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Going beyond a culture of mastery

8 Jan 2016

The potential of education to be a powerful instrument of social transformation is undeniable.

The launch of SkillsFuture, a national initiative to provide Singaporeans with opportunities to master different skills at various stages of life, should therefore be lauded. The sheer range of courses — some 10,000 courses are listed in the SkillsFuture Credit Course directory — is staggering. More importantly, placing a “culture of mastery” at the heart of lifelong learning is a positive and enlightened step.

But this is not enough. The proliferation of courses cannot possibly keep pace with an increasingly complex world. Furthermore, in the face of growing uncertainty, a culture of mastery hits an inevitable limit: Some things simply cannot be mastered.


Dr Adrian W J Kuah is Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. This article was first published in TODAY on January 8, 2016.

Dr Adrian W J Kuah

Head (Case Studies Unit) & Senior Research Fellow