Page 10 - Education Change and Economic Development: The Case of Singapore Dr. Goh Chor Boon National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
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                  the centre of the region’s drive for economic growth. Clearly, the shift was from

                  “Singapore Incorporated” to “Singapore International Incorporated”.
                       In order to achieve the ambitious nation-building goals of the new
                  millennium, Singapore’s education system was comprehensively reviewed and

                  revamped. In 1997, the foundation of Singapore’s high-performing education
                  system was laid with the implementation of the milestone initiative – the
                  “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” (TSLN) vision. It encapsulated an ability-

                  driven approach with a focus on innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship,
                  technological literacy and 21st century competencies. Hitherto, the education
                  system had produced a stereotyped Singapore student, commonly seen as one
                  who lacks several important qualities essential for scientific and technological

                  innovativeness. These include a broad based knowledge of the world, an
                  eagerness and inquisitiveness to search for new or different methods or

                  perspectives on problems and issues, the patience, persistence and endurance
                  to complete challenging tasks, a positive orientation towards planning for the
                  future, and the general desire to create or “tinker with the fingers”.
                       The 1990s also witnessed the transformation of technical and vocational

                  training, from a generally unpopular post-secondary experience to a much
                  sought after route for the more technically inclined youths.. As the young

                  continued to show an aversion towards blue-collar jobs, the danger of the
                  country not possessing a sufficient pool of technically-skilled local workers
                  became obvious. This scenario prompted a serious warning by Lee Yock Suan,
                  then Minister of Education in June 1994: “Singapore will be poorer if everyone

                  aspires to and gets only academic qualifications but nobody knows how to fix
                  a TV set, a machine tool or a process plant. We need a world-class workforce

                  with a wide variety of knowledge of skills to achieve a world-class standard of
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