Check against delivery

SPEECH BY MS GRACE FU
SENIOR MINISTER OF STATE, MINISTRY OF INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND THE ARTS (MICA)
& MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND WATER RESOURCES (MEWR)
AT THE 52nd GRADUATION CEREMONY
MONDAY, 21 MAY 2012 (SESSION 1)

Mr Bill Chang
Chairman, SP Board of Governors,

Mr Tan Hang Cheong
Principal, Singapore Polytechnic,

Distinguished Guests,

Parents and Graduands,

Staff of Singapore Polytechnic,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. A very good morning to all of you.  I always enjoy coming to Singapore Polytechnic as the young and talented people here never fail to make me feel energized.
  2. On a special occasion like this today, the 52nd Graduation Ceremony of Singapore Polytechnic, I am even more thrilled to be here as I know it is a big day for all of you. This marks a significant milestone in your life. This is an achievement worthy of a celebration, and perhaps more importantly, a new beginning in your journey to discover so many exciting opportunities that await you.
  3. In this session, we are celebrating the achievements of students from the School of Communication, Arts and Social Sciences as well as the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. My heartiest congratulations to you for completing your course in SP.

Graduation Stories

  1. To prepare for this speech, I have received many inspiring stories about the students in this cohort and I must say it has been difficult limiting myself to only mention a few. In fact, everyone of you here, will have your own stories to tell - of the pain, joy, success, failure, happiness, romance, heartbreak and of course, celebration to share.
  2. Nevertheless, select I must and I am especially moved by the tenancity of Esther Seah, from the Diploma in Creative Writing for TV and New Media. Esther gets around on a wheelchair to get around with the help of her mother and classmates. Although she has limited mobility in her hands, she completes her assignments using her mouse. With the help from her parents, classmates and lecturers, Esther went on various filming trips, made presentations and completed all her assignments, just like everyone else. Today, with sheer determination and grit, Esther is graduating with the rest of her classmates as one of the top students in her cohort.  She plans to join the workforce and aspires to be a novelist or copy editor. Esther, you are truly inspiring! We should also acknowledge the contribution of Esther’s parents, classmates and lecturers who have been along Esther’s side on her journey in SP.
  3. Another inspiring young man is Thomas Tham who is graduating with a Diploma in Engineering with Business. Thomas learnt a painful lesson when he was in Secondary Two. He spent too much time on the online game, MapleStory which I am sure is familiar to many of you. As a result of neglecting his studies, he lost his scholarship of $500 per year. The loss of that scholarship was a wake–up call for Thomas. He was determined to do well for his ‘O’ Level examinations. And fortunately he did very well for his exams.
  4. After he was admitted to SP, Thomas lost no time and seized the opportunities available to him. He led a group of 13 students on a three-month stint at the Beijing Technology and Business University (BTBU). Besides attending classes, the group also visited many companies in Beijing, thus deepening their overseas experience. They also performed community service by teaching primary school children English and volunteering at a Dog-rescue centre.  Not only did they learn to be independent, they came back with an enriched exposure to working and living in China.
  5. Today, Thomas is graduating as the silver medallist, complete with a wealth of international experience and a bright future ahead of him. I understand that he has been offered a place in the prestigious NTU Renaissance Engineering Programme where he will go on to pursue a Bachelor AND a Master in 4-and-a-half years. Thomas is also the proud recipient of the Ng Bock Eng Renaissance Engineering Scholarship. 
  6. Thomas’ story reminds us that sometimes it takes failure or setbacks to awaken us and drive us towards excellence.  For Thomas, he seized the opportunity to succeed through his chosen pathway of polytechnic education and achieved his dream to go to University.

First Class Polytechnic Education 

  1. Today, the demand for polytechnic graduands remains strong even with the global economic outlook looking rather uncertain. And we know this from the results of the Graduate Employment Survey. Polytechnics have been and will continue to play a vital role in producing manpower to support the growth of various industries in our economy.
  2. Polytechnic education has maintained its relevance mainly due to two reasons. Firstly, there has been a growing demand from both students and employers. This year, more than half the GCE ‘O’ level cohort chose to go on to a polytechnic education. Employers are happy with polytechnic graduates who have been described as “plug and play” talents – all  equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge demanded by the industry.
  3. Secondly, with rapid technology advancement, skills and knowledge become obsolete faster than ever before. But our polytechnics have shown how educational institutions can step up and respond to changes. By building close links with industry partners, polytechnics are able to continually produce industry-relevant graduates.

The Evolving Media and Electronics Industry Industries

  1. Those of you from the School of Communication, Arts and Social Sciences will be happy to hear that the media industry is seeing some exciting new changes. Between 2015 and 2020, Singapore will move from analogue to digital transmission for broadcasting. This will not only make it more convenient for the consumer but this will further enable businesses to provide useful content to the consumer.
  2. And there’s more. Not far from where we are, the [email protected] should be completed by 2020. It is positioned as Singapore’s first digital media hub where creative talents like you, live, work and play in a synergistic environment. MDA will support the industry with grants for talent development. The media industry is expected to play a significant role in contributing to our economic growth.
  3. The electronics industry is also receiving a boost in the arm. Singapore is attracting major players in the electronics sector. BIOTRONIK, a leading cardiovascular company, is setting up its new regional headquarters here. STATS ChipPAC, a semiconductor test and advanced packaging service provider, is also expanding its presence here with a new factory.
  4. The aerospace industry is also set to grow further because we have attracted global brands to set up their facilities here. There will be the new facility for Bell Helicopter and Cessna Aircraft Company in Seletar Aerospace Park. It will support customers in the Asia-Pacific region.  Also set to expand operations at the Park is Fokker Services, an aircraft service company.

Conclusion

  1. As a graduate, you will soon notice that you need grounding in not just the area of your study. To be effective, you will need to learn many new skills along the way. You will need good inter-personal skills to persuade others around you; to rely on teamwork to get things done quickly; and adaptability to face a fast changing business environment. Last but perhaps most important of all, strong work ethics will get you many bonus points along the way.
  2. It is an exciting time to be a young adult. You have a bright future ahead of you. Cherish the opportunities and make the best of your lives. I wish you all the best and once again, congratulations.
  3. Thank you.