Earlier this year, we were greeted by an announcement from MOE stating that 8 JCs will be merged. This was largely due to Singapore experiencing an ageing population with declining birth rate.
On 5th March, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung came out to announce another news regarding schools. Polytechnics will reduce the number of courses offered by one-fifth over the next few years. Is Singapore’s issue of low birth rate really that bad?
Well, it appears that polytechnics will be cutting courses for another reason, versatility. It appears that there are too many varieties of polytechnic courses and this results in students being too specialise and not able to adapt to other fields. Basically, what we now need is a Jack of all trades, master of none.
“We are consciously trading depth for more breadth and versatility”
-Mr Ong Ye Kung
With Singapore undergoing rapid industrial changes, workers now need to have knowledge in various fields. This is because should one field become obsolete, there are still other skills for a worker to fall back on. Over-specificity only puts a student at greater risk of displacement when the industry changes.
The 230 courses offered by the 5 polytechnics will be streamlined to give students wider exposure. This will be achieved by merging the courses, allowing students to learn a greater range of skills.
Rest assure that Education Minister has promised that there will be no fall in the intake of students. Hence, we can see that this is not an issue of declining birth rate and definitely not a case of the government favouring foreigners…