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Developing a community of future-ready lifelong learners

Speech by Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Manpower at the Committee of Supply Debate 2021

Introduction

  1. Mr Chairman, 2020 has taught us important lessons in adaptability and resilience.

    1.1 I am heartened at how well the M³ platform – MENDAKI, Muis and MESRA – worked for the Malay/Muslim community and was adapted quickly to help our beneficiaries and the vulnerable.
  2. I will expand on the three strategies that MENDAKI will be embarking on to take the community forward, to prepare them for the future, and to shape future generations.

    2.1 First, equipping our community, especially our young, with the necessary skills and values to thrive in this digital age and the future economy;

    2.2 Second, ensuring our workforce remains relevant to the current economy and prepare them for the future; and

    2.3 Third, empowering our youth through mentorship so that they can excel and inspire one another to fulfil their potential while giving back to the community.
  3. Mr Chairman, please allow me to continue in Malay.
  4. Saya akan bentangkan tiga strategi untuk MENDAKI mempersiapkan masyarakat Melayu/Islam bagi menghadapi masa hadapan dalam era ekonomi digital, serta memupuk generasi akan datang yang lebih teguh.

    Mempersiap golongan muda untuk maju di masa hadapan

  5. Pertama, kita harus pastikan bahawa anak-anak Melayu/Islam memiliki kecekapan dan kemahiran untuk berkembang maju dalam ekonomi digital.

    5.1 Dengan asas yang lemah, kemungkinan besar anak-anak akan ketinggalan dalam hidup, berbanding dengan kanak-kanak lain.

    5.2 Oleh itu, kita ingin ibu bapa memainkan peranan yang lebih ketara untuk memastikan anak-anak mereka melalui sekurang-kurangnya tiga tahun pendidikan prasekolah, supaya mereka dapat bersedia bagi sekolah rendah.
  6. Itulah sebabnya kami memperkenalkan KelasMateMatika@CC (KMM@CC) pada tahun 2018 – supaya ibu bapa boleh lebih terlibat dalam pembangunan awal anak-anak mereka.

    6.1 Ibu bapa yang menyertai KMM@CC dan aktiviti berkaitan telah berkongsi bahawa ia telah membantu mereka mengikuti perkembangan landskap pendidikan serta pembelajaran digital.

    6.2 Mereka juga dapat nasihat pakar tentang amalan-amalan baik untuk membimbing anak-anak mereka.
  7. Encik Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim bertanya tentang manfaat KMM@CC dan rancangan MENDAKI untuk terus pertingkatkan rangka kerja pendidikan prasekolah.

    7.1 Mei depan ini, MENDAKI akan melancarkan sebuah program perintis, Kelas Siap Sekolah (KSS) untuk saling melengkapi KMM@CC.

    7.2 Kanak-kanak yang berjaya tamatkan program KMM@CC, layak menyertai KSS.

    7.3 Ia menggabungkan pemikiran pengiraan, konsep matematik, kemahiran membaca dan menulis serta pembelajaran di luar kelas dan bercerita.

    7.4 Ini akan membantu membangunkan kemahiran kanak-kanak dalam menyelesaikan masalah justeru meningkatkan lagi persediaan mereka untuk darjah satu.
  8. Encik Zhulkarnain juga bertanya tentang usaha MENDAKI dalam menyediakan sokongan berterusan kepada belia dan kanak-kanak semasa fasa ketiga.

    8.1 Pandemik ini telah mempercepatkan lagi penggunaan digital, termasuk mengubah cara kita belajar dan juga mengajar.

    8.2 MENDAKI juga mengendalikan kelas Skim Tuisyen Mendaki (MTS) secara dalam talian, atau online.

    8.3 M³ telah memperkenalkan eKMM@CC kepada kanak-kanak prasekolah supaya ibu bapa dan anak-anak boleh meneruskan pembelajaran dalam talian dari rumah.
     
    8.4 Secara keseluruhannya, KMM dan eKMM kini telah dimanfaatkan 2,200 ibu bapa dan kanak-kanak.

    8.5 Mod pembelajaran ini akan diteruskan tahun ini, selaras dengan keadaan SMM (langkah pengurusan selamat) Covid-19.

    Membina tenaga kerja yang relevan

  9. Kedua, landskap ekonomi dan pekerjaan kita sentiasa berubah.

    9.1 Pekerja Melayu/Islam harus bersikap gigih untuk sentiasa menyesuaikan diri dan kekal relevan sejajar dengan keperluan ekonomi dan landskap pekerjaan.

    9.2 Ini akan membantu mereka untuk bersiap sedia bagi masa hadapan dan “future-proof” diri mereka, oleh kerana permintaan bagi kemahiran atau pekerjaan dijangka berubah dengan keperluan syarikat, industri dan ekonomi. Kita harus sentiasa menyesuaikan diri dan mempertingkatkan lagi kemahiran kita.
  10. Oktober lalu, M³ telah melancarkan bidang fokus keempat ataupun Focus Area 4 -untuk tingkatkan peluang pekerjaan dan daya kerja masyarakat kita, tanpa mengira umur ataupun tahap pendidikan mereka.

    10.1 Demi mencapai matlamat ini, MENDAKI SENSE bekerja rapat dengan agensi-agensi pemerintah seperti WSG (Agensi Tenaga Kerja Singapura), SSG (SkillsFuture Singapura), e2I (Institut Pekerjaan dan Daya Kerja) dan badan-badan Melayu/Islam seperti AMP dan DPPMS (Dewan Perniagaan dan Perusahaan Melayu Singapore).

    10.2 Sejak Januari 2020, SENSE telah membantu lebih daripada 4,000 pemohon kerja, dan lebih 800 daripadanya berjaya digajikan.

    10.3 Bilangan ini seganda berbanding tahun sebelum itu.
  11. Sungguhpun COVID-19 telah menjejas pengambilan pekerjaan, namun, masih ada peluang pekerjaan dan kemahiran di bawah pakej SGUnited Jobs and Skills seperti dalam sektor informasi dan komunikasi, pengilangan dan juga khidmat makanan.

    11.1 Kita harus bersiap sedia dengan kepakaran yang relevan untuk merebut peluang-peluang baru.

    11.2 Untuk menjawab Encik Abdul Samad, saya ingin mengungkapkan kisah Encik Muhammad Farhan, 28 tahun, sebagai contoh.

    11.3 Beliau memiliki diploma dalam Pembelajaran Pengembaraan Luar dan ada pengalaman kerja dalam khidmat pelanggan – customer service.

    11.4 Malangnya, ekoran COVID-19, beliau sukar mendapat kerja yang berkaitan dengan kelayakannya dan terpaksa menerokai industri lain.

    11.5 Mujur beliau menghadiri pameran pekerjaan SENSE dan berjaya ditawarkan kerja sebagai pakar dermaga dengan BigFoot Logistics.

    11.6 Walaupun ini satu bidang baru untuknya, beliau berfikiran terbuka dan dapat memanfaatkan kemahiran operasi dan komunikasi daripada kerja lamanya kepada kerjanya yang baru sekarang.

    11.7 Dengan berfikiran terbuka, kita juga dapat menerokai peluang-peluang baru, dan juga membentuk kerjaya kita bagi masa jangka yang panjang.
  12. Encik Saktiandi Supaat dan Encik Sharael Taha bertanya tentang usaha-usaha untuk meningkatkan lagi kepakaran dalam ekonomi mesra alam dan pendigitalan dalam kalangan masyarakat Melayu/Islam, agar pekerja matang, terutama sekali mereka yang bekerja dalam industri yang mundur, kekal relevan.
  13. Sejak Ogos lalu, SENSE telah menawarkan sekitar 200 tempat latihan setiap bulan dalam bidang berkaitan digital.

    13.1 Ini termasuk mengendalikan lebih banyak kursus digital untuk semua warga emas melalui Akademi Warga Emas Nasional sejak fasa 2 diperkenalkan.

    13.2 Kursus-kursus digital SENSE dapat memperkasa pekerja matang untung merebut peluang pekerjaan yang kini lebih memerlukan penggunaan alat dan sistem digital.

    13.3 Ia juga meningkat daya saing pekerja matang dalam suasana ekonomi masa kini.

    13.4 SENSE juga sedang mengenal pasti kursus-kursus yang diiktiraf WSQ (Kelayakan Kemahiran Tenaga Kerja) yang boleh dijalankan dalam bahasa Melayu.

    13.5 Ini berpotensi memberi manfaat kepada pekerja matang supaya mereka memperolehi kemahiran yang relevan tanpa perlu bimbang tentang soal bahasa.
  14. Mengenai peluang pekerjaan dan peningkatan kemahiran yang ditawarkan ekonomi mesra alam, SENSE akan mengendalikan sesi perkongsian pada suku kedua 2021.
     
    14.1 Jabatan Future Ready MENDAKI juga telah menganjurkan beberapa sesi perbicangan siri "Masa Depan …" ataupun Future of Series, buat pelbagai golongan pelajar.

    14.2 Industri yang disorot termasuk industri yang berkembang pesat seperti Agri-tech, Kejuruteraan, Artificial Intelligence – dan juga Analitik Data.
     
    14.3 Sesi-sesi ini membantu belia memahami ekosistem dan kemahiran yang diperlukan dalam pelbagai industri tersebut.
  15. Untuk menjawab Encik Sharael, MENDAKI sedang bekerjasama dengan rakan kongsi Sains, Teknologi, Kejuteraan dan Matematik (STEM) seperti Google dan Amazon Web Services bagi menawarkan peluang kepada pelajar-pelajar MTS  mengambil bahagian dalam program-program membina minat dan kemahiran seperti AWS Educate.
  16. Tuan Pengerusi, izinkan saya meneruskan dalam Bahasa Inggeris.

    Empowering our youth through mentorship

  17. Mr Chairman, it is important for our youth to have the right mentors and peer support system that they can turn to for advice while navigating through life.
  18. Mr Sharael asked for an update on the Youth Mentoring Office (YMO) and its future plans.

    18.1 I am happy to share that more than 1,000 mentors aged between 18 and 35 have stepped forward.
     
    18.2 Over 600 of them have been trained and over 500 deployed to programmes such as MENDAKI Empowerment for ITE Boys and Girls and Project SOAR.

    18.3 This would not have been possible without Parliamentary Secretary Rahayu Mahzam’s tireless efforts in guiding the establishment of the YMO, and in engaging the youth to build up a culture of mentorship in our community.
  19. This year, we aim to ramp up MENDAKI’s mentoring programmes under YMO by recruiting an additional 850 mentors to mentor 1,700 students in the MENDAKI Tuition Scheme and Empowerment Programmes in 2021.

    19.1 We would like to encourage more within the community to step forward with their expertise and knowledge to play a part in moulding the future of the community.
  20. Ms Shahira Abdullah asked about mentoring programmes for high-risk youths.

    20.1 It would be more appropriate to have high-risk youths attended to and looked after by professionals.

    20.2 Based on their profiles and needs, appropriate interventions can be provided by MSF, MOE and social service agencies (SSAs).

    20.3 However, this does not mean that there is no scope for mentoring.

    20.4 There is room for mentoring to supplement the professional intervention and we look forward to her assistance and support for this initiative.

    Conclusion

  21. Mr Chairman, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, the community has responded well, rallying each other forward during these difficult times.
  22. I am confident, together, we can face whatever challenges that come our way and emerge stronger as a Community of Success.
  23. Thank you.

    English translation of the Malay section

Introduction

  1. I will expand on the three strategies that MENDAKI will be embarking on to take the community forward, prepare them for the future, and shape resilient future generations.

    Equipping the young to thrive in the future

  2. First, we need to equip our young with the necessary tools to thrive in a digitalised economy.

    5.1 With a weak foundation, there will be the risk of being left behind as the child progresses through life.

    5.2 Therefore, we need to ensure that our children receive at least three years of pre-school education to prepare them for primary school, and parents play a crucial role in this.
  3. That is why we introduced KelasMateMatika@CC (KMM@CC) in 2018 – so that we could help parents be more involved in their children’s early childhood development.

    6.1 Parents have shared that it has helped them to keep up with the education and digital learning landscape, and improve their parenting skills.
  4. Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim asked about the benefits of KMM@CC and how MENDAKI will continue to enhance the framework for pre-school education.

    7.1 To complement KMM@CC, MENDAKI will be launching a new pilot programme called Kelas Siap Sekolah (KSS) in May this year.

    7.2 Children who have graduated from KMM@CC will be eligible to join KSS.

    7.3 The programme will incorporate and integrate computational thinking, mathematical concepts and literacy skills.

    7.4 This will help develop the child’s problem-solving skills – enhancing the child’s Primary 1 readiness.
  5. Mr Zhulkarnain also asked about MENDAKI’s plans in ensuring continual support to children and youth during Phase 3.

    8.1 COVID-19 has also accelerated the adoption of digitalisation, and a shift towards different ways of learning and teaching.

    8.2 MENDAKI had to conduct their tuition programmes - such as the MENDAKI Tuition Scheme - online to minimise disruption.

    8.3 For our pre-school children, the e-KelasMateMatika@CC (eKMM@CC) was introduced in August 2020 to allow the parents and children to continue with their lessons from home.

    8.4 This brings the total number of parents and children who have benefitted from KMM and eKMM to 2,200.

    8.5 This mode of learning will continue for the rest of the year, taking into account the safe management measures.

    Building a relevant workforce

  6. Second, the economy and job landscape are constantly changing.

    9.1 To keep up, our workforce needs to make itself relevant to the current economy and be adaptable to prepare for the future.

    9.2 This will help us to future-proof ourselves to meet with the changing demands of businesses, industries and the economy.
  7. Last October, M³ announced the launch of its fourth focus area – which aims to improve the employment and employability of our workforce regardless of their age or educational background.

    10.1 MENDAKI SENSE has been working closely with government agencies such as Workforce Singapore (WSG), SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG), Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) and Malay/Muslim organisations such as AMP to facilitate this.

    10.2 Since January 2020, SENSE has assisted more than 4,000 Malay/Muslim jobseekers, with over 800 of them, successfully placed in jobs.

    10.3 These numbers are double from 2019.
  8. While COVID-19 has dampened demand for workers in certain sectors, there are jobs and skills opportunities available under the SG United Jobs and Skills Package in sectors such as information and communication, manufacturing and food services.

    11.1 We should be ready with the relevant skills to be able to grab the new opportunities available.

    11.2 To answer Mr Abdul Samad’s question, I would like to give the example of 28-year-old Mr Muhammad Farhan.

    11.3 He is a diploma graduate in Outdoor Adventures Learning who has work experience in customer service.

    11.4 Like many others, he was unable to secure a job related to his diploma during the pandemic and had to explore other industries.

    11.5 He attended SENSE’s JUMP career fair and secured a position as a Wharfside Specialist with one of SENSE’s employability partners, BigFoot Logistics.

    11.6 Although this was a new industry for him, he kept an open mind and was able to transfer his operational and communications skills from his former work experience to his current job.

    11.7 With an open mind, we will be able to take advantage of new opportunities and shape our careers in the long run.
  9. Mr Saktiandi Supaat and Mr Sharael Taha asked about measures to raise the digital literacy and nurture expertise in the green economy within the Malay/Muslim community so that our workers, specifically our mature workers and those working in sunset industries, remain relevant.
  10. Since August 2020, SENSE has offered an average of 200 digital-related training places every month.

    13.1 This includes conducting more digital courses for all seniors through the National Silver Academy (NSA) since the commencement of Phase 2.

    13.2 These digital courses equip our mature workers to seize job opportunities that require digital knowledge.

    13.3 It also increases their employability in today’s economic climate.

    13.4 SENSE is also currently identifying certifiable courses under the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) to be conducted in Malay.

    13.5 This has the potential to benefit mature workers by allowing them to acquire relevant skills and address their concerns on language.
  11. On employment and upskilling opportunities presented by the green economy, SENSE will be conducting an industry sharing session in the second quarter of 2021.

    14.1 MENDAKI’s Future Ready Department has also organised several sessions of the “Future of…” Series to students in various education levels.

    14.2 Industries covered include growth industries such as Agri-tech, Engineering and Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics.

    14.3 These sessions help the youth to gain a better understanding of the ecosystem and skillsets needed from professionals within the industry.
  12. To answer Mr Sharael, MENDAKI is working closely with STEM partners such as Google and Amazon Web Services to offer MTS students opportunities to participate in interest and skills-building programmes such as AWS Educate.
  13. Mr Chairman, allow me to continue in English. 

Last updated on 08 March 2021