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  1. #8348
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A world class sports venue for Asean

    Nikkei Asian Review

    http://asia.nikkei.com/magazine/2014...enue-for-Asean

    May 29, 2014 12:00 am JST

    ROB O'BRIEN, Contributing writer

    Singapore Sports Hub (Courtesy of Singapore Sports Hub)


    SINGAPORE -- Attention Manchester United: You are now wanted down here in Southeast Asia.

    A 55,000-seat National Stadium, a large aquatics center as well as other sports, leisure and retail facilities will be opening here over the coming months. They are all part of the Singapore Sports Hub, a state-of-the-art complex that this city-state hopes will help to put it on the global sports map.

    "We think this venue will catalyze a lot of change in the Singapore landscape," said Toh Boon-yi, head of the Strategic Development & Marketing Group for the Singapore Sports Council. Until now, Toh said, the city has lacked suitable venues for hosting major sports events.

    Landing big games

    Singapore's most successful sports event is the Singapore Grand Prix -- the first Formula One race to be held at night. It injects an estimated 140 million Singapore dollars ($111 million) into the local tourism industry each year.

    Now Singaporeans are expecting appearances by English Premier League clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea, which visit Asia regularly and are keen to win more fans among Southeast Asia's 600 million inhabitants.

    Regional soccer tournaments such as the AFF Suzuki Cup, which Singapore will host later this year, and the proposed Asean Super League, are also expected to attract big crowds.

    The Sports Hub, which took nearly four years to build, has already been chosen as host of the WTA Championships -- a top event on the professional tennis calendar -- from 2014-2019.

    Singapore organizers are also in talks about the Sports Hub hosting an ambitious rugby trifecta: a Singapore-based Super Rugby franchise, part of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the International Rugby Board's Sevens World Series, which were last held in Singapore eight years ago.

    Competition among Asian cities to host games is such that many believe Singapore will gain destination status in competition with nearby cities like Hong Kong, which is often criticized for not having enough world-class venues. Organizers of a new annual rugby tournament, the World Club 10s, first approached Hong Kong but could not secure an appropriate venue. Instead, the inaugural tournament will be held at the Singapore Sports Hub from June 21-22.

    Hong Kong and neighboring Macau can still boast of long-established events with loyal followings. The Hong Kong Sevens championship has die-hard fans who fly to the city every year for great rugby and what is essentially a massive outdoor party.

    The Macau Grand Prix may be Formula Three rather than Formula One but it has a long history and plenty of charm. And now Macau's casino-packed Cotai Strip is home to regular world-class boxing bouts that are attracting new visitors.

  2. #8349
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore a revolving door for Western universities

    Nikkei Asian Review

    http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Econ...n-universities

    June 6, 2014 7:00 pm JST
    MAYUKO TANI, Nikkei staff writer

    Chicago University Booth School of Business (Photo by Mayuko Tani)

    SINGAPORE -- One of the world's top business schools will close its campus here once its 80 or so students graduate next year. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which opened the campus in 2000, is unable to renew the school building's lease.

    School representatives did search for alternative sites in Singapore but in the end settled on moving the branch to Hong Kong. A bargain price on a piece of land was a determining factor. School officials also think a Hong Kong campus will help to attract more students from China.

    The new campus will be ready in 2017, but in July working adults can start taking Master of Business Administration courses at a temporary building. About 80 students will be accepted per year.

    Having stressed the fact that Booth successfully "attracted a large number of students from Southeast Asia" in 14 years of operating the Singapore campus, a school official said: "We wanted to build our student base and alumni base a little bit further north, and be able to attract a few more students from China, Japan, and Korea." The school will continue to offer shorter-term courses, such as executive development programs, in Singapore.

    The Booth School is not alone. New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, which opened its Asian campus in 2007 for master's students, has decided to close the branch in the summer of 2015. According to some media reports, the number of students at NYU's Singapore campus failed to even reach half the target figure of 80 a year.

    "Due to a combination of lower than expected enrollment, higher than anticipated costs and the inability to secure adequate support from the Singapore government to make the campus financially viable," said Tisch School Dean Mary Schmidt Campbell. "NYU was compelled to make the very difficult decision of discontinuing operation."

    The University of Nevada, Las Vegas' William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration could also be added to the list. It opened a Singapore campus in 2010. Having failed to get a local affiliate school to make a larger investment, the U.S. university may scale back its operations here or even withdraw.

    "Educational institutions ultimately have to make a business decision," a Singaporean government official in charge of inviting graduate schools said.

    Expansions, too

    But some universities are planning to expand their presence in Singapore. France's Insead, which in 2000 became the first Western graduate business school to establish a full-fledged Asian campus, has spent 50 million Singaporean dollars ($39.9 million) expanding its campus here.

    Insead, originally a French acronym for the Institut Europeen d'Administration des Affaires, will complete its new business leader development center by the end of the year. The center's gross floor space will increase 50%, to 30,000 sq. meters. Currently, some 400 students a year, including working adults, take MBA courses at Insead here. The French graduate business school also offers special short-term courses to corporate executives. After the expansion, enrollment is expected to significantly increase.

    Insead in Singapore (Courtesy of Insead)


    Essec Business School, or Ecole Superieure des Sciences Economiques et Commerciales, is well thought of for the MBA courses it offers to working adults. Among Europe's foremost business schools, Essec set up its Asian campus in Singapore in 2005. It recently spent S$40 million for a new campus, scheduled to open in January, in the western neighborhood of Buona Vista, where many research institutions and universities gather.

    Essec, which has been leasing space in Singapore's business district, decided it needed its own campus to meet rising demand. It is estimated that the number of students at Essec's Singapore campus will triple to 1,500 in a few years.

    Singapore and Hong Kong have advantages over other Asian metropolises when it comes to welcoming prestigious foreign universities. Each is easy to get to from other parts of Asia, has an English-speaking environment and numerous multinational companies.

    And Asia has a big attraction for European and U.S. universities. As the region's economies and middle classes expand, people are becoming more able and willing to spurge on higher education.

    There is also pressure on Western graduate business schools to set down stakes in Asia. More and more multinational corporations are looking for employees with Asian backgrounds as they expand in the region.

    The fact that so many Western economies are experiencing flat growth is also persuading university deans to consider Asia.

    The choice seems to come down to Hong Kong or Singapore. "Singapore authorities welcomed us," Herve Mathe, dean of Essec Asia-Pacific Center, said about why the business school picked Singapore over Hong Kong. To some universities, Singapore is also thought to have an edge over Hong Kong because of its diversity, its distance from mainland China and that country's massive pollution problems, and because there is less Chinese government influence in the city-state.

    But to others, Hong Kong's proximity to China is also one of its strengths. Many students from China as well as from the rest of Asia who intend to do business in China upon graduation choose to study in Hong Kong. According to the most recent Financial Times survey on schools with MBA courses, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, founded in 1991, was chosen Asia's No. 1 school for the second year running.

    HKUST tailors some of its courses to students who aspire to careers in China and other parts Asia. About 30% of students enrolled there in 2013 were from Asian regions other than Hong Kong and China; about 15% of them were from China

  3. #8350
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default The world's largest vertical garden? It's right here in Singapore

    Published on Jun 11, 2014 12:16 PM











    A 24-storey green belt at Tree House condominium in Bukit Timah clinched a Guinness World Record on Wednesday for its sheer size. -- PHOTO: CDL



    By Audrey Tan
    SINGAPORE - The world's largest vertical garden is located right here in the Republic: A 24-storey green belt at Tree House condominium in Bukit Timah clinched a Guinness World Record on Wednesday for its sheer size.

    Occupying a surface area of 2,289 sq m, the garden is expected to achieve more than $500,000 in energy and water savings a year. Its features include heat-reducing windows and motion sensors at staircases that activate lights automatically.

    The vertical garden built by property firm City Developments Limited (CDL) can also reduce the estate's carbon footprint by filtering pollutants and carbon dioxide out of the air. This reduces heat absorption and lowers the energy needed to cool indoor spaces.

    Mr Kwek Leng Joo, CDL deputy chairman, said: "With the eco-inspired Tree House, CDL has not only created a place where residents are proud to call home, but more importantly, a green icon which places Singapore on the world map."

  4. #8351
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default The Straits Times wins three Society of Publishers in Asia awards

    Published on Jun 11, 2014 11:13 PM



    The Straits Times executive artist Manuel A. Francisco's prize-winning cartoon, which was linked to an opinion piece about Japan's attempt to revive itself as a world power. -- ST ILLUSTRATION: MANNY FRANCISCO


    By Melissa Lin

    SINGAPORE - The Straits Times won prizes in cartoon, opinion writing and infographics at the annual Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) awards on Wednesday night.

    Executive artist Manuel A. Francisco swept the top prize in the Excellence in Editorial Cartooning category.


    His work was linked to an opinion piece about Japan's attempt to revive itself as a world power, and judges said it captured perfectly the state the country was in, with regard to its economy and overall security.

    Sopa gives out the awards to honour journalistic excellence in publications in Asia.
    This year it received more than 670 entries for 18 award categories.
    Last edited by Loh; 06-11-2014 at 11:54 PM.

  5. #8352
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore islands you may not have heard of

    Published on Jun 11, 2014 6:15 PM




    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/ST_REVAMP_2014_STORY_PAGE_640X360/20140611/AL-pulau-hantu-1106e.jpg[/IMG]


    A scenic view of Pulau Hantu, located to the south of Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    By Cheow Sue Ann And Fabian Koh

    Did you know that Singapore was actually made up of more than 70 islands? A new exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore will be the first to tell the tales of the isles of long-ago. We check out some of lesser-known islands:
    On weekends, up to 100 people can be seen fishing at Coney Island, also known as Pulau Serangoon. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN



    1. Pulau Seking

    Less than a kilometre long, Pulau Sakeng (also spelt “Seking” or “Siking”) was among the smallest of Singapore’s southern islands.

    The island was named after Keng or Yang Meleking, a woman of legend who was said to have battled pirates, healed the sick and founded the island community. A keramat (holy grave) at the foot of the island’s hill was believed to have been her tomb.

    The first record of its inhabitants was in 1848 by a doctor, Robert Little. These early inhabitants were from the Johore-Riau Archipelago, and were namely Suku Bintan, Orang Selat and Orang Laut.

    The community thrived until 1994, when residents were moved to the mainland so that the island could be turned into a landfill.



    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/20140611/sjisland111.jpg[/IMG]Verdant greenery and various species of wildlife can be seen on Semakau Island, a garbage landfill for mainland Singapore. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE
    2. Pulau Semakau

    Once known as Mangrove Island, probably for abundance of mangroves that grew on its eastern fringes, Pulau Semakau is, today, a vibrant marine habitat, surrounded by mangroves, seagrass meadows and coral reefs.

    The formerly flame-shaped island was known to have been occupied as early as 1844. This was known when about a dozen Chinese smallholders who grew vegetables, raised poultry and made charcoal on “Pulo Simakow” reported being attacked by robbers. By 1955, Pulau Semakau had a population of about 780, most of whom fished for a living and grew coconuts and fruit trees.

    Pulau Semakau remained unoccupied between 1976 till 1995, when it was linked to Pulau Sakeng to form Semakau Landfill.The landfill is Singapore’s only remaining landfill, costing $610 million, and receiving shipments of over 2,000 tonnes of ash daily, the charred remnants of 93 per cent of Singapore's rubbish, burnt at its four incinerators.

    -- FILE PHOTO

    3. Pulau Damar Laut

    Located off Jurong, the island now exists as part of Jurong Port. There are currently four container terminals and a cement terminal on it.

    Pulau Damar Laut was an idyllic spot once: its palm-fringed coastlines, sleepy Malay kampungs and coral reefs with clear water were recalled vividly by author Julian Davison who came here on countryside excursions with his family in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
    It was once the property of Ong Tiang Wee, the son of tycoon Ong Boon Tat, who co-owned New World Amusement Park. New World was one of the first amusement parks in Malaya.

    City Square Mall currently stands in its place, with the New World Amusement Park gate refurbished and placed at the entrance.

    On weekends, up to 100 people can be seen fishing at Coney Island, also known as Pulau Serangoon. -- PHOTO: SHIN MIN

    4. Pulau Serangoon

    Located off Punggol Point, the island was owned by the Aw brothers of Haw Par Villa fame.
    It changed hands in the 1950s among various entrepreneurs who wanted to develop it into Singapore’s version of Coney Island; despite their efforts, only the name has stuck.
    The 45ha island located off the Punggol Area. Pulau Serangoon is also a popular place for jet skiing and camping.

    Pulau Serangoon, will open to the public next year as part of a “Waterfront Town”. There are also plans to build three bridges, linking the island to the mainland.

    A scenic view of Pulau Hantu, located to the south of Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

    5. Pulau Hantu

    "Hantu" is the Malay word for ghost and Pulau Hantu is aptly named as "island of ghosts". It was here that ancient Malay warriors once dueled to their death and their ghosts are said to remain on the island.

    Pulau Hantu is actually made up of two islets: Hantu Besar (Big Ghost) and Hantu Kecil (Little Ghost).

    Despite the horror stories, Pulau Hantu is, today, a popular haunt among fishing and snorkeling enthusiasts due to its waters which are rich in colourful corals and varied aquatic organisms.

    Raffles Lighthouse, situated on Pulau Satumu, south of the main island of Singapore. -- ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

    6. Pulau Satumu

    Pulau Satumu, which loosely translates to One Tree Island, houses the Raffles Lighthouse which was built in 1855, making it the second oldest of Singapore’s five lighthouses.
    The island, about 23km south-west of Singapore, marks the south channel for the sea passage into Singapore. It is out-of-bounds except for the Raffles Lighthouse staff and visitors with special permission.

    Raffles Lighthouse is the site of some ongoing scientific research on aspects such as coral spawning and giant clams. It is also a popular spot among diving enthusiasts.

    A soldier runs with his weapon during the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) Readiness Exercise held on Aug 2, 2011, at Pulau Sudong. -- ST FILE

    7. Pulau Senang, Pulau Pawai and Pulau Sudong

    Pulau Senang is located 24km south of Singapore, in shark-infested waters. In 1960, the island was used in a penal reform experiment. Riots resulted in the death of the Prison Officer Daniel Stanley Dutton (nicknamed "The Laughing Tiger") and three of his assistants.

    A typical day for Pulau Pawai begins with a dozen men setting up targets, checking that the area is free of people who may have inadvertently trespassed into the range, and informing airbases that the island is ready for the exercise. The island is pounded almost daily by bombs from screaming aircraft. The place is reserved for the venom of Republic of Singapore Air Force fighter planes.

    Pulau Sudong was originally filled with mangrove trees and swamp. It made the headlines in 1960 when geologists raised the alarm that the island was sinking.

    The three islands form a part of the Singapore Armed Forces' military training area and live-firing zone. Like other military bases, these three islands are strictly off limits to all civilians.


    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sin....oODrF9Xh.dpuf
    Last edited by Loh; 06-12-2014 at 12:24 AM.

  6. #8353
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default How much does it cost to watch a movie: Singapore v other cities

    Published on Jun 11, 2014 4:32 PM





    People at Cathay Jem cinema. Singaporeans are paying more to catch their favourite celebrities on the big screen. -- PHOTO: ST FILE





    Golden Village cinema at Jurong Point. -- PHOTO: ST FILE






    People stand in line to buy tickets for the film 8 Basque Surnames at a cinema in central Madrid on March 30, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS



    By Felicia Choo

    SINGAPORE - Moviegoers here are paying more to catch their favourite celebrities on the big screen.

    Since the beginning of the year, cinema operators have been quietly raising prices.

    Catching a 2-D movie at Cathay cinemas now costs $13 from Friday evenings to Sundays, and on the eve of public holidays from 6pm and on public holidays. This is an increase of $2 for a regular title and $1 for a blockbuster title since Jan 9, The Straits Times reported last week.

    At Golden Village, the ticket price is $12.50, up from $11.50 since Feb 27, from Friday evening to Sunday, on the eve of a public holiday after 6pm and on a public holiday. At Shaw cinemas, it is $12, up from $11 since April 25 (Friday to Sunday, eve of and on a public holiday).

    Operators who have adjusted their ticket prices cited rising expenses, such as rental and manpower costs.

    Singapore is not the only place where the cost of catching a movie has crept up. Moviegoers in Australia and the United States have also complained about forking out more for a ticket.

    Here's a rough guide on how much a movie ticket costs in different cities:






    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sin....blUEhXrS.dpuf

  7. #8354
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Singapore meeting on conserving regional eco-systems such as Sungei Buloh wetlands

    Published on Jun 11, 2014 12:50 PM






    The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Experts and environmentalists are gathering here this week to share ideas on how to conserve intertidal areas, or mudflats and mangroves in the region that teem with wildlife. -- PHOTO: ST FILE



    By Audrey Tan

    SINGAPORE - Experts and environmentalists are gathering here this week to share ideas on how to conserve intertidal areas, or mudflats and mangroves in the region that teem with wildlife.

    More than 60 government representatives, site managers and thought leaders from some 11 countries are attending the two-day symposium on Jun 12 and 13 to raise awareness and share strategies on the conservation of these areas which are are important to the eco-system.

    The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore, for instance, serves as a stop-over for migratory birds to feed and refuel. It is just one of 22 countries that span the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, an annual migration path for 50 million birds.

    Spanning 10,000km, other countries that lie along the route include China, Korea, Australia and Russia. It is the flyway that is used by more species than any of the other eight global flyways, and is also home to the most threatened species of all of them. In January 2014, a Whimbrel, believed to be about 20 years old, was spotted at Sungei Buloh after about nineteen years.

    - See more at: http://www.straitstimes.com/news/sin....RpVQTLTH.dpuf

  8. #8355
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default A sneak peek into the new National Stadium

    By Sharon See
    POSTED: 11 Jun 2014 23:18

    Singapore's new National Stadium is almost ready to open its doors to the public. It will host its first major sports event - the World Club 10s Rugby - on June 21. Channel NewsAsia had a sneak peek at the 55,000-seat arena on Wednesday morning.
    The new National Stadium (Photo: Sharon See) The new National Stadium (Photo: Sharon See)



    SINGAPORE: The National Stadium in Singapore is the only stadium in the world that can be reconfigured into three modes - football, athletics and cricket.

    In "football" mode, which is also used for rugby, the stadium can house nearly 55,000 spectators. The stadium's capacity will be at about 51,000 spectators in cricket mode, and some 50,000 spectators in athletics mode.

    Teoh Hai Pin, director of DP Architects, said: "It's all because of these moving tiers... It is also part of a sustainability move that we did during the design stage. Sustainability not just in terms of green, but sustainability in terms of events planning and future-proofing for all events, (to be) as flexible as possible."

    This ease with which the facilities can be customised is a cornerstone of the Sports Hub design.

    Its designers wanted the Sports Hub to have something for Singaporeans from all walks of life - so other than spaces for competitive sports, there is a sandpit for beach volleyball and a waterfront mall with 41,000 square metres of commercial retail space, among other facilities.

    Oon Jin Teik, chief operating officer of the Sports Hub, said: "There'll be people coming here for different reasons - to play, to watch, to compete, to dine, just to relax, hang out, but we also look at the age group. And then from there - what type of events, what type of programmes we want to see. (There will be) a portfolio of different types, relevant for different segments of Singaporeans.

    Much has been said about the National Stadium's dome-shaped roof, which is the world's largest. Designers said the structure was chosen because of Singapore's tropical weather.

    Clive Lewis, who is the Sports Venue Design Lead at Arup, said: "All the way through the design process, we sought to reduce the weight that we're putting up (on the roof).

    "So in terms of the cladding weight, the weight to the moving roof, the weight to the moving roof design, everything was, 'cut the steel weight, cut the steel weight, cut the steel weight' throughout. Very different to other stadiums we've worked on and we're very proud to have achieved that, and that's an integrated architecture and engineering process.

    "We're designed the largest free-spanning dome in the world and it's probably the lightest steel structure of its kind and it has a moving roof, all integrated. It's quite a special achievement."

    With the roof permanently covered, there were concerns whether Singaporeans would be able to see fireworks from the dome.

    Mr Lewis added: "We have a horse shoe here, looking out towards the city. And actually you can set up three different fireworks, if you had floating pontoons of fireworks in the water. If you had three of those located, 80 per cent of those sitting inside would be able to see a fireworks display on the water body, which I think is quite important.

    "I think the connection to the city is really important, to have an open end to the stadium. And the best part about concert events being hosted here and having the backdrop of the city when you see that televised, like during the National Day Parade, I think that's going to be an important part of that whole setting.

    "For us, it's connecting the stadium back to the city. So when you're in the city, you will hear the noise of the Kallang Roar, coming from this shell form, a projection across the water body back into the city centre."

    The Sports Hub will be open to the public during a community open house on June 27.


    - CNA/ac

  9. #8356
    Regular Member Loh's Avatar
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    Default Skyrise greenery incentive to cover more development types, more areas in Singapore

    Published on Jun 12, 2014 2:39PM


    http://www.straitstimes.com/sites/straitstimes.com/files/imagecache/ST_REVAMP_2014_STORY_PAGE_640X360/20140612/nxy%20tree%20house%201206e.jpg[/IMG]


    The exterior of Tree House condominium off Upper Bukit Timah Road. The Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (Lush) programme to encourage skyrise greenery in private developments is being enhanced to cover more development types and more areas here. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND LIM


    By Janice Heng

    SINGAPORE - The Landscaping for Urban Spaces and High-Rises (Lush) programme to encourage skyrise greenery in private developments is being enhanced to cover more development types and more areas here.

    Dubbed Lush 2.0, this Urban Redevelopment Authority scheme puts in place more regulations on skyrise greenery requirements, as well as more incentives for building owners and developers.

    For instance, the original Lush programme required developers to replace all of the greenery lost from the site due to development, with communal green areas in the project, including rooftops and sky terraces. This applied to new developments in areas around Marina Bay, Kallang Riverside and Jurong Gateway.

    With Lush 2.0, this landscape replacement policy will now apply to all new developments and redevelopments in Marina South, Orchard Planning Area (part), two mixed-use parcels along Orchard Boulevard in Paterson Hill Subzone, Woodlands Regional Centre, Punggol Creative Cluster, Tampines Regional Centre, and Paya Lebar Central as well as commercial and commercial/residential developments within town centres.

  10. #8357
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    Default Education system must evolve as needs change: Heng

    TODAY file photo


    Study trip to Norway, Netherlands shows need for ‘skills transformation’ here, says Education Minister


    TODAY

    By NG JING YNG

    Published: June 16, 4:03 AM


    AMSTERDAM — The Singapore education system must be transformed to ensure students have the relevant skills to keep up with changes in the economy, starting from giving children a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy to ensuring students have a good grounding in maths and technology skills as they move through the education system, said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.

    This goes with helping students build skills in problem solving and applying knowledge and, when they enter the workforce, employers must play their part to foster learning at the workplace, he said.

    Mr Heng was speaking to the media after a five-day study trip to Norway and the Netherlands, where he noted that the eurozone crisis had affected employability and that the availability of jobs in Singapore should not be taken for granted.

    “While education must continue to develop a person, we also have a responsibility to ensure it allows young people to access jobs,” he said.

    The need for “skills transformation”, he said, was the “biggest takeaway” from his visits to schools in the two countries. “This skills transformation will involve many stakeholders, starting from schools to give our children a strong foundation in literacy and numeracy, throughout our system to give them a good grounding in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), moving on to help them build skills in problem solving (and) in applying knowledge,” he said.

    Citing practices in the Norwegian and Dutch education systems, Mr Heng said that without a “rigorous foundation” of numeracy and literacy, students cannot learn new skills and pick up new jobs later in life.

    In Singapore’s schools, this foundation has been strengthened, such as through an emphasis on bilingualism even in the kindergartens and learning support programmes for languages and maths in primary and secondary schools. “Whether the current level of literacy is sufficient, we will continue to assess and do more,” he said.

    This could mean enhancing literacy programmes at the Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs). “Because, otherwise, our young people, when they go to ITE, (they) don’t have a strong foundation (and) find it hard to learn new skills for the future if they don’t have the literacy skills,” he said.

    Singapore’s current participation in the Organisation for Economic Coopera-tion and Development’s study on skill levels among adults would further help diagnose gaps for the Government to possibly move into, he added.

    A strong foundation in basic STEM skills is also needed. Although not everyone is strong in these areas, Singapore needs a “significant percentage” of students to take on rigorous STEM subjects, said Mr Heng.

    For example, at the University of Applied Sciences Amsterdam, fashion students use 3D modelling to design clothes. This illustrates the importance of strengthening students’ fundamentals in mathematics and IT, as technology continues to revolutionise many sectors of society, he said.

    In reference to the ongoing Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (ASPIRE) to better integrate theory and practice at polytechnics and ITEs, Mr Heng said there was a need for applied learning at all levels of education. This will help students unlock the potential in their abilities and use them to solve real-life problems.

    Said Mr Heng: “What is striking (in the Netherlands is that from) … pre-schools right up to research-intensive universities, everyone is grappling with this need to bridge theory and practice, to break boundaries between academic institutions and the real world.”

    He acknowledged the need to raise awareness of skills in Singapore and go beyond the narrow definition of vocational work. “Employers, too, need to value those skills more than just credentials … (to) play an active role in developing their people and training,” he added.

  11. #8358
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    Default Trials at Jurong Lake District to offer glimpse of Singapore as smart nation

    Published on Jun 17, 2014 9:40 AM




    A view of the Jurong Lake and its vicinity. -- ST PHOTO: SAM CHIN


    By Irene Tham

    SINGAPORE -Using your smartphone to sense the bumpiness of a bus ride and sending the data back to the local authorities will soon be a click away. Similarly, drivers will not be able to get away with illegal parking when advanced cameras that automate the work of enforcement officers are turned on. These cameras can also detect people smoking in prohibited zones.

    These are some of the 15 trials that will take place at Jurong Lake District from the third quarter of this year in Singapore's push to be a smart nation to improve citizens' quality of life.

    "What would a smart nation look like? The upcoming Jurong Lake District, or JLD, would provide us with a glimpse into the future," said Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim announcing the trials.

    "We believe that a smart nation can become a reality if we successfully combine policy, people and technology in a concerted fashion," he said.

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    Default Everyday Singaporeans the highlight of this year's National Day Parade

    Published on Jun 18, 2014 10:59 AM


    By Lee Jian Xuan

    SINGAPORE - From ordinary families to pioneer generation citizens, everyday Singaporeans will be celebrated at this year's National Day Parade, event organisers said on Tuesday.

    About 2,000 participants from 35 civil and military contingents will march in this year's parade at the Floating Platform - the largest ever in the parade's history.

    First-time members include those from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore.

    The parade and ceremony segment will start with a seven-minute-long display by bands and drill squads.



    The parade and ceremony segment of this year's NDP will start with a seven-minute-long display by the Combined Band and SAF Precision Drill Squad. -- ST PHOTO: LEE JIAN XUAN

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    Default Yale-NUS intake grows in second year

    Published on Jun 18, 2014 9:19 AM



    President Tony Tan Keng Yam (right), who is also the Chancellor for the National University of Singaore (NUS), at the inauguration of the Yale-NUS College at NUS University Cultural Centre on 27 Aug 2013. The fledgling Yale-NUS College will expand when it begins its second year in August, as it takes on 177 students - up from 155 in last year's pioneer batch. -- PHOTO: ST FILE


    By Amelia Teng

    The fledgling Yale-NUS College will expand when it begins its second year in August, as it takes on 177 students - up from 155 in last year's pioneer batch.

    The liberal arts college - a tie-up between United States Ivy League university Yale and the National University of Singapore - also attracted more interest for this intake with 12,000 applications, 600 more than last year.

    In a statement released yesterday, Yale-NUS said that its plan to grow its annual class size to 250 students over the next few years is on track. This year's intake comes from 35 countries, with Singaporeans making up 60 per cent. The US is next at 10 per cent, followed by India and South Korea, both at 3 per cent, while 54 per cent of the students are female.

    Yale-NUS' dean of admissions and financial aid Kristin Greene said the incoming class is a "highly talented, inspired, and intellectual group" that includes entrepreneurs, authors, musicians and actors. "The diversity and curiosity in our student body spark lively debates and exchange of ideas in our community of learning."

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    Default

    SAFRA Punggol leads raft of upcoming facilities for NSmen: DPM Teo


    By Leong Wai Kit
    POSTED: 18 Jun 2014 11:50


    The new SAFRA club in Punggol will house a myriad of F&B outlets, recreational facilities and fitness gyms, according to Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. Model of the Safra Punggol building. Photo: Jordan Skadian/TODAY

    SAFRA Punggol is one step closer to becoming a reality after the groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday (June 18). (Photo: Leong Wai Kit)


    SINGAPORE: National Servicemen and their families will soon have better and more facilities for recreation, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean announced on Wednesday (June 18).

    Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new SAFRA club in Punggol, Mr Teo detailed plans for the club, which will be ready by early 2016.

    The five-storey waterfront club, built at a cost of S$57 million, will offer gym, cycling and inline-skating facilities, restaurants, a bowling centre, spa and karaoke room. To cater to NSmen with children, the club will also house Singapore’s first indoor water playground and the island’s largest NurtureStars childcare centre.

    Mr Teo also revealed plans for another SAFRA club to be built in the north-western part of Singapore, bringing the total number of SAFRA clubs to seven. There are also plans to enhance SAFRA Mount Faber by 2016, and to redevelop SAFRA Tampines by 2018, he said.

    A new Home Team NS club in Tampines will also be built by 2016, while the upgrading of the existing Home Team NS clubs in Balestier, Chinatown and Bukit Batok will be completed in August this year, Mr Teo said.


    - CNA/cy

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    Default New Safra Club at Punggol which will cater to young families

    Published on Jun 18, 2014 1:56 PM









    An artist's impression of the upcoming Safra Club near the Punggol Waterway. -- PHOTO: SAFRA



    By Daryl Chin SINGAPORE - The Punggol waterway will soon see a new Safra Club as the Government ramps up efforts to show appreciation for National Servicemen.

    Details on this $57.3 million facility, slated to be completed in early 2016, were revealed by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at a ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday.

    "The Safra Clubhouse is an important symbol," said Mr Teo, "(it) will be a constant reminder of what our NSmen are defending - our homes, families and the special Singapore that we have built together."

    The five-storey 14,000 sq m club at Sentul Crescent is right next to the Punggol Waterway. It will also have a first-of-its-kind water themed playground for children.

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    Default NDP 2014 will pay tribute to everyday Singaporeans

    Uniformed personnel participating in the 2014 National Day Parade...
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    Ms Salbiah Jamaludin (in yellow) with uniformed personnel at the...
    [More]



    By Paul Lim
    Published: June 19, 4:04 AM


    SINGAPORE — For the past 10 years, Ms Salbiah Jamaludin has celebrated National Day by marching with the contingent from the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) at every National Day Parade (NDP) — an experience that fills her with pride, she said.

    This year, NDP organisers will celebrate everyday Singaporeans such as Ms Salbiah during the Parade and Ceremony segment, which will feature their contributions in “building a resilient, caring and inclusive society” over five parts called Heartbeats, each with a theme such as Tribute to Pioneers and Faces of Families.

    “What’s different about this year’s parade is the recognition of everyday Singaporean heroes who have served and contributed. Honestly, we often take them for granted.” said Senior Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Tan, chairman of the Parade and Ceremony Committee.

    “With Heartbeats, we hope to pay tribute and celebrate the pioneers, capturing the feelings and the hearts of Singaporeans.”

    Instead of the usual band performance, this year’s Parade and Ceremony segment, dubbed A Parade with a Heart, will open with a seven-minute military band display — the largest of its kind seen on The Float at Marina Bay. It will feature close to 2,000 participants getting into interesting formations and marching to familiar NDP song favourites such as Home.

    For the first time, eight participants from the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore will also be taking part in the parade.

    In August, Ms Salbiah, 45, who works as an assistant supervisor at Changi General Hospital, will be marching with the NTUC contingent of 36 members again.

    When asked what keeps her coming back, she said: “When I first joined, I felt it was very hard and tough. But the bonding with my brothers and sisters from NTUC encouraged me to take part every year. The atmosphere, encouragement and friends I make every year (motivate) me to come back.”

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    Default NUS, NTU hold on to positions in Asian ranking

    Published on Jun 19, 2014 9:26 AM

    By Ameli Teng

    The National University of Singapore (NUS) has held on to its spot as second best in Asia, pipped only by the University of Tokyo, in a varsity ranking released this morning.

    The Asia University Rankings, published for the second time by London-based magazine Times Higher Education (THE), placed Nanyang Technological University (NTU) 11th on the list, unchanged from last year's edition. This comes a month after Quacquarelli Symonds, an education and career consultancy also based in London, rated NUS as top in Asia for the first time, and NTU as 7th, its highest-ever position.

    The latest Times index compares universities based on 13 indicators such as research performance, teaching environment and research citations. Some 60,000 academics were also polled. Todai or University of Tokyo, NUS and the University of Hong Kong are the top three performers in Asia.

    NUS president Tan Chorh Chuan said the rank "is an affirmation of NUS' strong international reputation, and a recognition of the university's quality education and world-class research".

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