School of Science and Technology, Singapore, MOU Signing and Media Conference

Published on : 03-Mar-2009

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 11.30am
Nanyang Executive Centre
Nanyang Technological University

Our two esteemed partners, School of Science and Technology, Singapore, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic

Members, Board of Directors, School of Science and Technology, Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning to all! Welcome to the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Singapore’s School of Science and Technology, NTU and Ngee Ann Polytechnic!

The School of Science and Technology, Singapore, SST in short, is a specialised independent school that offers the broadest range of Applied Subjects for students at secondary level.  The SST provides abundant opportunities for the top students of science and technology to learn through problem solving. Students at SST will take on a holistic curriculum that SST will broaden their minds and relate the concepts taught in the classroom to real-world applications.

I am sure you are all wondering at the genesis of the School of Science and Technology, Singapore and its relationship with NTU.

In my inaugural address back in 2003 when coming in as President of NTU, I spoke of the education of a new breed of Singaporeans, steeped in passion and entrepreneurship, to break away from conventional wisdoms and well-worn paths.

When then Minister for Education Tharman Shanmugaratnam asked me to chair SST in 2007, I readily agreed because I see the potential for SST to break away from the conventional academic paradigm and develop a new breed of students not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom and to relate their academic studies to the real world issues everyone of us faces.

This morning’s MOU signing amongst the three parties paves the way for a strategic partnership – a collaboration which will help develop varied applied learning processes that will instill early in our students a sense of curiosity, a passion for creativity and experimentation, an entrepreneurial mindset, willingness to take risks, and perseverance to achieve success.  We hope to produce the next generation of entrepreneurs who spread their influence far and wide, like Sim Wong Hoo and Olivia Lum.

To do so, SST will have innovative school designs with state-of-the-art technology and a small class size of 25 that allows the teachers to develop a different way of teaching. It will emphasise problem-based learning, encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship. When I led a delegation from NTU to visit the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mr Chua Chor Huat, Principal of SST, was a member of my delegation.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a major global force and the world’s largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship.  Even the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, tapped Kauffman to help promote entrepreneurship in England.  The potential for innovation and entrepreneurship exists in all of us.  To educate entrepreneurial leaders, NTU wants to extend our reach to the fresh young faces coming out from primary school, eager to experiment and try new things. This would add a very interesting stream of students to the future intake of NTU, and indeed other Singapore universities, whether they come through the polytechnic or the junior college path.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic, with its long established tradition of applied learning, is a valued partner for NTU in developing the School of Science and Technology, Singaporre. For a start, NTU and Ngee Ann Polytechnic will assist SST in the development of exciting new education programmes in applied learning, drawing upon the real world as much as possible. This is where we also need the guidance of our distinguished Board of Directors comprising luminaries in industry and education and their guidance will be crucial.

In the future, I can see developing a new way of educating captains of industry capable of taking Singapore deep into the knowledge economy. The SST will bring this to a new level by incorporating applied learning on a school-wide basis.  NTU is proud to be partners with the Ministry of Education in this drive.

As we look forward to welcoming SST’s pioneer students early next year, I am confident that the School will be a well-established, premier institution, a school of choice, one that offers a distinctive curriculum, preparing its students well for a high flying career and helping Singapore compete vigorously on the world stage.  I look forward to working with all at SST to nurture a new generation of entrepreneurial and technology savvy Singaporeans.

Thank you for joining us at this ceremony and press conference. Have a great day ahead!

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