From my research, the MOE says, CCAs has been important in the past and it will be more important in the future. This is because some of the key traits that our young need to succeed in the future, a more complex and frequently changing future, will be cultivated most effectively by engaging them in CCA, in teams as well as in individual pursuits. It is fundamentally a more uncertain world, wherever they go. A world not just of change but of unpredictable changes.
Global competition is intense, and filtering into every segment of economic activity. Leadership in any industry is also more fluid, with late starters catching up with and overtaking established leaders.
The old totem pole, with the developed countries on top followed by the newly industrializing economies of NIEs and next the emerging economies like those in Southeast Asia and then ex-socialist countries like China, is gone. No lead is given for very long. And also whole industries such as telecommunications, chemicals, finance and transport being reshaped under the impact of new international competition, and new technological opportunities.
The restructuring is continuous, over and over again, not once-off.
A future of frequent and often unsettling change will call on more than academic abilities. It will require certain tenacity among the people. They will need a robust attitude to life and the surprises that it brings. They must have more of a spirit of ‘can-do’, the willingness to try your hand at something new and even untried, when something else fails. This tenacity will hold our young well, and hold Singapore well. We must also redouble our efforts to preserve and strengthen racial harmony, in an environment that will often challenge what we have achieved. Schools have reinforced this with a range of programmes and informal practices aimed at increasing understanding and mixing between the races.