Singapore’s thriving economy has been cited as a role-model for many developing countries, but the progress has been made possible only because its education system has been consistently churning out dynamic thinkers.
The country’s high-school kids are officially recognized as the smartest in the world. The reason behind this, according to education director Andreas Schleicher, is that the training begins at home, and at a very young age. It’s part of Asian culture, he says, for parents to prioritize education. Primary school teachers play a big role in providing a strong base to consolidate that priority.
According to Schleicher, the today’s career world ‘no longer just rewards people for what they know. Google knows everything. The world economy rewards people for what they can do with what they know’.
Singapore today is one of the best performing economies in the world, and a major part of the credit goes to Lee Kuan Yew, the country’s founding father, whose sweeping reforms set it on its way.
The secret of Singapore’s exemplary education system, according to Marc Tucker, President of US National Center on Economy and Education, lies in its sourcing of teachers. The teachers are picked from amongst the smartest kids who graduate from high school, trained to be experts in their profession, and paid lucrative salaries that encourage them to stay in the education sector.
In the 1970’s, Singapore’s economy started moving towards high-tech white collar jobs, needing the support of the education system to provide workers to fit the bill. The focus then shifted from earlier rote-learning to encouraging creativity in students and nurturing young people with progressive vision.
The country has never looked back since.