Singapore

Ministers stress need for lifelong learning at graduation ceremonies

Teo Chee Hean, Grace Fu speak at SP and RP graduation ceremonies respectively

Keep trying is the philosophy Mr Lee Zheng De, a 20-year-old graduate of Singapore Polytechnic (SP), has learnt to live by.

Mr Lee attempted a number of ventures before he launched Packdat.com, an online travel planner that has created more than 5,000 successful itineraries in 16 countries across Asia.

Such an entrepreneurial spirit - as exemplified by Mr Lee, SP's 200,000th graduate - was lauded by Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean at the institution's 58th graduation ceremony yesterday.

More than 5,200 SP students graduated this year.

An entrepreneurial mindset and lifelong learning are attributes needed now more than ever, Mr Teo noted, saying: "Rapid technological breakthroughs are fundamentally changing the nature of globalisation and our economy, the work that we do and the skills required."

One way that SP helps students develop these qualities is through its entrepreneurship centre, SPiNOFF, which will soon be offering its programme to adults, as well as SP's partners across the Asean region.

LIFELONG LEARNING

Mr Teo emphasised the increasing importance of lifelong learning in an economy that is undergoing constant change.

Last year, more than 23,000 individuals took up programmes at the polytechnics to develop the skills that would allow them to stay relevant and productive.

Adaptability and continual learning was also a theme in Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Grace Fu's speech at Republic Polytechnic's (RP) 13th graduation ceremony.

The ceremonies spanning the next six days will involve over 4,700 graduates.

"To stay on top of change and to reap all the opportunities that are coming our way, what matters most is our willingness to unlearn old routines, pick up new skills, and strive for excellence in whatever we do," Ms Fu said yesterday.

In support of the nationwide SkillsFuture movement for lifelong learning, RP has unveiled two new specialist diplomas: in digital content creation for business, and cloud architecting and management.

Valedictorian for RP's School of Technology for the Arts, Ms Nur Nazurah Abdul Rahim, encouraged others to pursue their passions tirelessly in order to succeed.

"At the end of the day, you need to push yourself to get what you want. You have to work for it," said the media production and design graduate.

kimyeo@sph.com.sg

Education