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Choice between skills and degrees a 'false dilemma': Ong Ye Kung

THE choice between skills and degrees is actually a "false dilemma", said Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung at the Economic Society of Singapore's annual dinner on Wednesday.

Addressing an audience of mostly economists at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore, he said that the difficult question that should be asked instead is whether a degree is needed for a young person to do well in his or her career.

"A degree certainly helps open doors, especially in Singapore where universities are well-regarded and standards are upheld," he said.

"But an academic degree cannot be the only path to success," Mr Ong added.

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As the talents, passions and aspirations are diverse, a multi-path system is needed for people to succeed, he said.

Some would do so through academic degrees, some through applied or other forms of degrees, others through skills or professional training outside of universities, he added.

Mr Ong noted: "Increasingly, employers are looking beyond academic qualifications in hiring and promotions. They are looking for demonstrated skills and competencies. Not just qualifications that suggest that a person may possess those skills and competencies."