Give more students opportunities to work overseas

I agree with Professor Bernard Yeung that in this age of disruption, university students must make the effort to embrace change to thrive and succeed in the global marketplace (Preparing business students for a volatile, uncertain world; July 31).

The rapid shortening of business cycles has radically transformed the idea of higher education from merely a milestone in life to an ongoing process of lifelong learning.

It is heartening that in recent years, there has been closer interaction and further cooperation between education providers and private industry.

This has transformed our educational curriculum and made it a lot more flexible and adaptive to the real-time challenges faced in industry.

However, while much has been achieved, we still have a long way to go. There must be a continued emphasis on bringing out the best in our students.

We should look into further leveraging our position as an economic hub to actively source for more overseas learning opportunities for our students.

The working holidays agreement signed with Australia is one good example. The Government should actively consider embarking on similar agreements with other countries.

Beyond this, we should look into providing additional funding so more Singaporean students who do not come from wealthy backgrounds can pursue internship opportunities abroad.

This is money well spent, as the skills that come from their overseas experiences and being out of their comfort zone will groom students to develop a global perspective.

With these experiences, they will be better poised to take advantage of regional and international employment and business opportunities in the future.

Meritocracy must be the enabler, rather than the disabler, of social mobility.

In this regard, doing all we can to offer opportunities to everyone, not just the elite, is the best way to strengthen our meritocracy.

This will require tremendous effort and commitment, but it is the right thing to do.

Lionel Loi Zhi Rui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'Give more students opportunities to work overseas'. Print Edition | Subscribe