Speech - Address by Ms Jessica Tan, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, for the Finals of ignITE Skills Challenge 2023, ITE College East, on 18 May 2023, 2.30 PM

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  • Publish date:18 May 2023

Ms Low Khah Gek, CEO/ITE


Staff and students of ITE and Secondary Schools

Ladies and Gentlemen


A very good afternoon to all.I am happy to be here to join you at the 7th IgnITE Skills Challenge Finals and Prize Presentation Ceremony.

The ITE IgnITE Skills Challenge is an annual competition focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and applied skills organised specially for secondary school students. Launched in 2016, the ignITE Skills Challenge is a great platform for students to apply their knowledge and skills from a particular field to tackle real-world problems and create useful solutions and products, while enjoying the competitiveness and fun of skills-based education.

Importance of Skills

As I toured the skills challenges earlier, I noted the high spirit amongst the participants. Competitors were exposed to multiple skillsets, with some related to technologies linked to the future of work, problem-solving tasks and scenarios, as well as solutions for sustainability. Some of these skills challenges also incorporated emerging skills and knowledge such as:

  • The ‘Data Escape Room’ Skills Challenge, where competitors had to solve a series of data challenges that required the analysis of a series of dataset to reveal the location of a hidden treasure.
  • The ‘Patrolling Drones’ Skills Challenge which required competitors to program and fly a drone to designated waypoints in the shortest time, as well as, take photos of 'intruders' using block programming.
  • ‘Decarbonisation at Home’ which required competitors to design and build a smart system to switch off the instant water heater and other water appliances automatically to prevent wastage of electricity and water, thereby leading to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).
  • ‘My SustainaBot!’ where competitors had to design and build a robot from recycled materials, and make it come alive using Augmented Reality (AR) and 3D Technology. How cool is that!

I was told that all 15 skills challenges are linked to courses offered at ITE, so participating students will be a step closer to discovering their passion, aptitude and career inclination.

The New Paradigm of Learning

In today’s world, where technology is evolving rapidly and new knowledge is constantly being applied, the way of learning has also changed.We are no longer just learning in a classroom setting, we used to turn to ‘Google’, and now we have ChatGPT…that’s what learning has become. The most sustainable way of learning is hence learning to learn; we have to pick up the skill of learning new things, we need to develop interest in new discoveries and instrument-based knowledge with this paradigm shift.

I am a firm believer of applied learning; by applying, we are better able to appreciate the concept and deepen our knowledge and understanding. The concept of ignITE Skills Challenge has built on these two important principles of learning in the 21st Century: Learning to Learn and Learning to Do. Apart from Learning to Learn and Learning to Do, you should take the opportunity to apply, bring in your perspectives and ideas to build on what you have learnt and innovate. This will enable you to not only pick up skills and understanding, but build deep understanding.

As you go through your higher education journey, I encourage you to continue investing in yourself by building up your skillsets – both technical and soft skills. As there will always be new and emerging growth areas in the economy that will bring about corresponding changes in demand for skilled personnel to power these new engines of growth. So, it is not just about the skills you learn now, though they are important. More importantly, we must also develop a mindset open to constantly improve ourselves and expand our skillsets, so that we are always ready to take on new opportunities that arise. Hence, I strongly encourage you to pay attention to emerging trends and participate in new experiences in and outside of school, or whenever you get a chance.


I understand that this year, 66 secondary schools formed a total of 507 teams to participate in the 15 skills areas of the ITE ignITE Skills Challenge 2023. There were 1,517 competitors in total of which 30% of them have progressed into the finals.Congratulations to all competitors! All of you are winners for taking on and completing this journey!

Today we will be presenting prizes to the top 3 winners of each skills challenge. Regardless of who eventually wins, I hope the ignITE Skills Challenge experience has ignited in you the zeal to keep challenging yourself, the inspiration to continue learning, and the passion for experimentation and discovery.

To conclude, I would like to thank all the secondary schools, teachers and students for your participation in this year’s ignITE Skills Challenge.Thank you also to ITE for putting in the effort and resources to organise this event to support the diverse strengths and aspirations of our students.

Once again, my heartiest congratulations to all participants and I wish you all the best for your future.