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Speech By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat At The Singapore University Of Social Sciences Convocation 2018

Speech By Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, Singapore University Of Social Sciences (SUSS), At The Singapore University Of Social Sciences Convocation 2018 On Oct 10 2018, 9.30 a.m., The Grand Hall, Block A, Level 4, SUSS

​​Mdm Halimah Yacob, President of Singapore and Patron of Singapore University of Social Sciences; 
Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education; 
Mr Stephen Lee, Chancellor, SUSS; 
Members, SUSS Board of Trustees; 
Graduands, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen;

  1. Good morning and a warm welcome to SUSS Convocation 2018.Let me first express our gratitude and appreciation to Her Excellency, Madam Halimah Yacob, for her presence, and for graciously accepting to be SUSS Patron.
Convocation 2018

  1. This year, we graduate 2,268 students. In all our convocations since we were established in 2005, we had graduates only from our part-time programmes, who were working adults and adult learners. But, this year, we have our first batch of graduates from our full-time programmes. These 168 pioneer graduates are from our accountancy, finance and marketing programmes. Convocation 2018 is thus special and significant to all of us at SUSS.
  1. To all our graduates, whichever programme you studied and whatever mode you did it in, my warmest congratulations to you – we are very proud of you! I am counting on each one of you to make an impact in society and to keep the SUSS flag flying high.
  1. In the years ahead, we will see graduates from more full-time programmes, including human resources management, supply chain management, business analytics, social work and early childhood education – these are increasingly popular judging by the more than eight applicants we received this year for every place offered. At the graduate level, we will open more places in the broad areas of Finance, Adult Learning and Early Childhood Education.
New SUSS Initiatives

  1. But, our biggest foray into the future will be in continuing and lifelong learning that is stackable, just-in-time and just-in-need, piecemeal but with an eye on future skills, building up capabilities not just for our alumni, but the professionals in industry, the practitioners in the community, and the casual learner. We have set up our College for Lifelong & Experiential Learning that will be the gateway to learning in all phases of life. Through the College, we will do what we have been doing since SUSS started, but formalising and curating more purposefully. Everyone can partake as needed along the life trajectory – that is why we call this holistic opportunity, SUSS LifE. Framed by our open, inclusive admissions approach and multi-modal learning pathways, SUSS LifE will open up a multitude of opportunities to meet diverse learning needs across a wide range of age and background. And for you, our alumni, there are special schemes, incentives to tap on SUSS LifE.
  1. Our modular and Skillsfuture Series courses specially tailored to build specific skills for new industry growth are taking off steadily. In a recent partnership with NTUC First Campus, we agreed to accredit eligible pre-school educators for their prior learning and cumulative work experience as they pursue our part-time Early Childhood Education programmes. Notably, we are recognising prior learning, we are instituting more work-study opportunities, helping to retain talent within a specific sector. In the days ahead, we will increase such partnerships, and the number and modes of work-study programmes.
  1. We have introduced a new core curriculum to underpin the foundation of students across all our programmes towards receiving a well-rounded education that encompasses the human and social dimensions. While we have programmes in many disciplines, be it science, technology, or business, the SUSS Core will take our students through a cross-disciplinary treatment of emerging local and global issues, and what these mean for their professional practice and for the community they serve. We aim to sensitise them to habitually link their professional and personal decisions to social impact.
  1. Our mode and delivery of content to students is also evolving steadily to engage the modern learner. As a pioneer in digital learning, we are continually expanding our e-learning infrastructure, mobile-friendly study guides, chunked lectures, mobile BackPack, to enable our students to learn at their own pace, anytime, anywhere. And now, we have introduced e-textbooks for most of our courses. These interactive e-textbooks will combine with the other e-components to form a full e-learning environment that meets the needs of future learning.
  1. Another initiative is to do with better characterising of our students’ abilities. This is our ‘Enhanced Transcript’, a pioneering initiative, if I may say, among the local universities. Beyond the usual academic transcript, our students will receive an enhanced transcript digitally, which maps each of the 18 generic skills and competencies under the SkillsFuture Framework, such as the ability to communicate, having a global mindset and problem-solving ability, to our SUSS courses. Our full-time students are already creating their e-Portfolio, another of our SUSS’ initiative, which documents their learning reflections, and skills acquired from their experiential learning. The trio of an academic transcript, an enhanced transcript and an e-Portfolio will be a powerful job-prospecting armoury for each student, and one for employers to better size up their prospective employees. I am happy to announce that you, our 2018 graduands, will be the first to receive the SUSS Enhanced Transcripts!
  1. Finally, we are launching our inaugural annual Service Learning Awards to recognise worthy graduands for their excellent contributions to society beyond academic performance. This award is established, in partnership with Binjai Tree, to recognise deserving SUSS students for their strong engagement in Service-Learning and Community Engagement, and their exemplary leadership in mentoring next generations of students to become social changers like themselves. Well done, to our first batch of Serving Learning Award winners!
Empowering New Journeys – Theme for Convocation 2018

  1. This year’s Convocation theme “Empowering New Journeys” challenges you to build on the knowledge, skills and experience you would have picked up in your time at SUSS. Invest them well in the journey that lies ahead. Take up the SUSS ‘Head, Heart, Habit’ ethos to develop an interest in people and in continual learning, even as you advance your career. Ultimately, it is people who matter. No matter whether you are from a part-time or full-time programme, from one discipline or another, whatever pathway you took, you are all SUSS alumni. Work together, help one another, you are stronger when you are cohesive. For the full-time studies graduands, you had a taste of the workplace during your attachment; now, you’ll be getting wonderful real salaries, but don’t be surprised with the responsibilities and workload you will have to bear! For those who studied part-time, I hope you have discovered more about yourselves, your capabilities and limits, and your passions. How you all do as SUSS graduates will influence how others value the University, and you, its graduates. As you begin a new journey, first be grateful to those who had journeyed with you in your studies. Then, remember to bring others alongside with you, be it sharing or being concerned with another, or investing yourselves to help others. This is SUSS’ wish for each and every one of you.

  1. SUSS started off as a university for part-time degree studies. Turning out graduates from our full-time programmes was the next step in SUSS’s development. We have expanded our continuing and lifelong learning courses, in various forms, sizes and modes, through SUSS LifE. We have in place a learning regime and a support system that will give our students quality, supported, anytime, anywhere learning all through their lives. We will look increasingly different from the other universities as we continue to do things differently, blaze new trails and work hard to be the foremost university for lifelong learning in Singapore. I invite you, our newly-minted alumni, to join in this exciting and worthwhile journey. Thank you.
Introduction of Senior Minister of State Mr Chee Hong Tat

  1. Ladies and gentlemen, it is now my privilege to introduce our speaker and special guest, Mr Chee Hong Tat, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and for Education.
  1. Mr Chee was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC in the 2015 General Elections. He was appointed Minister of State for Health and Communications & Information in 2015, and promoted to Senior Minister of State in 2017. Prior to his election to Parliament, Mr Chee joined the Civil Service in 1998 and worked at various ministries. He was Chief Executive of the Energy Market Authority in 2011, and was appointed Second Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, both from the University of California at Berkeley, as well as a Master Degree in Business Administration, from the University of Adelaide.
  1. It is my pleasure to invite Mr Chee to address us today.
  1. Mr Chee, please.
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