House to debate education, swear in NMPs

House to debate education, swear in NMPs

SINGAPORE - A new national report to improve the quality of education and job prospects for Institute of Technical Education and polytechnic students will be debated on Monday when Parliament sits.

The debate on the Aspire or Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review report follows the Government's move to get the House to endorse it.

The report was made public last month. It sets out the Government's policy to ensure all Singaporeans - whatever their qualifications - have chances to upgrade even after graduation, Senior Minister of State for Education Indranee Rajah said in a motion she tabled before Parliament.

Members of Parliament like Mr Lim Biow Chuan, who chairs the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, hope the report will be debated robustly.

At stake is "the future of our students, who will become our workforce", said Mr Lim.

"We hope people will buy into the report, which is quite complicated. So, we have to not just debate it and present different viewpoints, we also have to make sure people understand the recommendations," said the Mountbatten MP, adding that he had taken into account feedback from his residents and grassroots leaders.

Ms Denise Phua (Moulmein-Kallang GRC) feels the biggest challenge is overcoming the "deeply entrenched mindset" that a degree is the passport to a great career and the road to success.

Also up for debate on Monday is the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill. If passed, the changes will make it an offence for anyone to hold and operate any function of a mobile phone or tablet device while driving. Currently, it is an offence only to hold a mobile phone to communicate with another person while driving.

The first order of business on Monday, however, will be the swearing-in of the new group of nine Nominated MPs.

It will be followed by question time, when ministers will answer, among others, questions filed by four MPs on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and whether Singapore is prepared to deal with it.

Three MPs have filed questions on the Lease Buyback Scheme. They seek further details, including how the HDB decides the value of a flat's lease, and what options a flat owner has if he outlives the remainder of his lease.

Eight Bills will be introduced, including the Remote Gambling Bill, which covers online gambling.

This article was published on Sep 6 in The Straits Times.

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