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Our aspirations may be limited only by our imagination

Like Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, I can imagine the possibility of a non-university graduate becoming Singapore's prime minister in time to come (A PM without a degree? Possible, says Ong Ye Kung; May 6).

I imagine the potential prime minister graduating from a polytechnic with a diploma, completing his national service as an officer and starting at the bottom of the ladder in his political career, where he learns on the job to acquire the knowledge and skills for his future job. This scenario could be likened to walking up steps that will eventually take him to the top. "It all adds up to a significant transformation over time", as Mr Ong put it when commenting on changes made at the Ministry of Education over the past few years.

What underpins Mr Ong's bold prediction may be the belief that all Singaporeans can aspire to realise their full potential in whatever they put their hearts and minds to, through continuous learning.

Their success no longer depends on degrees but on their ability to get the job done well.

Many company chief executives do not have a degree. Many of those who have degrees obtained them after taking up the top job. They studied part time to update themselves, while broadening their network of contacts, reading more widely and thinking more deeply.

If it is possible for a Singaporean to be appointed to the country's highest political office without a university education, what more for other leadership roles in other sectors here? We may be limited only by our imagination.

Joachim Sim Khim Huang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 13, 2018, with the headline 'Our aspirations may be limited only by our imagination'. Print Edition | Subscribe