Local universities should develop authentic S'porean character, says PM Lee
Friday, 18 September 2015
SINGAPORE — While Singapore’s universities want to maintain their standing in the world, their key performance indicator should not be how highly they are ranked, but how well they serve Singapore, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Nanyang Technological Institute (now Nanyang Technological University)’s 30th reunion anniversary dinner today (Sept 18).
This means the universities should develop an authentic Singaporean character on top of being academically and intellectually rigorous and vibrant, said Mr Lee. It also means they should provide Singaporeans with a holistic education, and build skill sets relevant to the economy. They should imbue in students a sense of loyalty and belonging to Singapore, so that they want to give back to the country, he added.
NTI, started in 1981 to train practice-oriented engineers, merged with the National Institute of Education in 1991 to form NTU. From three engineering schools in NTI days, NTU now has six engineering schools with more than 2,000 faculty members and staff, and 14,000 students.
Mr Lee said Singapore’s next phase of nation building will require engineering expertise. Engineers are needed to upgrade infrastructure, to overcome constraints such as lack of space and natural resources, and to realise the vision of a smart nation.
NTU will continue to play an important role in educating Singaporeans and giving them a good foundation to launch their careers, he said.
Among the Class of 1985 are past and present Members of Parliament Lee Bee Wah, Mr Inderjit Singh and Mr R Sinnakaruppan, he noted.
Others who have shone in their fields include Dr Chua Chee Kai, director of NTU’s Additive Manufacturing Centre, who is developing next-generation 3D printers. NTU has “done very well” in the latest Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, said Mr Lee. It jumped 26 places, from 39th to 13th, in this year’s rankings.
At the dinner, a 120-page book was launched on Singapore’s engineering accomplishments over the last 30 years, as told by the pioneer batch of NTI. The book Thirty Years Hundred Stories also touches on key challenges facing the engineering profession.
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