Mr Stephen Lee
Chancellor of the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS),
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat
President of the Singapore University of Social Sciences,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning to all of you! It is an honour to be here today to celebrate this joyous occasion with you, and I wish to extend my heartiest congratulations to all our graduands and to all of your families. Today marks the culmination of months and years of hard work, commitment and perseverance for all of you. University convocation is an important personal milestone that deserves to be celebrated with joy and pride.
People at the Core of Technological Change
2 Of course, this personal milestone is not an end goal in itself; but part of the larger journey of life. It is a journey that has been made more exciting and also more varied, due to the changes brought about by technology.
3 Never in human history have we witnessed such speed of technological change and the ubiquity of technology. Today, tech is transforming practically every human activity from the way we communicate and interact with each other to the way we govern and work. It is thus important to combine our understanding of tech and the social sciences to seize future opportunities.
4 Due to SUSS’ strong niche in social sciences and social development, their students are especially well-placed to offer this unique perspective. Take Basheer Ahamed Mohamed Ismail for example. Graduating with a degree in psychology, Basheer had used virtual reality headsets and a mobile phone app to investigate the effects of power-posing and virtual reality exposure therapy in his honours capstone project. He had designed his capstone project with hopes of reducing people’s fear of public speaking using modern day technology. I think this is a very good idea - well done Basheer!
The University Championing Lifelong Learning
5 In this new operating environment, the workplace has become more dynamic. It is unsurprising that the skills we need for our work today are very different from what we used to require, and will be very different in three to five years’ time. Due to these changes, the government has launched the SkillsFuture movement and SUSS has designed its courses to provide their students the greatest flexibility to enable lifelong learning.
6 These flexibilities have enabled Ms Nur Saienah Mohamad to pursue a university degree while working part-time at the Singapore Discovery Centre after her A-levels examinations. Her journey to convocation has not been easy, but she has triumphed those challenges and became the top student of the Communications cohort. Well done and congratulations to Saienah!
7 Among us today, we also have lifelong learners who had to juggle their multiple roles as students, parents, volunteers and of course, sons and daughters.
a. For instance, Mdm Koh Ah Seng started pursuing her Bachelors of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature with Translation back in 2014 when she was 60 years old. Mdm Koh has done very well. She is graduating today with a cumulative GPA of 4.33 and was one of the four winners of the Kongzi Culture Fund Scholarships in 2017, which was awarded to students who have attained excellent results in Chinese Philosophy (Confucianism) and Literature.
b. Another inspirational lifelong learner graduating in the class of 2018 would be Mr Roderick Ross Clyne, aged 67, who had come to SUSS to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature while managing his own publishing company.
8 To help more people like Mdm Koh and Mr Clyne to benefit, I am happy to note that SUSS has launched SUSS LifE, which aims to provide a holistic education throughout one’s course of life, and conferred a benefit to SUSS alumni with a special lifelong learning credit.
9 As SUSS alumni, I hope you will continue to exemplify the spirit of lifelong learning – return to your alma mater from time to time, meet up with your professors, take a modular course or two. Better still if you can invite one or two friends along and be ambassadors of lifelong learning among your peers, your colleagues and of course, your family members.
10 In conclusion, your time in SUSS has equipped you with a strong social science background in understanding human beings - as individuals, as communities and as societies. I hope and trust that you will take this unique perspective to wherever your aspirations take you, and may all of you enjoy a lifetime of learning. Thank you once again, and congratulations to all graduands!