TL;DR – Our youth are our future, give everyone the chance to shine! 💫
Starting from the new academic year in August 2022, full-time undergraduates at the National University of Singapore (NUS) will not have to pay tuition fees if they are from households with a per capita income of up to S$1,000. 🙏 🙏NUS shared in a media release on 8 Feb that the university will top up the existing government bursary to fully fund tuition fees for these students. Netizens also shared their appreciation on this latest move to support Singapore’s vulnerable, lower-wage families.
There’s more! Full-time Singaporean NUS undergraduates who are from households with a per capita income of up to S$690 will also receive additional financial support for living expenses, on-campus stay and overseas programmes. This definitely makes a difference for our youths from lower-income families. While they may already receive financial assistance from various sources, more often than not, the funding they receive may not cover all of their university costs… Some students may also avoid overseas programmes as well as residential programmes due to budget constraints.
To fund this enhanced support, NUS plans to set aside an additional S$15 million per year. This should benefit about 3,300 Singaporean undergraduates from low-income households.
What makes a caring society? I’d say, a compassionate one that cares for the vulnerable amongst us. Everyone should be assisted in their effort to attain the opportunities they deserve, and everyone should have the opportunity to shine. Our disadvantaged youths need more support to make sure they have a level playing field. This will allow them to continue to contribute positively as workers of Singapore one day!
Levelling the playing field for our workers
When it comes to the workplace, vulnerable workers need more support as well. Mature workers, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders, face greater challenges… NTUC and The Government recognise that some workers, such as older and mature workers, persons with disabilities, and ex-offenders, face greater challenges at the workplace. How do we ensure a level playing field? How can society adopt a more holistic approach in helping them?
There needs to be greater incentives for employers to hire these groups of workers.
The Special Employment Credit, for example, was introduced as a Budget Initiative in 2011 to support employers, and to raise the employability of older Singaporeans. It was enhanced in 2012 to provide employers with continued support to hire older Singaporean workers and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). Employment Support for PwDs is another initiative supported by Workforce Singapore and SkillsFuture Singapore to enhance the employability of and increase employment options for PwDs. Through this programme, they can gain access to career advisory services, training courses and post placement job support!
NTUC’s Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) is another avenue for employment support. Between February 2020, when the NTUC Job Security Council was founded, and December 2021, e2i helped more than 46,000 workers through various efforts such as matching displaced workers into new jobs or helping workers transit to secondary jobs.
Ready for the rest of 2022?
Singapore’s economy shrank 5.4 per cent in 2020 in the country’s worst recession since independence. Our economy grew 7.2 per cent in 2021 amid the pandemic. Barring fresh disruptions, the 2022 GDP growth forecast remains at 3–5%. There will be more opportunities in the days ahead! What’s needed is a mindset change. As NTUC Secretary General Ng Chee Meng shared, NTUC wants to help our youth to kickstart their careers with placement and internship opportunities in growing sectors. They are also working closely with tripartite partners to upskill workers, so that workers and companies transform in tandem as Singapore moves towards industry 4.0.