SINGAPORE: The suggestion to put a “time stamp” on university degrees and require graduates to attend upgrading courses every five years was raised in Parliament as “food for thought”, said Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng (PAP-West Coast) on Thursday (Mar 3).
This comes after his suggestion, made during his Budget debate speech on Tuesday, came under criticism from netizens.
In his speech, Mr Ang said: “We may need to put a time stamp on degrees conferred by the universities … One radical idea is to put it as a requirement that the graduates have to attend upgrading courses every five years or so. If you do not upgrade, the degree will fade over time and you no longer can claim the degree as your credentials after a while.”
Writing on Facebook on Thursday, Mr Ang clarified that his idea was to “emphasise the need for Singaporeans to continually upskill to stay relevant”.
He noted that he had been speaking in Parliament about transforming institutes of higher learning as well as the urgent need for continuous training and lifelong learning, amid rapid changes in technology and industry trends.
“While a degree remains valid, the market value could diminish over time if graduates are not provided with opportunities for timely refresh and updates,” he wrote on Thursday.
“To ensure that university education remains relevant, an idea I raised as food for thought in Parliament was that graduates could be requested to attend training and upgrading programmes every five years or so, to keep themselves updated on the latest trends and technology affecting their industry.”
He added that his intention was also to spark a conversation about what role institutes of higher learning can play in the modern economy.
“Hearing from your sentiments online and offline over the past few days, I see that many Singaporeans are speaking fervently about this critical yet complex issue,” he said.
“Moving forward, the best solutions will be co-created with fellow Singaporeans to explore more viable avenues to future-proof our economy.”