Please Mind The (Curiosity) Gap, Asian Scientist, 5 January 2018

The Asian Scientist article, written by Yale-NUS College student Jolene Lum (Class of 2019), discusses the Singapore education system, noting that while it produces individuals with excellent technical competency, there may be a gap in developing curiosity. She argues that this is necessary for a quantum leap to be made in an innovation economy as curiosity is a hallmark for innovation. The author interviewed inaugural Yale-NUS Dean of Faculty Charles Bailyn, who opined that the Singaporean education system trades off curiosity for competence because students emerge from the [GCE ‘A’ Level examination] with technical knowledge unmatched in the world, but they lack communication skills, lateral thinking, organizational strategies and independence of mind. He highlighted that being able to ace tests is an entirely different skillset from critical thinking and solving problems at a higher level, like in research. However, Prof Bailyn also noted that Singapore is taking steps to combat this, by being open to multiple systems of education and modifying them to suit the local context. He highlighted Yale-NUS College and the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) as heralds of change.

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