“Singapore: Imagining the next 50 years”, a course to teach students about the country’s socio-economic issues and challenges, is now taught in all its public universities.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Singapore Management University (SMU), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) have launched and begun conducting classes since last year.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, president of SUSS, said the idea was to build upon National Education: “It is an opportunity for mutual learning and working together.
“A kind of Singapore University Inc, where we can join forces and share pedagogy and expertise.”
Initiated by a council under the Ministry of Defence that aims to raise awareness on defence and National Service issues, students in the course discuss issues impacting Singapore, such as a rapidly aging society, security threats and rising global competition in a bid to develop strategies and policies relevant to the country’s future.
Another example is how America’s increasingly protectionist measures will impact Singapore’s economy.
Speaking to Channel News Asia, Dr Kenneth Ong, NTU’s coordinator for the course said: “I think it’s very important to give students the perspective of policymakers in Singapore, to see and perceive how problems – global and local – can impact Singapore’s survival.”
Low Zhi Hong, a Year 4 student at Low Zhi Hong said: “One of the things that I’ve learnt so far is that Singapore is a very small economy, and we are oftentimes at the mercy of larger economies in the world, especially with current trends leading towards protectionism, which is a little bit worrying for me as an individual as well”.
The course is reportedly so popular that it is oversubscribed at three universities – at NUS, it was 1.5 times oversubscribed for a class size of 60 whereas at NTU, the course was three times oversubscribed for a class of 36 places.