SINGAPORE - The education system was not designed with dead ends.
This was the message of Acting Minister for Education (Higher education and skills) Ong Ye Kung had at the awards ceremony for the first batch of SkillsFuture Study Awards recipients on Saturday (July 9).
He related the stories of recipients like Mr Chan Kim Ying, 67, managing director of Thye Shan Medical Hall, who graduated from university in 1972, but "has not stopped learning since".
Mr Chan went on to complete masters in business administration in 1990, then a course at the Singapore College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and now plans to use his award money of $5,000 to pursue a course in internationalisation.
"What do these stories teach us? Simply put, we must be on a constant quest for excellence, to do what we do better," said Mr Ong. "Our system is not designed with dead ends - far from it - there are multiple alternative paths to take, and we have a lifetime to walk them."
A junior college student who fails to get spot at a university can opt for a course at polytechnic first, and a polytechnic student who is not able to enter university can enrol in an Earn and Learn Program to learn practical skills.
About 350 Singaporeans obtained their SkillsFuture Study Awards on Saturday, coming from 13 different fields of work including social service, air transport and infocomm technology. Each recipient received $5,000, which they can use to defray out-of-pocket expenses during their course of study.
At present, the awards cover 18 areas of specialisations and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency said logistics, tourism and training sectors will be included by the end of the year.