Education must equip people to thrive in the workforce of the future: President Tony Tan

Singapore's education system must evolve to equip students to thrive in the workforce of the future.
Singapore's education system must evolve to equip students to thrive in the workforce of the future.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

SINGAPORE - Singapore's education system must evolve to equip students with technological competencies to thrive in the workforce of the future, President Tony Tan Keng Yam said on Thursday (Nov 5).

"Technology will play an even more prominent role in our lives and create new ways of working and living," he said.

He was speaking at the launch of the inaugural Nobel Prize Series at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

The series, the first of its kind, was set up to bring together experts to deliberate on critical issues that may arise in future.

Dr Tan said that, besides technological advances that will transform societies on a larger scale than before, the challenges of the future will become more complex.

He said: "Apart from technical knowledge and skills, the education system must prepare students to tackle social and ethical issues that arise as technological advances enable humankind to do more."

He highlighted the theme of the series - The Future of Learning - as a timely reminder that Singapore has to continue building on its education system to take its people through the next 50 years.

He noted that education has been a pillar of Singapore's success in the past 50 years, and will continue to be so in the future.

He added: "As a small island with no natural resources, Singapore has always focused our efforts in developing on our only resource, our people.

"Our investments in education have provided Singaporeans with the skills and capabilities to succeed and prosper, and to support Singapore's economic development."

Nobel laureates, world-leading scientists, policymakers and thought leaders gathered at NTU for Thursday's conference, at which speakers from different fields offered insights into what the future of learning holds.

Besides the conference, the series, produced by Nobel Media and the Nobel Museum in partnership with NTU, will also feature four public lectures by five Nobel laureates - Professor Wole Soyinka, Sir James Mirrlees, Sir Harold Walter Kroto, Professor Ada Yonath and Professor Stefan Hell - as well as an exhibition detailing the history of the Nobel Prize.

Compared with previous Nobel-related events in Singapore, which tended to focus on physics, chemistry and medicine, this series offers a broader scope of topics including literature and economics.