We all have heard about the Asian tigers – four countries that acquired an incredible economic raise in a short time. It is obvious that achieving such results implies strong education system, as education is considered as a foundation of economic, political, and sociocultural aspects of the state development (Yavaprabhas, 2014, p. 87). I believe it will be useful for us, future policy makers, to go through the milestones of education development in Singapore, one of the strongest countries in Southeast Asia region.
It is essential to understand that Singapore is a state in the city – it has a very small territory and no natural resources. Thus, the state has focused on the development of manpower, a universal and globally accepted resource. To start with, Singapore raised the quality of its higher education thoroughly studying the best education systems in the world and carefully implementing the most appropriate practices. Starting from 2000s when there was a shift to the knowledge-based economy, Singapore started its journey towards the status of the regional education hub. To achieve this goal, the two flagship universities, NUS (National University of Singapore) and NTU (Nanyang Technological University), supposed to acquire a status of a world-class university. To enhance and expand the research sphere, the Singapore government attracted foreign scientists by increasing research funding, adjusted existing policies to make the research more comprehensible, and opened a number of research centers with the high-tech facilities and equipment. The government has also started to implement the “entrepreneurship university” model sending their brightest students abroad to pass internship in start-up companies to acquire the entrepreneurial skills and apply them further. With the same goal, the local universities added entrepreneurial courses into their curriculum. Talking about the global dimension, it is worth noting that Singapore is highly selective in giving the permission for opening branch campuses – the government chooses the best of the best, so only top universities are allowed to offer their programs. Overall, it can be said that Singapore education system can serve as a role model of rapid success in education development. Singaporeans achieved high results and did not lose their identity. For sure, there are some issues, but generally speaking I think that Kazakhstan could adopt Singaporean experience. What do you think? What system could serve as the perfect role for the Kazakhstani education system development?
Yavabrabhas, S. (2014). The harmonization of higher education in Southeast Asia. In Emerging International Dimensions in East Asian Higher Education (81-102). Netherlands: Springer.