When 64-year-old Richard Lim approached the Ministry of Education (MOE) to conduct learning journey tours for them, he was surprised when they requested his ‘O’ Level certificate to ensure that he is qualified enough to be hired.
This is in spite of the fact that the Lim possesses a degree, has been vocationally trained to conduct learning journey tours and has 3 years experience conducting such tours.
Lim said: “So much for all that talk by MOE Ministers about how important skills and vocational training will be for future work and jobs. They should really talk to their bureaucrats first and convince them that there is more to learning than ‘O’ levels.”
In recent years, the Government has pushed more students to consider vocational training by allocating increased resources for Institute of Technical Education (ITE) schools and by rolling out alternative education schemes like the SkillsFuture initiative.
At the official opening of the ITE Headquarters in 2013, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said:
“We recognise that students have different talents and interests: some are academically inclined, while others excel in skills-based work. Therefore, our education system offers diverse pathways for students to learn at their own pace and to develop their unique skills. This is why the Government has consistently invested in vocational and technical training.”
Lim’s friends who have responded to his Facebook post have testified that Lim was a straight A student who was the top ‘A’ Levels student in their year at school. Another friend tagged MOE in a comment after highlighting that Lim was even offered a President’s Scholarship for his outstanding grades.
However, the issue seems to be one of principle for Lim. He opined that seniors should not even be asked for their ‘O’ or ‘A’ level certificates if they apply for skill-oriented jobs:
“On a more serious note, I don’t think any Ministry should ask any senior citizen (over 60 yrs) for ‘O’ or ‘A’ level certificates for any skills or vocational jobs. It is a form of discrimination.”