Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong pledged this on Wednesday, adding that the best way to improve lives is to create "ladders of opportunity" that will allow people to scale new peaks regardless of background and family circumstances.
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Here is an excerpt from PM Lee's speech in Parliament on keeping pathways upwards open to all in schools, after sxhool and in society, in point form:
Keeping pathways upwards open to all
- Best way to improve lives is not just to provide safety nets to catch Singaporeans when they fall, but to create ladders of opportunity so that everyone has a chance to scale new peaks, regardless of background or family circumstances
a. Discuss three aspects
i. In schools: Giving every child a good education
ii. After school: Giving every Singaporean opportunities to do well in life
iii. In society: Maintaining an ethos of openness and informality Schools
- Education has been, and will remain, an important way to level up
- We are continuing to improve our education system, to give every child the opportunity to fulfil his potential, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds
a. Improving access to quality education at all levels, e.g. affordable pre-schools, more publicly-funded university places, helping ITE/poly students upgrade
b. Seeking out talented students from humble backgrounds, to encourage them to make the best choice for their education (Eugene Tan), e.g.
i. Raffles Girls' School invites primary schools whose students typically do not apply to RGS to identify suitable students. RGS then meets these students with their parents to encourage them to select RGS as their school of choice, and offers them scholarships and financial assistance to help with the cost of education, if necessary
ii. Every primary school will also have teachers to advise such students on suitable secondary schools to bring out the best in their talents and interests
c. Shaping the culture in schools so students can interact with one another comfortably regardless of their family circumstances
i. e.g. starting with this year's P1 Registration Exercise, reserving at least 40 spaces for students with no prior connection to the school, to prevent schools from becoming closed institutions
ii. Also exercising restraint in school spending and activities, so no one feels left out, e.g. discouraging lavish infrastructure upgrades, or study trips to exotic (and expensive) locations
iii. Must not put off students from poorer homes from studying in top schools, because they feel out of place or socially uncomfortable
- Many students from humble backgrounds do well, e.g.
a. Win government scholarships to study overseas
b. Polytechnic student who wrote down her dream of becoming CEO of Pratt & Whitney, and was offered an internship by the actual CEO after he read what she wrote
c. Student who dropped out of school to take care of his mother, later did well in Northlight, and earned the Outstanding Graduate Award for Nitec in Facility Technology
d. Hawazi Daipi, Jessica Tan and Tin Pei Ling mentioned several more examples
e. Must continue to give these and many more Singaporeans every chance to succeed