IPS Update Issue Jun 2015




Since the early 1990s, the number of students studying English Literature in Singapore’s secondary schools has declined significantly. What are the main factors accounting for this trend? Does literature possess the potential, over other disciplines, to nurture a cosmopolitan, inclusive and participatory society? At the inaugural IPS-SAM Spotlight on Cultural Policy Series, over 40 participants animatedly discussed the state of literature education today.
Of the 15 recommendations submitted by the Advisory Committee on Moneylending to regulate the industry, 12 were accepted by the government. Law Minister K. Shanmugam said the government wanted to ensure that both consumers and lenders receive fair treatment.
Speaking during a lunch dialogue with IPS Corporate Associates, the United States Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar discussed America’s presence in the region and the prospects of Singapore having its own Silicon Valley.

At the most recent SER, the Singapore economy was forecasted to grow modestly in an uncertain and weak global economic environment, with supply constrained by a tight labour market and limp productivity growth. Participants identified human capital development as a key factor for raising productivity, and highlighted the need for more studies on the economy to understand the dynamics driving productivity.
What will governance be like in Singapore in future? Ahead of the SG50+ conference next month, Professor Mahbubani shared his thoughts on Singapore’s new political environment in a “Supper Club” interview with The Straits Times.

Caregiving and the impact on carers was the topic of discussion at the 13th Family Research Network Forum. Among the takeaways for participants were the importance of including family caregivers in the treatment process when patients become incapable of decision-making and the need to monitor the health of foreign domestic helpers shouldering caregiving responsibilities.
Households with singles and childless couples are on the rise in Singapore. These changes to the family structures in Singapore pose challenges to the availability of informal support networks for the elderly. The good news from various national surveys is that families here are generally strong.
Recent developments in the South China Sea might have given the impression that Asian countries are against settling their disputes through the international legal process. On the contrary, countries in Southeast Asia and South Asia have had a commendable track record of turning to international arbitration to resolve disputes.
To address scepticism about the SkillsFuture scheme, we should move towards a system where adaptability and work aptitude matter more than credentials. Employers should go beyond qualifications when measuring the value of employees.
Expanding the inclusiveness of Singapore’s benefits to encourage marriage and parenthood can help the country meet its long-term TFR goal of 2.1. Singapore could look to the Nordic model of multi-faceted and equal support, as it provides a sense of individual security, an important factor influencing childbearing decisions.