Allow more students to learn future skills

With the recent news regarding data breaches at the Securities Investors Association (Singapore) and SingHealth (Details of 70,000 Sias members compromised in 2013 attack, July 26; and Info on 1.5m SingHealth patients stolen in worst cyber attack, July 21), one cannot help but wonder if we have been neglecting something crucial in our education system.

As an educator from 2004 to 2015, I have seen continued reverence for traditional academic subjects that have not changed much since the advent of the Internet.

Skills such as coding continue to be sidelined and available only to the smallest minority.

My child recently went for an "entrance test" for robotics co-curricular activity.

Apparently, only the "brighter" ones will be selected due to the lack of places.

If schools find that there is demand on a critical future skill, shouldn't they make changes to allow more students to learn, rather than provide the opportunity only to the "brighter" ones?

We are facing a huge shortage of IT-trained locals and have relied on our neighbours who have become the IT powerhouses of the world.

Our education system needs a mindset shift.

If our children are the future, why are we still doing more of the same in our schools?

There should be no tension between getting a degree and gaining skills. Both should have a place in our schools.

Colin Lai Wai Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2018, with the headline 'Allow more students to learn future skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe