NDR: Space EduCity 2020

Aug 24, 2015 12.58AM |


Space EduCity 2020

MOVIE TITLE: Space EduCity 2020

Starring: Ali, Aileen, Ah Seng, Alan, Ananda and Anton

Co-starring: JTC Corporation, CIA (Culinary Institute of America), TUM (Technical University of Munich), DigiPen Institute of Technology, SIT (Singapore Institute of Technology)

Special guest appearance: Chen Zhangkai

Directed by: Ministry of Education

Special thanks to the cast of thousands of wannabe poly-to-uni students.

PLOT: The Alpha teen team races against time to save SIT’s five different satellite polytechnics from being invaded by 1,500 beings by AD2020. Plans for an SIT inter-galactic base in Punggol to school 3,500 denizens are proposed. In the future, denizens may skywalk between class and work, as JTC conjures up a creative cluster opposite the base. Planetary representatives from the CIA, TUM and DigiPen give the nod. But will the A team be on time? Will their mentor, Chen Zhangkai, an SIT graduate, inspire them to greater heights? Will Space EduCity 2020 be ready?

REVIEW: Even though SkillsFuture is anchored by a desire to raise the labour productivity of the Singaporean workforce, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hardly mentioned the p-word in his speech. Perhaps it is the complexity associated with its definition and measurement, but PM Lee framed the initiative as a broader national movement which promoted lifelong learning, because “workers and students must stay ahead of globalisation and technology”.

And it was an astute move. Even though the tripartite SkillsFuture Council led by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam has coordinated programmes with government agencies and companies – especially after the 2015 Budget – awareness amongst employees may not have kept pace. The notion of lifelong learning hence featured, since “every Singaporean aged 25 and above will get an initial $500 of [SkillsFuture Credit], with top-ups from time to time, to spend on training programmes throughout life”.

It also allowed PM Lee to segue into the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme for graduates of polytechnics and the Institutes of Higher Learning (ITE), as well as grand plans for the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). Education Minister Heng Swee Keat had already announced in the past week that SIT – which offers degree opportunities to polytechnic students – would have a central campus focused on science and technology.

PM Lee announced tonight that the new, swanky campus for SIT will be in Punggol, integrated into the Punggol Downtown and the upcoming Northshore District. It would no longer be Punggol 21, but Punggol 21 A-Plus, he joked.

Yet beyond the infrastructure which boasts of fancy link bridges, he stressed the partnerships (and proximity) between the SIT campus and the new creative industry cluster the JTC Corporation will build. Since polytechnic graduates would have benefited from the place-and-train programmes in their previous institution, this practice of going “from classroom to workplace [to] apply what they learn” would be a logical extension for applied learning.

Against a background of more diverse pathways in the education system, PM Lee picked up where he left off at the rally last year, when he focused on the ITEs and the polytechnics and the quality of their graduates. The ASPIRE Committee then made recommendations to improve pedagogies for education and career guidance. This year – through the example of “late-bloomer” Chen Zhangkai, who graduated from SIT last year after a less direct path than the average student – PM Lee outlined more concrete plans for post-polytechnic endeavours.

Which is a great sign. For far too long the disproportionate emphasis on academic excellence per se has side-lined individuals who may have talents in different disciplines, and this rally reaffirms the oft-cited commitment to leave no one behind, and to empower individuals to the best of their abilities – no matter their age.


This is the last piece for our National Day Rally coverage. Read the rest of our four-part series on what happened at the National Day Rally on August 23, 2015.
Part 1: 生活费 – Cost of living
Part 2: A home to call our own
Part 3: Where are you, baby?
Bonus: Dear PM

Text by Jin Yao Kwan.

Image composited from SIT and TODAY.

Poster by The Middle Ground.

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