Professor Bertil Andersson
President, Nanyang Technological University
OFFICIAL OPENING CEREMONY OF
LEE KONG CHIAN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
Monday, 28 August 2017, 10am
Auditorium, Level 4,
Clinical Sciences Building, Novena
Guest-of-Honour Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Chairman, National Research Foundation;
Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education & Skills);
Dr Lam Pin Min, Senior Minister of State for the Ministry of Health;
Right Honourable Mr Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom;
Mr Chandra Das and Mr Othman Haroon Eusoffe, Pro-chancellors of NTU;
Dr Lee Seng Tee, Chairman of the Lee Foundation;
Mr Koh Boon Hwee, Chairman of the NTU Board of Trustees;
Mr Lim Chuan Poh, Chairman of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine Governing Board and A*STAR;
Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London;
Professor Philip Choo, Group Chief Executive Officer of the National Healthcare Group;
Professor James Best, Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine;
Members of the NTU Board of Trustees and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine Governing Board;
Your Excellencies High Commissioners and Ambassadors;
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is wonderful to mark this occasion with so many of you who have shaped this medical school. It is also an especially meaningful day for me as I have been personally involved in the setting up of this School, from its initial conceptualisation to what it is today.
Less than two weeks ago, we welcomed the fifth cohort of LKCMedicine students. I still remember the day back in 2007 when I received an SMS asking me to be on the Committee on the Expansion of the University Sector. There were three items on the agenda for discussion. The first item was to set up a new university, which later became the SUTD. The second was the liberal arts college, which is now the Yale-NUS College. The last and actually smallest part was a new medical school. But right there and then I said to Koh Boon Hwee, our BOT Chair – and he shared my excitement – that we should concentrate on the medical school. And that’s exactly what we did.
We were fortunate to have then-Minister for Education Dr Ng Eng Hen, a medical doctor himself, who championed the option of a medical school. He was firmly focused from the beginning that we should partner just one university in this endeavour, instead of four. He was also absolutely clear that this partnership had to infuse new DNA into medical education in Singapore, giving medical students an alternative choice.
The trademark of any successful joint programme is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts; and today, seven years on, we have a unique medical school that we couldn't have created each on our own, and of that we can truly be proud.
The Lee Kong Chian Medical School represents an unprecedented collaboration between of NTU and Imperial, two universities that rank among the global top 11. By combining the strengths of both NTU and Imperial, we have created an innovative and modern curriculum that incorporates the flipped classroom and Team-Based Learning with simulation and apprenticeships, delivered in state-of-the-art facilities here in Novena and at the main Jurong West campus.
Two of our medical school buildings stand tall today: the Experimental Medicine Building over at NTU’s main campus, and here at Novena, the Clinical Sciences Building, flanked by LKCMedicine heritage Headquarters building.
We designed these learning facilities with an eye to the future. The medical school’s intake has grown from just 54 in 2013 to 120 students this year. But we have room to grow, which is a good thing as the Ministries of Education and Health announced recently that the total number of available spaces at Singapore’s three medical schools is set to rise to 500 by next year.
These future doctors will play an important role as Singapore’s society ages and faces new challenges that cannot be addressed by medicine alone.
As we await DPM Teo Chee Hean to declare the school officially open, I am delighted to say I’ve enjoyed travelling this journey with our valued partners, stakeholders and the team led by the School Dean, Professor James Best, from its inception to the present, as well as the Lee Foundation for giving the school a flying start. Wherever I will be in future, I will continue to be a proud ambassador of Singapore, NTU and LKCMedicine.
I wish Prof James Best and his team continued success. No pun intended on James’ last name, but the best is yet to be and I am confident that LKCMedicine will rise to even greater heights in the years ahead, and make its parents, NTU and Imperial College, very proud.