TL;DR Policy-making and refreshing Singapore’s social compact sounds cheem but something that’s much needed for society.
What is actually policy-making and refreshing social compact?
Policymaking is more than just giving ideas and feedback – it is a complex process that includes thinking about long-term implications, and trade-offs.
So how can Singaporeans come together to make our voices heard in parliament, or get our leaders to implement policies that actually matter to Singaporeans? Most importantly, how can our YOUTH get involved in the policy-making process?
A social compact is broadly defined as –
A shared understanding of how all of us in society relate to one another. It’s about the respective roles and responsibilities of different groups. What should the Government, employers and the community do for workers and individuals? What are our obligations as individuals to one another and to society at large?
Actually in the first place why do we need youth to be involved? People don’t listen to young people.
Wrong, and wrong again.
Recently, Minister Edwin Tong announced plans to set up youth panels during the Debate on the President’s Address. Last week, in a dialogue co-organised with the National Youth Council (NYC), Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth (MCCY) and Young NTUC, the session shed some light on topics revolving around Youths’ involvement in Policy-Making and their concerns.
Why youth – they represent our future, and they make up 25% of our country. A country like Singapore – which was an impossibility (we don’t have natural resources, we’re small af) – we have to always look into the future.
The future = YOUTH. They need to carry on, whatever has been shaped, make it better and make it last.
Present during the session was Ms Rahayu Mahzam, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Law, Ms Wendy Tan, Director of Youth Development at Young NTUC and Asst Prof Shannon Ang, Sociology Division from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
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Part of refreshing the social compact, is refreshing the workers’ compact. In some shape or form, all of us are workers.
And if you’re a youth, you have probably always had this vision of a Singaporean dream painted in your heads – get a good education, a good job, a BTO, get married, work, FIRE. 😉
Yes, even if you’re new money baby like Naomi Neo.
And that’s how the Youth Taskforce comes in. To date, the NTUC Youth Taskforce has engaged more than 10,000 youths, from Institutes of Technical Education (ITE), polytechnics, and autonomous universities to learn how they can be better supported in their career journeys. The engagement exercise was set out to understand the aspirations and challenges of youth, specifically in the areas of work.
Furthermore, through a series of focus group discussions and dialogue sessions conducted last year, NTUC Youth Taskforce also found that proper supervision and mentorship were key components that make up a top-notch internship experience.
Wendy Tan, who was present at the dialogue talked about how Young NTUC wasnts to ensure that more youths have access to resources as they transition from school to the workforce.
As such, recently, NTUC announced that they will be launching a pilot scheme to help fresh grads and NSmen transit into the working world. Dubbed the Career Starter Lab, the career trial is to allow youth to access quality jobs with the guidance of workplace mentors, and at the same time, for businesses to access a steady pipeline of young talents.
Youth, your voices are heard
Joining dialogues like this is a good way to kickstart your involvement in shaping Singapore’s future. There are platforms out there that provide avenues for youth to make their voices heard.
Helping form a compact of the future is crucial because… if our social compact fails:
- A large segment of Singaporeans will come to feel estranged from society, believing that the system is not on their side.
- Trust in the Government and among various segments of society will plummet.
- Politics in Singapore will turn nasty and polarised.
- We will become a low-trust society, like so many others in Asia and Europe.
And Singapore, if this were to happen, will surely fracture.