Chan Chun Sing: We Cannot Only Rely on Graduates from our Education System

Education Minister Chan Chun Sing recently shared about the importance of having a competitive workforce. In order to do so, Singapore cannot solely rely on our graduates. We need to develop overseas talents and continuously learn new things. Currently, the goal is to have 20% to 30% of our people learning new things every year.

“If we only depend on the flow of 30,000 to 40,000 graduates from our education system, we are only renewing our workforce at a rate of 1 to 2 per cent per year.”

That is not enough, which is why he believes we cannot limit work to a geographical location. It is time to expand our workforce and tap on foreigners. He told Singaporeans not to be fixated on the local-foreign composition of our workforce as it is part of staying relevant. Only when we evolve can we retain a competitive edge internationally.

“The real matrix of success for Singapore is… how many good opportunities we create for Singaporeans in Singapore and beyond through our ability to combine our talents with those from around the world.”

He also stressed the need to constantly upgrade ourselves and be willing to learn. This way, we will be more open, able to look ahead and find new solutions. In his words, we have to “go beyond the basics of solving yesterday’s problems with yesterday’s solutions.”

This is the Education Minister telling us we are not producing enough graduates and saying we should be the ones to evolve. What are your thoughts?

Chan Chun Sing was speaking at the Future of Work series at the Singapore Institute of Management.