In a speech made at a high tech machinery factory yesterday (Jun 15), Minister-without-portfolio Chan Chun Sing said that Singapore workers must be ready to fight for jobs of tomorrow too:
“Our challenge is always to make sure that our workers can keep pace with new demands and not fight for jobs of yesterday, but always be ready for jobs of tomorrow.”
Referring to highly skilled jobs, Minister Chan Chun Sing, also the chief of Singapore’s only legalized union NTUC, also said that what Singapore has today may not be sustainable, and Singapore must constantly stay ahead of its competition.
However, Minister Chan Chun Sing did not specify if Singaporeans will require a higher education qualification for these “jobs of tomorrow”. In his 2014 National Day Rally speech, Prime Minister Lee said that Singaporeans do not require a degree to be successful.
Another PAP Minister Khaw Boon Wan also discouraged Singaporeans from taking up college degrees saying:
“If they cannot find jobs, what is the point? You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless.”
In 2011, WikiLeak released a classified document between Singapore and the US:
Govt does not want more Singaporeans to have degrees[Link]
¶9. (C) Singapore boasts a highly competitive and
well-regarded primary and secondary education system, but the
number of Singaporeans completing a tertiary education is
relatively low. Only 23 percent of Singaporean students
entering primary school complete a degree at a local
four-year university. In other knowledge-economies such as
Japan’s, around 50 percent of students complete a university
degree. However, according to Cheryl Chan, Assistant
Director of the Planning Division at the Ministry of
Education (MOE), the government does not plan to encourage
more students to get a higher education. The university
enrollment rate will continue to be maintained at 20-25
percent because the Singaporean labor market does not need
everyone to get a four-year degree, she asserted.