SINGAPORE: Singapore's education system is going through an "overwhelming adjustment" to prepare the young for a changing world, even though there have been no major shake-ups to its infrastructure in the wake of Budget 2017, Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday (Mar 12).
Noting that the Budget came in the wake of some economic uncertainty and no major fiscal shifts were announced, Mr Ong said it was about "doing things differently from before".
"The computer is unchanged but inside, the OS (operating system) is changing. The algorithm is changing," he told reporters on the sidelines of a community event. "From the MOE's (Ministry of Education) perspective, to us, that is an overwhelming adjustment."
"I can't just make a big change in the system by pumping in another billion dollars - build another polytechnic, build another university. Instead, it's changing the way we do things - uncovering students' talents, developing them to the fullest."
Announcements made during the Budget debate included moves to encourage students to pursue their strengths and passions, such as expanding the Direct School Admission scheme, as well as more aptitude-based admissions for polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education.
Mr Ong added that he is planning to table a bill in Parliament in the middle of this year to restructure SIM University into Singapore's sixth autonomous university.
He was speaking at the annual Canberra Day for residents in the Sembawang ward of the same name.
Mr Ong and his fellow Sembawang GRC MP Lim Wee Kiak gave out Education Merit Awards to more than 300 students in the ward. The award is given to students who have done well in school but whose household incomes do not meet the criteria for the MOE Edusave Merit Bursary.
Some 185 students were also given the Canberra Education Award. The award is handed to students whose grades did not quality for the Edusave Merit Bursary.
"We want to give them a small award to spur them on, so that they can achieve the bursary award next year," said Dr Lim.