Thoughts from Singapore Delegation
Ann McMullan participated in CoSN's Senior Delegation to Singapore last week and is sharing some of her highlights from the trip here.
Education thought leaders from the US, Australia and the UK spent last week in Singapore learning about its education transformation. At the core of the changes to their education system is a universal commitment that all Singapore students will graduate with the skill sets needed to be successful in the ever changing, interconnected world that drives Singapore’s economy and way of life.
The CoSN group met with leaders from multiple sectors of the Singapore education system, including a leadership team from the Ministry of Education and the National Institute of Education, Singapore’s only teacher preparation program. We also met with administrators, teachers, and students from the Singapore American School, Nan Chiau Primary School, and Ngee Ann Secondary School. Dr. Chip Kimball, Superintendent of the Singapore American School – former Superintendent of Lake Washington School District in Redmond, Washington – shared his perspectives on educational transformation in the US and Singapore.
A visit to the Microsoft Headquarters in Singapore provided several international insights: a video conference with Professor Nancy Law from the University of Hong Kong and in-person visits from the Ministry of Education for Malaysia and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).
One stop for the CoSN Senior Delegation was the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore. IDA is a great model of collaboration between Singapore’s business and tech communities and the Singapore school system. The mission of IDA is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. The facility serves as an innovation lab for start-ups and a learning lab for students. IDA recently launched IDA Lab on Wheels, a roving bus that travels to schools to give students hands-on opportunities.
At the Ministry of Education, the CoSN delegation was introduced to Singapore’s Master Plan for ICT (Information and Communication Technology). First developed in 1997, the Master Plan guides all teaching and learning around ICT throughout Singapore. The scope of the original Master Plan (1997-2002) laid the foundation by establishing infrastructure and initial training for teachers on basic ICT competencies for education. A second Master Plan integrated ICT into the curriculum and set baseline standards. The third strengthened this integration. A fourth Master Plan will be released in the spring of 2015.
I learned many lessons in Singapore, but one that stood out was the very tight alignment of vision, focus, and implementation between the Ministry of Education, the National Institute of Education, and the administrators and teachers in the schools. This intentionally designed, highly interconnected, integrated support system – which also includes innovation and leadership from IDA and major corporations – is yielding impressive results for the students of Singapore.
Members of the CoSN Senior Delegation posted a blog throughout their time in Singapore which is available at https://cosninsingapore.wordpress.com/. Check it out for more insight, and then join us at the 2015 Annual Conference for a special session dedicated to the delegation's findings.