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Speech By Mr Lim Boon Heng At The Launch Of SIM University's Master Of Gerontology Programme

Speech By Mr Lim Boon Heng, Minister, Prime Minister's Office, At The Launch Of SIM University's Master Of Gerontology Programme, 10.30am On 28 February 2011 At The Pod, National Library Board

 

Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, UniSIM;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;

 

  1. Good morning.

  1. I am glad to be here to witness the launch of the Masters of Gerontology Programme by UniSIM. Since the 1980s when the Singapore government identified the demographic profile moving from a youthful population towards an ageing one, we have been working in anticipation of its implications. It is projected that one in every five residents will be above the age of 65 years in 2030. The consequences of this dramatic change will be felt across various sectors of society, including health, social, economic, community and most importantly for families. Singapore is one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world, and this means that we have to be prepared for this transformation quickly.

  1. The need to promote gerontological education and training has been recognised for some time. It is commendable that the SIM University is playing a leading role by starting the first multidisciplinary Master of Gerontology degree in Singapore. For professionals working in the eldercare sector, this is a valuable opportunity for them to upgrade their knowledge and skills. Not only will it save them the effort and cost of going overseas, they can continue to work as they study. Not to mention the agony of missing their families and friends while studying abroad.

  1. The silver sector will be uplifted as we see more gerontological experts join the field and contribute towards better care, policies, research and planning of services. Professionals from overseas who join the programme will be able to share the knowledge and skills they learnt here with their own countries. This will help build up Singapore's potential to be a regional hub in the discipline.

  1. The baby boomers will form a significant proportion of the elderly population. This group of seniors will likely be more active, healthier and wealthier than the previous cohorts. In preparing for the future health and social services to address the needs of our ageing population, we have to bear in mind the characteristics of the future cohorts. We would be wise to anticipate that these better educated baby boomers will be expecting greater professionalism from the service providers. In view of this rising expectation, there arises an urgency to provide training and upgrading opportunities for our local professionals.

  1. On this day, the collaboration between NCSS and UniSIM will, no doubt, be mutually beneficial as they bring together the service providers and interested leaders to deliberate on the importance of Gerontology and research in Singapore. I wish everyone a fruitful morning of deliberation and productive discussion.

  1. Thank you.

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