ASK’s Singapore work visit – Day 1 Impressions
Prof. Gopinathan: Education to build the nation
Prof. Gopinathan (SGC) gave a presentation of the Singapore education model and informed us on the history of Singapore, the different ethnic groups, years of crises, and the transformation of Singapore from industrial towards a knowledge economy. An eye-opener was the statement that education was the main driver of building the nation after independence. Life-long-learning was part of Singapore’s educational context for decades, long before it became a hype in the Western World. The “bridges and ladders”, connecting the different levels and types of (post)secondary eduction enables all students to achieve a good start as a participating citizen of Singapore. Prof. Gopinathan inspired us highly during the presentation and challenged us to shift our thinking. One thing is crystal clear: there is a working system in Singapore’s education on all levels.
BrainBuilder™: Problem Solving cultivates Creative Thinking
Dr. Fong Ho Kheong from BrainBuilder™, worked for many years as math lecturer and teacher trainer at the National Institute of Education (NIE). Inspired by Piaget, Gardner and others, he found his own way of connecting research into practice. Instead of using the famous Japanese Kumon method, Dr. Fong designed 4 programs, following the Singapore Maths approach. Both underperforming and high performing students excel in their math learning and critical thinking, based on the evidence-based programs. Dr. Fong’s programs are offerend in 30+ centers in the region. We look forward exploring the possibilities for the MENA Region. We believe that our students can benefit greatly from the Singapore Math approach, ultimately improving their math levels, their creative, critical and inquiry based thinking.
ITE: A Trailblazer in Career and Technical Education
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) welcomed us in the afternoon. Mr. Natarajan (Deputy Principal) showed us around the Central campus, home of 10.000+ students that are enrolled in post-secondary technical education. From all perspectives the visit was very impressive. The beautifully designed building, the authentic learning facilities for the students, the energetic faculty and dedicated leaders. ITE is an example of an institute where all elements of the learning environment come together. For 1 excellent reason: to facilitate, stimulate and encourage the students. We discussed with ITE Education Services (ITEES) the opportunities and challenges in the MENA region, hopefully resulting in a long lasting collaboration, offering consultancy and programs in our region.