SINGAPORE – More than 14,000 Singaporeans have participated in the Forward SG exercise launched by the country’s fourth-generation team of political leaders to work on a collective vision for the future.
At the close of phase one of the year-long public consultation to renew the social compact and chart a road map for Singapore for the next decade, some common values have emerged, including promoting fairness, deepening inclusiveness and creating a culture of giving back, said an update posted on Friday on the Forward SG website.
“Across the conversations, Singaporeans acknowledged that we are living in a time of change and must relook our current way of doing things,” said Forward SG.
About 140 engagement sessions have been held since the exercise was launched in June last year to update policies and explore issues along six pillars.
The next and final phase of the exercise will see more discussions on specific issues, and also opportunities for the public to co-create policy solutions. This will conclude in the second half of the year with a Forward Singapore report.
Here are some findings so far:
Empower: Economy and jobs
Amid economic transformation and technological advancements, Singaporeans raised concerns about the availability of job and training opportunities.
Younger workers wanted more training opportunities to help them get ahead, while mature workers were worried about remaining employable and meeting retirement needs. Others with caregiving responsibilities raised concerns about job security and work-life balance.
The practical challenges of picking up new skills also came up, and some suggested that a stronger culture of lifelong learning would lower barriers for workers to take up training.
Others asked for stronger societal support to help those who are facing job disruptions get back on their feet.
Equip: Education and lifelong learning
Social mobility came up for discussion, with many saying they hope those who have benefited from the system would want to pay it forward, especially through helping children from less advantaged backgrounds.
Singaporeans felt that current definitions of success were too narrowly focused on “traditional yardsticks” such as doing well in school and having a white-collar job. There are stark disparities in rewards and recognition for different jobs, and these put some at a disadvantage, they said.
Many noted that there should be diverse opportunities for people to progress. In particular, they felt society should nurture an environment where people with disabilities can contribute meaningfully.