PSLE tweaks will come but as part of broader changes to education system: Heng

PSLE tweaks will come but as part of broader changes to education system: Heng

PSLE will be part of his ministry's agenda for the second term of Parliament, but it is not a "standalone piece", said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on Thursday at the sidelines of the first graduation ceremony for Singapore Polytechnic.

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Below is the graduation address by Mr Heng Swee Keat, Minister for Education, at the Singapore Polytechnic (SP) 54th Graduation Ceremony and 60th Anniversary Launch Event 2014, on Thursday May 22, at the SP Convention Centre.

Mr Tan Choon Shian Principal and CEO, Singapore Polytechnic,

Members of Singapore Polytechnic Board of Governors, Faculty and Alumni,

Distinguished Guests, Parents and Graduands,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very happy to be with you here this morning. Thank you for inviting me to join you on this big day. My heartiest congratulations to all graduands from the Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering and Diploma in Mechatronics and Robotics. To families, friends, and faculty members - our graduands would not be here today without your support, and as such I would also like to congratulate all of you.

Our students are graduating at a good time. The economy is growing, more jobs are being created - in fact more jobs than we have graduates for. Earlier on, your Principal, Mr Tan Choon Shian, mentioned that this is also Singapore Polytechnic's (SP) 60th anniversary.

Today, SP has grown in terms of intake, quality of the facilities and the quality of education. More importantly, for 60 years, our graduates have been able to get good jobs and to go on to build their careers, form their families, and lead meaningful lives. When you think about it, it is a remarkable achievement - that we have been able to do this year after year for 60 years. We only have to contrast it with many cases in which young students graduate from the polytechnics and the universities, and could not find jobs - and there are many such young people now all over the world. I hope we will make the best use of this opportunity and we will continue to be able to do this.

Before you collect your diplomas, allow me to offer one last tip. There is no test after this tip. I hope you can put this into practice so that you may better ace the test of life.

In the last few years, you have been getting your hands-on experience with nuts and bolts, and bits and bytes, so allow me to say something that you cannot lay your hands on - the intangible qualities.

In the course of my work over the years, I have interviewed many students, prospective employers and also staff. I hope to share with you my impression of the intangible qualities that allow many of them to excel. You cannot touch them, you cannot buy them off a shelf, and you cannot find any school offering a whole package of intangibles for you.

Yet, the opportunities to learn, and live, the intangibles are all around you, throughout your lifetime. You know when you meet someone who has the intangibles. How is that so? In a room full of staff, the one who excels is one who:

Can apply the same knowledge in a different way, because he understands what is impactful, and what makes a difference. Keeps learning new things and growing his knowledge.

In a world of continual change has a strong foundation of knowledge and values, as well as strong character traits like dedication and industriousness.

In other words, the intangibles are what make up the star employee or entrepreneur. These are the people that the team admires, and are the kind of person that family and friends want to be around.

Where can you learn these intangible? Anywhere. Traditionally, we associate learning with a classroom. Learning the intangibles happens anytime, anywhere. Anyone can be your teacher.

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