Call to boost skills of undergrads pursuing general degrees here

Dr Intan urged MOE to study the benefits of cross-discipline attachments or internships, and multiskilling opportunities for such students.
Dr Intan urged MOE to study the benefits of cross-discipline attachments or internships, and multiskilling opportunities for such students.

Undergraduates pursuing general degrees in universities here do not have industry-relevant training or skills. They may lose out as Singapore emphasises the need for its people to have deep expertise, Dr Intan Azura Mokhtar (Ang Mo Kio GRC) said in Parliament yesterday.

This comes as the Republic embarks on a SkillsFuture movement to encourage Singaporeans to develop skills to take on jobs of the future. The Government has also pushed out a series of initiatives to encourage workers to master new skills.

The developments are positive, said Dr Intan, as they will allow the recognition of diverse abilities that go beyond academic grades.

But she is concerned that undergraduates in general degree programmes are ill-prepared, and urged the Ministry of Education (MOE) to study the benefits of "cross-discipline attachments or internships, and opportunities for multiskilling and second-skilling during the course of (the students') undergraduate studies". This may boost their employability, she said.

Dr Intan also encouraged mothers and housewives to use the SkillsFuture credits to gain new knowledge and skills, which will come in handy when they want to return to the workplace and supplement the household income.

All Singaporeans aged 25 and older will receive credits, starting from $500 now, that can help pay for training programmes ranging from language skills to the retail trade.

She also urged Malay/Muslim organisations such as Mendaki Sense - the training arm of self-help group Mendaki - and the Singapore Muslim Women's Association to develop upgrading programmes that can be paid with the SkillsFuture Credits for housewives, mothers, and single mothers.

"This way, our mothers will not feel that they are alone in their effort to enhance their knowledge and skills.

"When we strengthen our mothers and housewives, we guarantee the future of our community through our children," she said.

Pearl Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2016, with the headline 'Call to boost skills of undergrads pursuing general degrees here'. Print Edition | Subscribe