3 Essential 21st Century Competencies That Help Your Child Succeed

·5-min read

In order to succeed in an extremely competitive and fast-moving environment, kids need to learn 21st century skills in the classroom and do more than just memorise and regurgitate facts.

They also need to adapt to changes that are taking place around them. At the same time, be confident in their own skills and develop the foresight to seize the right opportunity.

To drive home this point, Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) has identified a suite of core values and competencies that are increasingly important. According to MOE, 21st century competencies must be included as part of a holistic educational framework. Let’s take a look at them.

21st Century Skills In The Classroom: What Parents Must Know

21st century competencies in education singapore
21st century competencies in education singapore

Screengrab courtesy: MOE

1. Core Values

As you can see, right at the centre of the framework are core values. These core values include respect, responsibility, resilience, integrity, care and harmony; and are at the foundation of our shared societal and national values.

  • Respect: A child will be able to demonstrate respect when they believe in their own self-worth and the intrinsic worth of people.

  • Responsibility: The value of responsibility will come when your kids will recognise they have a duty to themselves, their families, community, nation and the world. They should fulfill their responsibilities with love and commitment.

  • Resilience: Challenges are a part of life. But your kid will be able to demonstrate the skill of resilience when they can face challenges bravely.

  • Integrity: Your child will be able to demonstrate the values of integrity when he or she will have the courage to stand up for what is right and wrong in society.

  • Care: Teach your kids the importance of little acts of kindness and how they contribute to the betterment of the community and the world.

  • Harmony: Your child will be able to promote harmony when they appreciate the unity and diversity of a multicultural society.

Adapting these core values will help your child shape their attitude, belief, and actions and prepare themselves to succeed.

2. Social-Emotional Competencies

Using the above core values, your child needs to work on skills that will help them develop healthy identities and better manage their emotions. Here are the skill sets which they should learn to adapt as well.

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-management

  • Responsible decision-making

  • Social awareness

  • Relationship management

According to MOE, working on these competencies will also help your child develop positive relationships, handle challenges, and make responsible decisions.

3. Competencies for Globalised World

21st century competencies in education singapore
21st century competencies in education singapore

Image courtesy: iStock

In today’s globalised and fast-changing world, your child needs a combination of competencies and core values that push him/her to achieve their goals. These have been recognised by MOE as the following:

  • Civic Literacy, Global Awareness and Cross-Cultural Skills

  • Critical and Inventive Thinking

  • Communication, Collaboration and Information Skills

It is only after successfully implementing the core values and competencies together that students will be able to achieve desired outcome. As you know, Desired Outcomes of Education are attributes that MOE aspires for every Singaporean to possess by the time they complete their formal education.

  • Confident person: They will have a strong sense of right and wrong. They will also be able to think independently and critically and communicate effectively.

  • Concerned citizen: They have a strong civic consciousness, are responsible to their family, community and nation. They will also be found taking active roles in improving the lives of others.

  • Active contributor: You will find that your kids have grown up to be individuals who are able to work effectively in teams, take calculated risks, are innovative and strive for excellence.

  • Self-directed learner: They will be able to take responsibility for their own learning and question, reflect and persevere in the lifelong pursuit of learning.

Here are the 8 developmental outcomes for each key stage of Singapore education system



Post secondary

Will be able to distinguish right from wrong.

Have moral integrity

Have the moral courage to stand up for what is right

They will know their strengths and areas for growth

Believe in their abilities and be able to adapt to change

Be resilient in the face of adversity

Will learn to cooperate, share and care for others

Be able to work in teams and show empathy for others

Be able to collaborate across cultures and be socially responsible

Develop curiosity about their surroundings

Be creative and have an inquiring mind

Be innovative and enterprising.

Should be able to think for express themselves

Be able to appreciate diverse views and communicate effectively

Be able to think critically and communicate persuasively

Learn to take pride in their work

Take responsibility for their own learning

Be purposeful in pursuit of excellence

Start developing healthy habits

Enjoy physical activities and appreciate the arts

Pursue a healthy lifestyle and have an appreciation for aesthetics

Know and love Singapore

Believe in Singapore and understand what matters to our country

Be proud to be Singaporean and understand Singapore in relation to the world

Courtesy: Ministry of Education

MOE further notes that these competencies cannot be mastered in the classroom alone. In order to help kids, both schools and parents should work hand-in-hand. These values will help your child think critically and come up with innovative and quick solutions to complex problems.

21st century skills in the classroom as well as these competencies will continue to be in demand in the coming days. In fact, even today as we are in the middle of the pandemic and schools have shifted online, we realise how technology and innovation have revolutionised our lives.

Yes, textbook knowledge is required, but along with it, you should hone your child’s ability to acquire relevant skills, which will frame his or her identity.

Information source: MOE


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