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Time stamp on degrees: MP Ang Wei Neng says aim was to stress need to continually upskill

SINGAPORE — Following an intense online debate after his suggestion to put a time stamp on the degrees conferred by Singapore's institutes of higher learning, Mr Ang Wei Neng on Thursday (March 3) said that his intention was to “emphasise the need for Singaporeans to continually upskill to stay relevant in the modern economy” and to “spark a conversation about what role the institutes of higher learning can play in this”.

SINGAPORE — Following an intense online debate after his suggestion to put a time stamp on the degrees conferred by Singapore's institutes of higher learning, Mr Ang Wei Neng on Thursday (March 3) said that his intention was to “emphasise the need for Singaporeans to continually upskill to stay relevant in the modern economy” and to “spark a conversation about what role the institutes of higher learning can play in this”.

Writing on his Facebook page, the Member of Parliament (MP) for West Coast Group Representation Constituency said that he had raised the idea as “food for thought” when he spoke in Parliament earlier this week.

“To ensure that university education remains relevant, an idea I raised as food for thought in Parliament was that graduates could be requested to attend training and upgrading programmes every five years or so, to keep themselves updated on the latest trends and technology affecting their industry,” he wrote.

During the second day of the Budget debate on Tuesday, Mr Ang proposed what he described a “radical idea” of putting a time stamp on the degrees awarded by Singapore's institutes of higher learning.

He said then that graduates would have to attend courses to upgrade themselves every five years and failure to do so would result in their degrees lapsing. This means that they would not be able to claim the degree as part of their qualification if this happens.

Social media was abuzz following Mr Ang’s proposal, with some questioning whether people would take up education loans only to have a qualification with a validity period of five years.

One social media user who goes by the name Sue Tan wrote on TODAY’s Facebook page that not everyone has the time or money to “upgrade” themselves every five years or so. “People have families to take care of.”

Repeating his point on Thursday, Mr Ang wrote that even though a degree remains valid, “the market value could diminish over time if graduates are not provided with opportunities for timely refresh and updates”.

He noted that he has heard the sentiments regarding his speech “online and offline over the past few days”.

“I see that many Singaporeans are speaking fervently about this critical yet complex issue… Moving forward, the best solutions will be co-created with fellow Singaporeans to explore more viable avenues to futureproof our economy,” he added. 

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Budget 2022 university degree education upskilling Ang Wei Neng

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