Education Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined three major shifts that will transform the education system and cited a few successful examples.
BEYOND LEARNING FOR GRADES, TO LEARNING FOR MASTERY
"We should aim to be a nation where Singaporeans develop mastery in every field, Singaporeans... are resourceful, inventive and break new grounds." - Mr Heng
MR RAYNER LEE, 19
Interested in aeroplanes since he was 12, Mr Rayner Lee chose to do his four-year secondary school education at Hillgrove Secondary School, which has a niche programme in flight and aerospace.
The programme allows students to learn through aviation-related activities, including the building of a paper plane.
"Students will learn better when they participate in activities that are interesting to them," said Mr Lee.
The 19-year-old is currently a second year aerospace technology student at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
"The foundation I gained through my secondary school years helped me to get ahead of my peers in the same course," he said.
BEYOND LEARNING IN SCHOOL, TO LEARNING THROUGHOUT LIFE
"Training courses are just the means. Our focus must be on the ends - acquiring, mastering and using deep skills." - Mr Heng
MR JOHN CHANG, 69
Armed with just his O-level qualifications, Mr John Chang, 69, joined the police force when he was 17. It was his first career, which would last 38 years.
It saw him enter as a constable at the Tanglin Police Station, and retiring an assistant superintendent (ASP), heading the force's media relations unit.
In between, he spent some 10 years at the Police Academy as an instructor, where he trained Mr Heng, then a police scholarship holder.
"At the Police Academy, my main training subject was the Penal Code," said Mr Chang, who is semi-retired now.
"To be credible as an instructor, you have to be well prepared," said Mr Chang, who spent many hours in the Police Academy's library, reading volumes of encyclopaedias and law books "that were 40-inches high"."It was challenging. You have to be very self-disciplined and keep learning to survive."
BEYOND LEARNING FOR WORK, TO LEARNING FOR LIFE
"Developing a lively interest in the world around us, in nature and culture, in sports and adventure, in having zest for life and a concern for others are what makes life purposeful and fulfilling." - Mr Heng
MR EDWARD CHIA, 31
For entrepreneur Edward Chia, who co-founded the Timbre group of restaurants, the initial years of building up his food business were not easy.
He manned the bar, helped out in the kitchen and even cleaned the toilets. But those few years allowed him to gain a first-hand perspective of running his restaurants, known for combining good food with live music.
He said: "Doing these things, and getting my hands dirty, helped me to learn about the nature of the food business."
This article was first published on Mar 7, 2015.
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