Speech, ‘The next phase in education: Innovation and enterprise’, 2003

The 2003 policy speech (Shanmugaratnam, 2003) by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Acting Minister for Education, with the theme, ‘The next phase in education: Innovation and Enterprise’ highlights that the key focus for MOE in the coming years is to nurture a spirit of innovation and enterprise among students and teachers in schools.

Speech, ‘More support for school-based initiatives’, 2006

The 2006 policy speech (Shanmugaratnam, 2006) by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Education, with the theme, ‘More support for school-based initiatives: Ground-up initiatives, top-down support’, emphasises on how quality improvements will not come in top-down form, but from initiatives taken by teachers on the ground - whether it is a change in the school curriculum, or a new way of teaching the existing curriculum, or a new way of organising students for learning (n.p.).

Report of the Committee on the Expansion of the University Sector: Greater Choice, More Room to Excel: Final Report, 2008

This report of 48 numbered pages (MOE, 2008a) consists of: Address to Dr Ng Eng Hen Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence by Lui Tuck Yew, Chairman of the committee; Aaddress to RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Senior Minister of State for Education and Chairman, Committee on the Expansion of the University Sector by Dr Ng Eng Hen; Executive summary; Chapter 1 -Introduction; Chapter 2 - Singapore’s current university landscape; Chapter 3 -Producing graduates for the future; Chapter 4 - Evolution and enhancement of the existing universities; Chapter 5 - A new publicly-funded university; Chapter 6 - Liberal arts education in Singapore; Chapter 7 - Niche degree programmes; Chapter 8 - Conclusion; Chapter 9 - Annexes.

The 2008 report recommends the best approach to expanding the university sector. This expansion aims to increase the university cohort participation rate from 25% to 30% of each primary one cohort by 2015, while maintaining the high standards of Singapore’s tertiary sector and producing graduates who are well equipped to drive the country’s economy. The Committee recommends the establishment of a new publicly-funded university. It was argued that a new university will offer the opportunity to create an institution with its own unique identity, character and model of education and add further diversity to Singapore’s university sector. It will also provide more university places while upholding the quality of education and standard of excellence expected of Singapore’s publicly-funded universities (n.p.). Between September and October 2007, members of the Committee and Working Groups (the New University Working Group and the Liberal Arts College Working Group) visited countries in Europe and the United States to learn about different university models and systems. Successful features of these well-established systems were distilled as learning points for Singapore’s own long-term vision (p. 6).

Report of the Committee on University Education Pathways Beyond 2015 (CUEP). Greater Diversity, More Opportunities, 2012

This report of 78 numbered pages (MOE, 2012a) consists of: Address to Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education by Lawrence Wong Chairman of the committee; Address to Mr Lawrence Wong, Senior Minister of State (Education and Information, Communications and the Arts) and Chairman, Committee on University Education Pathways beyond 2015) by Mr Heng Swee Keat; Executive summary. Followed by Part 1: Considerations behind the committee’s recommendations, consisting of Chapter 1 - Introduction to the Committee On University Education Pathways Beyond 2015 (CUEP); and Chapter 2 - Rationale and key considerations for the review of university' education pathways beyond 2015. Part 2: Room to grow the university' sector - quantitatively' and qualitatively, consists of Chapter 3 - Increasing the publicly-funded university' cohort participation rate (CPR); and Chapter 4-А more diversified university’ landscape. Part 3: Diversifying the university' sector, consists of Chapter 5-А new applied degree pathway, with strong nexus with the economy; Chapter 6 -Leveraging on the private education (PE) sector; and Chapter 7 - Developing continuing education and training (CET) as a viable degree pathway. Part 4: Enablers, consists of Chapter 8 - Ensuring the continued affordability of a degree education; and Chapter 9 - Education and career guidance. This is followed by Chapter 10 - Conclusion; Acknowledgements; and Annexes.

The report examines how the university' sector can better provide opportunities for Singaporeans to obtain a university' education. This includes studies of feasible models and strategies, international trends, and Singapore’s own unique context. The Committee recommends raising the publicly-funded, pre-employment training (PET) university' cohort participation rate (CPR) to 40% by 2020, thereby creating about 3,000 additional places, compared to today. In order to diversify die current university' landscape and create differentiated options for Singaporeans, die Committee also proposes that this increase should be through a new applied degree pathway, which would have a close nexus with the economy and produce graduates equipped with a strong theoretical foundation and a keen understanding of its real-life implications (n.p.). During its study trip overseas to the United States, Hong Kong, Canada, France, Germany, and Finland, die Committee encountered different university' systems with varying compositions of public and private universities (pp. 8-9), and studied the university’ landscape and experiences of diose countries and economies (p. 15).

Speech by Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung, at the Raffles Institution Founder’s Day, 2019

The 2019 policy' speech by' Ong Ye Kung (Ong, 2019) presents three suggestions that can contribute to overcoming the limitations of meritocracy and fight against the ossification of social classes. They' are: ( 1 ) calibrate expectations of meritocracy, (2) broaden the definition of meritocracy, and (3) to put in a strong effort to actively reach out and provide greater support to students from humbler backgrounds.

Speech, ‘Working with low-income families through the life course: Challenges to social services’, 2019

This policy speech by Minister for Education and Finance Indranee Rajah (Rajah, 2019) outlines how the fourth generation of Singapore’s political leaders plan to approach the issue of inequality and social mobility through not just strengthening support for those who have less, but also striving to create opportunities for all citizens at every stage of life. The main concern highlighted is on how advancements in technology threaten to deepen the divide between higher-skilled and lower-skilled workers, who risk being shut off from new opportunities. The 4G’s team approach is not to do away with meritocracy, or cap the top, but to uplift the bottom by improving access to opportunities among the less advantaged, in order to bridge the gaps of inequality and create an enabling meritocracy.

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