In an op-ed in The Straits Times, Trisha Craig, Dean of International & Professional Experience gave her views on Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s recent announcements at the National Day Rally. In her opinion, Singapore’s plans to focus on pre-school education will help with the country’s longer-term challenges such as social mobility, maintaining a competitive edge in the global market, and declining fertility.
Dean Craig highlighted that a focus on and widespread availability of the arts in the early years should be seen as another strategic element in meeting the country’s long-term goals. The need to develop learners and a work force who are creative and critical thinkers, not just good test takers, is part of Singapore’s approach to maintaining a competitive edge in the global market. This need underlies a number of recent policy decisions, such as heavy investment in lifelong learning or the creation of new tertiary institutions like the Singapore University of Technology and Design or Yale-NUS College. Noting that the benefits will pay dividends for years to come, she concluded that a major task ahead for policymakers is to incentivise providers to keep fees at a manageable level for both low- and middle-income families.