Ong Ye Kung was part of a three-man panel at the 47th St Gallen Symposium (2017), together with Danish Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen and the Swiss Federal Councillor Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, to address one of the key questions of the symposium: “Politics in a disrupted world”, following the US election of Donald J. Trump and Brexit.
Ong: Today, information and knowledge is all on the Internet. And you can google and find out anything you want. But skills, you get from experience, from doing. You can’t google for skills. That, I think has a premium. And our education system has to be lifelong and the emphasis on the acquisition of skills.
Moderator: You have the SkillsFuture program in Singapore.
Ong: I don’t want to mention “SkillsFuture” (laughter in the crowd).
Moderator: I’ll mention it for you. Modest Minister, you have a SkillsFuture programme in your country. Do you think it’s now a model for other countries?
Ong: No, it’s a model that we think will work for Singapore, given our cultural context of very strong emphasis on education, but academic education. We want to learn from Switzerland, from Denmark, from Germany and to combine it and refine it for Singapore.