SINGAPORE - An understanding of economics and finance provides a valuable foundation for lifelong learning and can be applied to real-world problems, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Sunday (July 25) as he encouraged young people here to develop and deepen their interest in the topic.
Speaking at the final round of the virtual National Economics and Financial Management Challenge, Mr Heng said the basics of economics and finance can be applied to public policy, for example to address climate change or changing demographics in Singapore and globally.
"The discourse is not just theoretical, but it can lead to better outcomes that can improve the lives of billions of people on earth," he said.
The challenge was organised by the National University of Singapore's Economics Society to make pre-tertiary education students become interested and appreciate economics and finance.
Now in its 14th year, the challenge began this month with two earlier rounds that tested the participants' knowledge of tertiary-level economics and their ability to create a video applying economic and financial theories to an everyday life topic.
Sunday's round included a case study and presentation segment, where teams were given 1½ hours to work on a case question, and a buzzer round that tests participants' general knowledge.
Mr Heng also addressed concerns young people here might have about their future, given the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: "I believe that while Covid-19 has closed some doors, it has also opened many new ones. The post-Covid-19 world will be quite different from the one before, but it will be no less exciting."
He noted that Covid-19 has accelerated structural changes that were already in motion, including the digital revolution and the renewed emphasis on environmental sustainability.
"Our youth are well-placed to seek out these new opportunities," he said.
Mr Heng added that the value of understanding economics goes beyond being prepared for the job market.
He said: "I believe economics can help each of us to make better choices - for ourselves and for our society. I hope that you will continue to deepen your interest in economics and finance, and use this knowledge to become active citizens and make a difference.
"This is the spirit of Singapore Together, where we can all play a part in building a better shared future."