The portfolios of the two new Acting Education Ministers are "integrated and synergistic", Mr Ng Chee Meng and Mr Ong Ye Kung said in a joint message sent to educators on Monday morning (Oct 5). They added that the move sends a "strong signal" that the Government is determined to build more continued education pathways for Singaporeans beyond the traditional schooling years.
The two are the new faces in the Cabinet announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Sep 28, and sworn in on Oct 1. The education portfolio is split between two ministers, with Mr Ng is Acting Minister Minister for Education (Schools) while Mr Ong is Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills).
"PM’s decision to appoint two Acting Education Ministers is a strong signal – that while the system is expanding in both scale and complexity, we are determined to continue building more and better pathways for Singaporeans to pursue their passions and fulfil their aspirations," said the two in their joint message.
"Having two Ministers in one Ministry is not new, especially in a large Ministry such as MOE.
"Our portfolios are quite distinct, and most of you will find your work falling into one or the other, but we must firmly recognise that our work is integrated and synergistic. We must continue to ensure that students leaving the school system and entering ITE, polytechnics or universities continue to do well, and do not fall out of school.
"We must continue to strive towards our Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) receiving students that are well-prepared and engaged. Most importantly, all of us continue to share the same goal: To mould the future of Singapore through education."
The two said they will continue to partner parents and the community to provide the best possible education for every Singaporean.
"A key outcome must be to imbue each Singaporean with the drive to learn – not just while they are in school, but throughout life," they said.
To this end, in Higher Education and Skills, MOE will do more to drive the national SkillsFuture effort "to support all learners, from students, to youths, to adults".
They added: "We will discover and nurture individual talents and abilities, and give Singaporeans more opportunities to develop and deepen their skills, and achieve mastery. This will have important implications on the way people learn, when they learn, how they learn, what credentials they achieve, and how workplaces and society recognises them. The system will become even more diverse.
"This approach is key to Singapore’s success in an increasingly complex world."
The two Acting Ministers told the education fraternity that they will spend the months ahead visiting schools and institutions to talk to educators, staff, students and other learners to gather perspectives and ideas.