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Ensure steady stream of qualified funeral professionals amid greying population

As Singapore prepares for an ageing population, there is a need to ease the labour crunch and raise the quality of practitioners in the funeral profession.
It is time to set up a mortuary college, which will ensure a steady stream of qualified practitioners.

Ensure steady stream of qualified funeral professionals amid greying population

The writer suggests setting up a mortuary college to ease the labour crunch in the funeral trade.

Chen Jiaxi

As Singapore prepares for an ageing population, there is a need to ease the labour crunch and raise the quality of practitioners in the funeral profession.

The country urgently needs a long-term strategic attitude towards meeting the human-resource needs of these professionals.

It is time to set up a mortuary college, which will ensure a steady stream of qualified practitioners.

The first step towards achieving this is for the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower to spearhead an educational-needs assessment of funeral professionals here.

This will determine their perceived needs, establish a broad agreement on the knowledge and skills needed, and figure out ways to bridge the gaps.

The needs assessment should also identify the enablers of and barriers to training and career progression, such as limited exposure to basic funeral-management training, the lack of a standardised educational curriculum and the difficulties faced by smaller funeral firms in developing capacity.

The next logical step is to set up an accreditation board to assess and accredit these practitioners.

On their part, funeral professionals should not sit idly by.

They should make concerted and pro-active efforts to devise a comprehensive code of conduct to regulate and curb potential excesses, such as those resulting from a lack of price transparency. In so doing, they will protect the interests of consumers and the long-term viability of the profession.

The Ministry of Education should join hands with the funeral profession to undertake a working study of mortuary colleges in Asia and the United States. Key aspects from these case studies can then be adopted and adapted to meet the needs of Singaporeans.

With practitioners graduating from a mortuary college, parents will increasingly view the funeral profession as a viable career option for their children. This will help to remove the stigma that surrounds the trade.  

The funeral profession can no longer be left out or left behind by the larger conversation of an ageing population.

Have views on this issue or a news topic you care about? Send your letter to voices [at] mediacorp.com.sg with your full name, address and phone number.

Related topics

Funeral mortuary ageing population MOE MOM

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