Magazine article Technology & Learning

Educators from North America and Singapore Share Ideas

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Educators from North America and Singapore Share Ideas

Article excerpt

The recent international TIMMS test shows Singapore students performing extremely well in math and science, but the Singapore Teachers Union (STU) and the Singapore Ministry of Education are not ready to rest on their laurels. They are now focusing their efforts on information technology (IT).

More than 800 Singapore teachers spent part of the June holidays at a two-and-a-half day technology conference, Towards the Technology-Integrated School. While the invited presenters were from the U.S. and Canada, they would be the first to tell you that the learning exchange was two-way.

Rear Admiral Teo Chee Hean, minister of education and second minister for defense, opened the conference by reviewing Singapore's economic condition and explaining the need to focus on IT. In the first quarter of 1998, as a spillover from the regional financial crisis, 7,131 Singapore workers were retrenched.

The Singapore government is retraining these workers with new job skills and putting a system in place that begins in school and emphasizes lifelong learning and flexibility. As Rear Admiral Teo explained it, the goal is to "...focus on lifelong employability, rather than lifelong employment."

The Singapore government is investing in a variety of initiatives to back the move toward a lifelong learning culture. One hundred million Singapore dollars ($1.65S=$1 U.S.) has been made available to upgrade workers' skills; all teachers have been given government-subsidized e-mail accounts; and teachers who purchase personal computers can apply for a 40 percent reimbursement through the STU. …

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