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SkillsFuture initiative gets big thumbs-up

SINGAPORE — The freshly-launched SkillsFuture movement has been well-received by Singaporeans, going by the survey* findings. Almost three-quarters of the respondents (73 per cent) agreed that the Government is doing a lot to help Singaporeans upgrade themselves to stay relevant for the economy in the future.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — The freshly-launched SkillsFuture movement has been well-received by Singaporeans, going by the survey* findings. Almost three-quarters of the respondents (73 per cent) agreed that the Government is doing a lot to help Singaporeans upgrade themselves to stay relevant for the economy in the future.

The recent move to shift emphasis away from paper qualifications and grades saw even greater support, with close to nine in 10 (88 per cent) agreeing that focusing more attention on skills is a move in the right direction.

Former Nominated Member of Parliament Eugene Tan, who teaches law in Singapore Management University, said this points to the deep resonance with the quest for a fairer society.

“It points to the desire for Singapore to continue to be a land of opportunity that is not denominated solely by paper qualifications. This has mass appeal because the professional and educated elites comprise a small portion of the population,” he said.

But Associate Professor Tan noted this also means there is “growing expectations of the SkillsFuture movement as a means of equalising society, of closing the gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’”.

Nanyang Technological University economist Walter Theseira had similar views. “The Government now has to deliver by ensuring that Singaporeans who undergo skills upgrading are able to find jobs that reward their increased skills in terms of higher incomes or greater opportunities for promotion,” he said.

One key group, he added, will be retrenched or mid-career professionals, managers, executives, and technicians who often have very poor job mobility, perhaps because they lack contemporary or updated skills.

*A face-to-face survey commissioned by MediaCorp polled 2,000 eligible voters from July 11 to Aug 6.

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