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Thread: Singapore Also Can
09-17-2012, 11:33 PM #6529
NYP, Temasek Foundation partner Thai education ministry in customised training
Updated 06:43 PM Sep 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - Nanyang Polytechnic International (NYPi) and Temasek Foundation (TF) have partnered the Thai Ministry of Education and Rajamangala University of Technology (RMUT) to provide customised training for technical education leaders and faculty trainers in Thailand.
About 120 government officials, senior management staff and specialist teachers from RMUT will participate in the training programme through a grant of about S$690,000 from TF.
About 50 Thai officials and senior management staff were in Nanyang Polytechnic for three senior management programmes from April to last month.
The remaining master trainers are expected to be trained by next month.
The programme includes an overview of technical manpower training and development in Singapore, building a practice-oriented higher education curriculum, experience sharing on establishing industry connections and specialist teachers' courses.
It aims to help RMUT enhance its role as the practice-oriented university of excellence and allows for best practices that relevant for industry to be shared in a timely manner.
Participants will transfer their knowledge to other leaders and practitioners from tertiary institutions. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Nanyang Polytechnic. Photo by Nabihah Hashim, 11 Jul 2012.
09-17-2012, 11:51 PM #6530
Singapore's rich become poorer
by Linette Lim
Updated 09:08 PM Sep 17, 2012
SINGAPORE - Singapore's super-rich watched their collective fortunes shrink by 8.8 per cent from August last year to July 31 this year.
According to industry researcher Wealth-X, people with more than US$30 million (S$37 million) in investable assets suffered mainly from the poor performance of the stock markets.
Still, Singapore's so-called ultra high net worth individuals are ranked seventh in Asia as a group.
With a combined wealth of US$155 billion (S$190 billion), they have enough money to build 23 Marina Bay Sands or cover the debt of Hungary, the world's 56th largest economy.
Overall, the wealth of Asia's ultra rich dropped 6.8 per cent to US$6.3 trillion (S$7.7 trillion) in the past 12 months.
Wealth-X said low-interest rates mean more of Asia's rich will be driven to invest in property, defying government efforts to cool the market.
CEO of Wealth-X Mykolas Rambus, said: "In Asia, there are almost 43,000 ultra high net worth individuals competing for the same property whether it's Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai - there're lots of assets that are available so I think we'll see property prices continue to go up because there is such demand.
"And increasingly we'll see ultra high net worth individuals invest further afield, whether it's in residential, commercial or industrial, looking for opportunities in the US and in Europe."
TODAY FILE PHOTO
09-18-2012, 10:32 PM #6531
CPIB 'helped raise Singapore's standing': Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew outlines critical role it played in helping Republic to prosper
Published on Sep 19, 2012
Mr Lee Hsien Loong, Mr Lee Kuan Yew and Mr Goh Chok Tong entering the Istana State Room for a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau. Founding prime minister Mr Lee said the CPIB had helped build investor confidence, allowing Singapore to progress. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
By Leonard Lim
Singapore's graft-busting watchdog and its officers have contributed to the country's standing, founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew said on Tuesday.
They give confidence to investors, which has led to national progress and prosperity, he said, in hailing their efforts as the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) marked six decades of stamping out bribery.
Mr Lee and his successor Mr Goh Chok Tong were special guests at a ceremony marking the occasion on Tuesday.
Mr Lee added in a statement: "We must remain vigilant and ensure that Singapore continues to be regarded as one of the least corrupt nations in the world, with a clean public service and businesses that abhor corruption."
Singapore must never let up in battle against corruption: PM
Published on Sep 18, 2012
From Left to right: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong chatting with Former CPIB directors Mr Soh Kee Hean; Mr Chua Cher Yak : Mr Eric Tan current CPIB director and Mr Evan Yeo at the Istana celebrating its CPIB's 60th Anniversary this year. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
By Leonard Lim
Singapore's battle against corruption must never let up as there is a larger cost of graft to society which outweighs the dollar amounts exchanged, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday.
Speaking at the 60th anniversary celebrations for the Corruption Practices Investigation Bureau at the Istana, PM Lee also said Singapore will never tolerate graft and not accept any slackening of standards in the matter.
Anyone who breaks the rules will be caught and punished, he pledged, and there will be no cover ups no matter how senior the officer or how embarrassing it may be.
Singapore is also in the midst of reviewing and tightening the system in light of recent high-profile graft cases, to maintain high standards of honesty.
Last edited by Loh; 09-18-2012 at 10:47 PM.
09-18-2012, 11:03 PM #6532
Gan highlights importance of central medical record system for patients
By Vimita Mohandas | Posted: 18 September 2012 1029 hrs
SINGAPORE: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has said creating the central medical record system for patients is just the first step towards achieving better care for patients.
He said what is needed is to find ways to use the information in a meaningful way to prevent the patients' medical conditions from getting worse.
Mr Gan was commenting on the National Electronics Health Record, which will be fully rolled out in 2015. It will pool information for every patient - which will be shared among private and public healthcare services.
Mr Gan was speaking at a healthcare informatics conference on Tuesday.
The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Asia-Pacific conference drew representatives from more than 60 companies and government agencies.
Sensors placed on various parts of a patient's body and a wireless platform is all it takes for patients' medical conditions to be monitored by their doctors anywhere.
A*STAR's wireless body-sensor network, which took some two years to develop, will be able to monitor a patient's heart rate and even measure his muscle strain. Doctors can also spot worrying changes and deal with them as soon as they arise.
Mr Leni Chan, Manager of Science and Engineering, Commercialisation Division, A*STAR, said: "This is cost effective for both patients and doctors because patients no longer have to go down to the clinic and the doctor is able to access the data at home and the clinic itself, and it's 24-hour monitoring. So doctors can have more information and pick up things that they normally don't pick up just being at the clinic."
Mr Chan added that this technology overcomes current challenges faced by most products on the market such as blockage in data transmission which can result in loss of critical data and high energy consumption. Clinical trials for the body sensor are expected to begin at some local hospitals next year.
Depending on the patients' needs, they can choose various sensors to test for different conditions. For example, if a patient wants to measure his stress level, he can choose the GSR sensor. The results are then fed back to the doctor and he would then know the appropriate treatment to give to the patient.
Mr Gan said it's key to re-examine how healthcare services are delivered with our evolving healthcare landscape.
Mr Gan said: "In the past, when the population was younger, our healthcare system was focused mainly on acute hospitals because diseases were more episodic in nature. With the population ageing rapidly, prevalence of chronic diseases is likely to rise. Effective chronic disease management is increasingly important and will require new models of care, especially within the community to meet the challenges ahead."
He said it's important for healthcare practioners and IT providers to work closely together to improve care for patients.
09-18-2012, 11:14 PM #6533
Changi Airport named world's best by Business Traveller readers
Updated 04:39 PM Sep 18, 2012
SINGAPORE - Changi Airport has been named the world's best by readers of a leading travel publication.
It is the airport's 25th consecutive win.
Launched in 1984, the Business Traveller awards are an annual celebration of travel companies that have made a difference to the lives of travellers from the United Kingdom and Europe.
The results are determined by votes from readers and audited by an independent company.
Other winners this year include Singapore Airlines and The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore.
Mr Julian Gregory, managing director of Panacea Publishing, which publishes the Business Traveller, said continued investment, innovation and consistency of service have created an environment with a sense of calm efficiency.
He described Changi Airport as a "place where our readers can work or relax without the stresses and distractions that impact travellers so much today".
The award was accepted by Mr Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive officer of Changi Airport Group, at a ceremony in London yesterday.
"What we did was to focus on the passengers we served and through the years, invested to develop an offering that resonates with the needs of our passengers and visitors. To stay ahead, we introduced practical and innovative facilities, and infused the Changi Service DNA - personalised, stress-free and positively surprising - in the overall airport experience. This philosophy of providing a first-class Changi Experience will continue to be the backbone of our success," said Mr Lee.
The facilities at the airport, which opened in 1981, included themed gardens, movie theatres, rooftop swimming pool, gym and spa and hundreds of shopping and dining options.
The world's most-awarded airport, Changi has received 18 accolades since the beginning of the year.
This brings to 410 the total number of awards it has won in its history. CHANNEL NEWSASIA
Singapore Changi Airport. TODAY file photo
09-18-2012, 11:51 PM #6534
'My mission was to establish a clean and efficient Govt': Mr Lee Kuan Yew
Updated 12:15 AM Sep 19, 2012
Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, who was Singapore's first Prime Minister, wrote a preface for the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau 60th anniversary commemorative coffee table book. Here is the full text:
In a region where corruption is endemic, Singapore has remained clean. From 1959 when the PAP first formed the government, we have stamped out corruption. The challenge is to keep corruption free. We have to rid our society of greed, corruption and decadence. When I became Prime Minister in 1959, my mission was to establish a clean and efficient Government against the back drop of a corruption-ridden region. We set up systems and processes to ensure that every dollar in revenue was properly accounted for: we sharpened the instruments that could prevent, detect and deter instances where discretionary powers could be abused. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) which was under my care has succeeded in keeping the country clean.
The CPIB was established by the British in 1952 to tackle the increasing corruption. However little was done because the CPIB lacked the necessary resources and legal powers. When I took over in 1959, I strengthened the laws and the organisation of CPIB.
We tightened the law on corruption. Wealth disproportionate to a person's earnings would serve as corroborative evidence when a person is charged for corruption. The CPIB was placed directly under the Prime Minister. And if the Prime Minister were to refuse giving his consent for the CPIB to make any inquiries or to carry out any investigations into any person including the Prime Minister himself, the Director CPIB can seek the concurrence of the President to carry on with the investigations. In other words, nobody is exempt.
Over the years, Singapore has established an effective anti-corruption framework. Leaders must be above suspicion. They must insist on the same high standards of probity of their fellow ministers and of the officials working for them. We do not tolerate corruption. CPIB has since developed a formidable reputation for its thorough and fearless investigations. The bureau has successfully dealt with a number of corrupt senior government officials including Ministers, Members of Parliament, senior civil servants and prominent businessmen. This is testament to CPIB's independence. The bureau can discharge its duties in a swift and sure, but firm and fair manner.
The most dramatic case was that of Teh Cheang Wan, then minister for National Development. In November 1986, he was investigated by the CPIB for accepting two bribes totalling $1 million. In one case, it was to allow a development company to retain part of its land which had been earmarked for compulsory government acquisition, and in the other to assist a developer in the purchase of state land for private development. These bribes had taken place in 1981 and 1982. Teh denied receiving the money and tried to bargain with the senior assistant director of the CPIB for the case not to be pursued. He had offered to pay back $800,000 in exchange for immunity. The cabinet secretary reported this and said Teh had asked to see me. I replied that I could not until the investigations were over as I could become a witness. A week later, on the morning of 15 December 1986, my security officer reported that Teh had died and left me a letter:
I have been feeling very sad and depressed for the last two weeks. I feel responsible for the occurrence of this unfortunate incident and I feel I should accept full responsibility. As an honourable oriental gentleman I feel it is only right that I should pay the highest penalty for my mistake.
Teh Cheang Wan
CPIB has been and is a tenacious and effective instrument against corruption. The bureau and its officers have contributed to Singapore's standing, giving confidence to investors that has led to our progress and prosperity. We must remain vigilant and ensure that Singapore continues to be regarded as one of the least corrupt nations in the world, with a clean public service and businesses that abhor corruption.
09-19-2012, 12:05 AM #6535
Giant pandas given clean bill of health
by Tan Qiuyi
Updated 08:05 PM Sep 18, 2012
SINGAPORE - Zookeepers have given giant pandas Kai Kai and Jia Jia a clean bill of health, more than a week after their arrival in Singapore.
The River Safari said the pandas are adjusting well to local food, and getting comfortable in their dens.
In quarantine, Kai Kai spent his fifth birthday in Singapore with a special cake of ice and carrots, while Jia Jia has been looking happy munching on locally-grown bamboo.
Locally-grown bamboo is the pandas main course, but high-fibre biscuits are also on the menu as a supplement.
The pandas are strictly off-limits for the moment, and the vets are monitoring their diets daily.
Daily faecal analyses show how the pandas' digestive systems are working, and whether the diet suits them.
Dr Serena Oh, Head Vet, Assistant Director Vet Services at Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: "We're looking for faecal consistency, whether it's well-formed, the colour of the poo as well. We can tell whether they're eating more leaves, or more bamboo stem."
To communicate with the China pandas in their 'native language', learning to speak some Mandarin was a special challenge for the head keeper.
Mr Halim Ali, Head Keeper, Assistant Curator at River Safari, said: "I learnt a few words, like 'zhan' (stand), 'guai guai' (be good)."
Thankfully, there are more effective ways of communicating.
Mr Halim said: "For all animals they know only one language - food. They know our presence, they know our tone of voice."
The breeding programme is expected to start in a year's time, but pandas are notorious for their low birth rate.
Dr Oh said: "Jia Jia hasn't reached sexual maturity yet. So we don't know when she's going to come on heat."
Another challenge is Singapore's nearly constant weather throughout the year.
The giant panda's breeding cycle is determined by changes in daylight and temperature.
So very soon, the River Safari team will have to think up ways to simulate the change of seasons in equatorial Singapore.
09-19-2012, 04:47 AM #6536
Tickets for K-pop SMTOWN extravaganza go on sale Sept 29
Published on Sep 19, 2012
South Korean pop girl group Girls' Generation performs during the SMTown Live World Tour III in Seoul, South Korea Saturday, Aug 18, 2012. -- PHOTO: AP
Ticket sales for the star-studded K-pop event of the year, SMTOWN Live World Tour III in Singapore, at the Marina Bay floating platform on Nov 23, will begin this month. Prices cost $268 for the VIP category, $238 for the moshpit, $218, and $168. There will be 18,000 tickets for sale.
The three-day priority booking begins on Sept 29 at 10am till Oct 1 at 11.59pm, for Samsung and OCBC customers. The public sale begins from Oct 2 from 12.01am. The concert promoter did not reveal the number of tickets set aside for sale during the priority booking period.
The K-pop extravaganza, which features major acts from Korean giant SM Entertainment, has a production value of $5 million.
09-19-2012, 11:42 PM #6537
China's Ma wary of challenge posed by Singapore race
Published on Sep 19, 2012
HRT's Ma Qing Hua, China's first Formula One driver. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
By May Chen
For Ma Qinghua, Singapore's grand prix is tricky, and not just because it will be the first time the Shanghai-born driver is taking to a street circuit for a Formula One event.
The Republic's heat and humidity, and the timing of the race - it is the only night race on the F1 calendar - plus the twisty, bumpy track's degree of difficulty all place huge demands on drivers.
Ma, 24, is the first F1 driver from China to play a part in a Grand Prix weekend. He first drove in the free practice session at the Monza race earlier this month.
He said in a media session on Tuesday: "It will be the first time I've driven on a street circuit and at night, so it will be a whole new experience.
"Singapore is a very difficult track and does not allow any room for mistakes.
"What's more important for me now is not to get a good timing, but to get more practice and clock more mileage."
09-19-2012, 11:59 PM #6538
US firm IO to open data centre in S'pore for Goldman Sachs
Published on Sep 19, 2012
Arizona-based IO Data Centres will be pumping tens of millions of dollars to set up a data centre in Singapore, its first outside the United States. The upcoming 100,000 sq ft facility here will be up in the next 12 months to host data for its first local client - global financial services firm Goldman Sachs. -- PHOTO: IO Data Centres
By Irene Tham
Arizona-based IO Data Centres will be pumping tens of millions of dollars to set up a data centre in Singapore, its first outside the United States (US).
The upcoming 100,000 sq ft facility here will be up in the next 12 months to host data for its first local client - global financial services firm Goldman Sachs.
IO is still negotiating the lease for the facility. But it has started recruitment here, hoping to hire 50 engineers, sales personnel and administrative staff in the next 12 months.
"Our investments will be in the high tens of millions of dollars over the next three to five years," said Mr Anthony Wanger, president of IO, in a phone interview.
09-20-2012, 12:12 AM #6539
SMU receives S$612K donation from law firm
Updated 10:42 PM Sep 19, 2012
SINGAPORE - Global law firm Jones Day today announced a US$500,000 (S$612,000) donation to the Singapore Management University (SMU) to set up the Jones Day Professorship of Commercial Law for seven years.
The donation is the largest gift received by SMU from a law firm.
Professor Adrian Briggs, a Fellow and Tutor at St Edmund Hall of the University of Oxford and who has been teaching in Oxford since 1980, has been appointed as the first Jones Day Professor of Commercial Law at the SMU. He will oversee the development of Commercial Law concepts at the university.
Dean of SMU School of Law Professor Yeo Tiong Min said:"We are a comprehensive law school within a business and management university, situated in close proximity to where deals are brokered, where disputes are resolved, and where laws are made. We have a natural strength in commercial laws. We are deeply grateful to Jones Day for the gift to further advance the development of commercial laws in Singapore."
Singapore Management University (SMU). Photo by Nabihah Hashim, 10 Jul 2012.
09-20-2012, 12:18 AM #6540
Ionescu trial further adjourned to Dec 3
by Claudia Craiu
Updated 08:47 PM Sep 19, 2012
SINGAPORE - The long-running trial of former Romanian diplomat Silviu Ionescu has been further adjourned to Dec 3.
Ionescu is on trial for two hit-and-run accidents in Singapore in 2009, which left one person dead and two others injured.
At today's hearing in Romania, the court heard from defence witness Mr Ovidiu Hada, the former mayor of Hunedoara, a town in Western Romania.
The judge handling the Silviu Ionescu trial is intending to move the proceedings into its final stage, before ruling a sentence.
Ionescu had planned to use Mr Hada's evidence to prove he was under a constant state of pressure while in Singapore, and that he wanted to leave as soon as possible.
But on the contrary, Mr Hada testified that Ionescu had never complained about his duties or any alleged hostile environment.
Mr Hada said he and Ionescu met in September 2009 while attending two meetings with representatives of the Singaporean Chamber of Commerce, organised by the Romanian Embassy.
"He never complained to me about his duties or about any alleged hostile environment. Our discussions only addressed issues related to my visit to Singapore, which was strictly for business." recalled Mr Ovidiu Hada in court.
The court was also scheduled to examine more evidence from Singapore, but the judge was told this was not yet available and no reason was given.
The experiment in question involved the re-tracing of Ionescu's alleged route on the night of the accident, following the embassy car's sat-nav recording.
The results of the experiment, however, did not turn up so far, for reasons yet unclear.
Present at the proceedings, the Singaporean Special Envoy to Brussels Ong Eng Chuan reiterated the Singaporean Government's expectations that justice shall be served.
09-20-2012, 12:50 AM #6541
Govt asks Google to restrict access to film
by Amir Hussain
04:45 AM Sep 20, 2012
SINGAPORE - The authorities here have asked Internet giant Google to restrict access to a YouTube video clip of a film that has sparked violent protests in many parts of the world, including several countries in the region.
This, as a French satirical magazine yesterday published a series of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed, setting off a new wave of outrage among Muslims and condemnation from French leaders amid widening unrest over the video.
In a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that in view of security concerns arising from the film Innocence of Muslims, the MHA "has taken the pre-emptive measure" of asking the Media Development Authority (MDA) to ask Google to block online access to the film to "prevent similar violent incidents from taking place here".
The film, the MHA said, is in breach of the laws here. "The continued circulation of this film is likely to cause disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different groups in Singapore. Any act which promotes disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between religious or racial groups is an offence under Section 298A of the Penal Code."
The ministry also urged members of the public to "refrain from re-posting the video or adding comments that may further inflame the situation".
An MDA spokesperson said it has "directed Google to restrict access to the video in Singapore" and Google "is currently considering the request".
Google could not respond by press time.
The MHA's request comes as Google - which owns YouTube - moved to restrict access to the film across several countries including Egypt, Libya, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The film, which contained insulting portrayals of Islam - such as depicting the Prophet Mohammed as a womaniser - has led to attacks on the United States' embassies in the Middle East, including an attack on the US consulate in Libya which killed four US officials including US ambassador Chris Stevens last week.
The Inter-Religious Organisation yesterday issued a statement supporting the MHA's call. "We believe our religious followers are rational and will not resort to violence," it said.
09-20-2012, 01:12 AM #6542
Will winds of change be for the better?
by Nachamma Sockalingam
04:45 AM Sep 20, 2012
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat recently announced changes to the education system. But is there a need to change? Aren't we doing fine?
By many accounts, Singapore has one of the best education systems in the world. Singapore students are top performers in international tests. Its curriculum-based textbooks have been adopted by 39 countries.
A common gripe, however, is that our students are only exam-smart and that our education system is very competitive and highly stressful. Such concerns suggest that there is always room for improvement.
Addressing these concerns at the Ministry of Education's Work Plan Seminar, Mr Heng unveiled plans for a "Student-Centric, Values-Driven Education" with four key attributes. At first glance, we may wonder whether these are achievable or a far-fetched vision. Is it possible to engage every student? Can every school be a good school? Will every teacher be a caring educator? Will every parent be a supportive partner?
These, in my view, are not statements of outcomes but statements of strategy. The idea is that actions guided by these principles would lead to a better education system through which our learners can receive a well-rounded education, with positive learning experiences. They also reiterate that the responsibility of educating a child rests not just with the school but also with the student, parents and the larger community, reminding us of the African saying, "It takes the whole village to raise a child".
MEASURING ACHIEVEMENT, TO WHAT END?
In line with this vision, the minister announced the removal of the achievement-oriented school banding, saying that academic results alone cannot be a good yardstick of a good school. While this has been welcomed by some, there is also disappointment expressed that removing competition poses a danger to standards of education.
This makes one wonder about the purpose of the banding.
While the practice has its merits and has served the purpose of identifying schools that have achieved academically, be it in terms of progress or sustained achievement, and spurring innovative programmes to enhance learning, it fails to provide insights on how the school, educators, students and parents have brought out these achievements. So, yes, the banding measures achievement, but the question is, to what end?
Should we simply measure achievement for the sake of measuring, or should we measure achievement to learn and improve? In other words, is measurement going to be of achievement - or for achievement?
COLLABORATE, NOT COMPETE
Interestingly, many of the news articles on this issue have covered only the abolition of the banding but have not elaborated on the alternative that takes its place. This is to recognise key attributes that contribute to a good school, such as best practices in teaching and learning, character and citizenship education, student all-round development, staff development and well-being, and partnership (with parents).
Though banding of schools based on academic results and recognition of good schools based on best practices have the same goal - to improve quality of education - they operate differently.
The awards are suitable as administrative measures of the performance of schools, and therefore push schools to come up with various innovative programmes so as to be the best.
On the other hand, the measures of best practices allow schools to learn from one another and build the overall quality of education in Singapore, while recognising the effort that has gone into this.
So which would be a suitable approach for nurturing our students: Competition (banding) or collaboration (sharing of best practices)? The answer is obvious.
ASSESS STUDENT ENGAGEMENT
What else is needed to make these changes successful?
I hope that there are also changes in ways of assessment. If school assessments continue to be mainly exam-focused and academics-oriented, it is highly likely that this is what schools, educators, students and parents will continue to work on. It stands to logic that what will be delivered is what is going to be measured or counted.
To ensure that the various stakeholders do not go back to the old heavily exam-oriented practices, the way forward would be to assess student engagement as an additional measure.
This would require new tools or tests: We should consider alternative assessments and include more formative tests that support assessment for learning, in addition to the typical summative assessment of learning (such as the final-year exams).
However, as grades in standardised national exams (such as the PSLE, GCE "O" levels, "A" levels) or traditional end-of-year/ module exams have been conventionally used as the "currency of education" to gain admission to higher education or jobs, it is not easy to do away with such exams.
I can hear the murmurs that additional assessment would mean extra work and stress. But this additional assessment will help students learn.
REVIVING 'TEACH LESS'
Another aspect not mentioned in the minister's address was the impact of changes on curriculum.
Student-centric learning activities would require more time, as it involves active engagement and not just passive transmission of information and knowledge to the students.
So the question is, are teachers going to be expected to cover the same curriculum or content to the same extent?
If we expect our teachers to do so, carry on with other teaching-related administrative, co-curricular activities, counselling and mentoring duties and, on top of this, come up with ways to engage students, our teachers are going to be overwhelmed.
Therefore, we may also need to rejuvenate the concept of "Teach Less, Learn More". With a re-scoped, student-centric curriculum, the focus would be on not content coverage but deeper, meaningful and valuable learning for life.
As an educator, I look forward to the changes, for there are numerous advantages to student-centric education. This is evident from the teaching and learning literature. Based on this, I am also confident that our students would enjoy it and am hopeful that they would adapt well.
As a parent, I look forward to connecting with my kids' schools and hope this is not limited to information sharing but purposeful interaction. Perhaps, as a first step, schools can consider creating opportunities for parents to experience the student-centric education. Our experience of school was so different that we may need to go back to school today.
Dr Nachamma Sockalingam holds a PhD in Educational Psychology and is a lecturer at SIM University's Teaching and Learning Centre.
While Singapore appears to have one of the best education systems in the world, a common gripe is that it is very competitive and highly stressful. TODAY FILE PHOTO
09-20-2012, 02:04 AM #6543
RI student is Singapore's most outstanding science student in 2012
Posted: 19 September 2012 1157 hrs
SINGAPORE: 18-year-old Nol Swaddiwudhipong from Raffles Institution has emerged as Singapore's most outstanding science student for 2012.
He was also the winner of the World Scientific Publishing Company-Imperial College Alumni Association of Singapore (WSPC-ICAAS) Most Outstanding Junior College Science Student Award.
Nol will represent Singapore at the 2012 Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar (SIYSS) from 4 to 11 December.
Only 23 of the world's brightest young scientists will be present at this year's seminar.
The SIYSS is an annual event held as part of the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm.
Nol, who will attend the Nobel Prize ceremony, will have the opportunity to meet Nobel laureates and share his research work with participants at the seminar.
09-20-2012, 02:12 AM #6544
Australians & Londoners top arrivals for S'pore F1 Grand Prix
Posted: 19 September 2012 1517 hrs
SINGAPORE: Australians and Londoners are leading the pack in flocking to Singapore's Formula One Grand Prix this year.
The arrivals from Australia account for 23 per cent of bookings during the period.
Coming in second place is the UK with 12 per cent, followed by the US in third position with eight per cent.
In terms of city of departure, London takes top spot with nine per cent of the total bookings for Singapore during the F1 period.
Releasing the figures today, travel technology Amadeus and market research consultants Forward Data SL say Londoners are riding high off the success of the 2012 Olympic Games.
They are heading to Singapore for the F1 to continue their support for some of the world's most iconic sporting events of 2012.
Visitors from Sydney form the second largest number of arrivals in Singapore during the F1 period, accounting for eight per cent of total bookings.
Melbourne takes third spot with six per cent of total bookings.
Looking at longer-term trends, the UK, Australia and New Zealand show recurrent support for the Singapore F1, with New Zealand F1 fans showing 34 per cent growth in 2012.
In general, those attending the Singapore F1 appear to be making a long weekend of the occasion, turning up two days before the qualifying race.
Also, more couples are arriving this year for the F1.
Those arriving with a partner to attend the races account for one third of current bookings.
That is an increase of seven per cent from last year's figure.
09-22-2012, 03:34 PM #6545
Motor Racing: Singapore extends grand prix contract to 2017
Posted: 22 September 2012 1915 hrs
SINGAPORE: Singapore has agreed on a deal with Formula One to extend the country's grand prix contract for another five years until 2017, following months of hard bargaining for cheaper fees.
No price tag for the new deal to 2017 was revealed, but Formula One commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone said repeatedly that the Singapore government had proven tough negotiators.
"It was difficult for me to negotiate," said Ecclestone, sitting next to Singapore's Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran for the announcement ahead of Sunday's grand prix. Mr Iswaran is also a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs.
"He's not easy to deal with and I can't understand why he was complaining about us using the streets and wearing out the streets," he joked. "But we eventually got there and I'm very, very happy. We're all here for another five years."
High costs have caused friction for several hosts of Formula One, which has expanded aggressively from its traditional European domain with seven races in the Asia-Pacific region this season.
Singapore is also one of several grand prix hosts to complain about the high race fees it pays to Formula One. When pressed by journalists on whether Singapore had won a cheaper deal, Ecclestone was coy.
"I always believe these questions shouldn't be asked," he said, when pressed on the contract's price-tag. "A gentleman should never speak about money and last night."
Ecclestone added: "Let me tell you how serious the minister is: you'll be paying for your seat on the way out."
The Singapore race, one of seven held in the Asia-Pacific region this year, has been watched by more than 360 million TV viewers, according to government figures, and won universal praise from teams and drivers this week.
"This is the fifth Singapore Grand Prix and it's already a great grand prix, great atmosphere, great city," McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said earlier on Saturday.
The Singapore race was first held in 2008 on the Marina Bay street circuit and has become a social highlight of the Formula One calendar that rivals Monaco and Abu Dhabi as a draw for dealmakers and corporate heavy-hitters.
According to Mr Iswaran, the race has attracted more than 150,000 visitors spending over S$560m in the past four years.
Mr Iswaran said: "From an economic perspective, the F1 Singapore Grand Prix has attracted more than 150,000 international visitors over the last four years, and about S$140m to S$150m in incremental tourism receipts each year. For the extended term, we expect benefits to remain at least at this level."
With the cost of organising each race pegged at about S$150m - the government co-funds 60 per cent of the bill - Mr Iswaran stressed that the government would like to reduce costs through factors such as infrastructure, operational efficiencies in race organisation and revised terms with the race promoter and Formula One Administration.
While some tweaks could be made to the current Marina Bay Circuit, there are currently no plans to make significant changes to the 5.073km track.
Formula One's hefty race fees have long been a problem for hosts. In 2008, Chinese Grand Prix organisers told AFP they were prepared to walk away from Formula One, before later extending their deal.
The Australian Grand Prix has been the subject of controversy with estimates that it costs local taxpayers A$50 million to stage.
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