

Dr Tan said the focus will not only be on low-income workers but also middle-income Singaporeans and professionals, managers and executives.

"We are strengthening our system of Continuing Education and Training (CET), including the two new CET Institutes -- the Devan Nair Institute in Jurong, and the Lifelong Learning Institute in Paya Lebar," he said.

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