NIE Hosts 31st International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement

NIE Hosts 31st International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement

Thursday, 18 January 2018

The National Institute of Education (NIE) had the privilege of hosting the 31st International Congress for School Effectiveness and Improvement (ICSEI) from 8th to 12th January 2018. 


Opening Performance by Maha Bodhi School – Aaja Nachle (Come Dance with Me)

This year’s Congress, themed “Deepening School Change for Scaling: Principles, Pathways and Partnerships”, sought to generate discussions on the factors that drive educational innovation and how efforts to foster school improvement can be spread across multiple schools.

More than 700 local and international participants from over 40 countries attended the Congress, including from Australia, Canada, China, Philippines, South Korea, U.K, U.S and many more. 


Director NIE giving the welcome address


Minister Ng Chee Meng delivering his speech

Mr Ng Chee Meng, Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport graced the Opening Ceremony as the Guest of Honour and had the opportunity to interact with eminent thinkers and researchers in educational effectiveness and innovation.

ICSEI President Prof Andy Hargreaves also delivered a presidential speech at the Opening Ceremony, during which he presented the ICSEI Life Membership Award to immediate past president of ICSEI, Prof Michael Schratz.


Prof Andy Hargreaves giving his presidential speech


Prof Andy Hargreaves presenting the Life Membership Award to Prof Miachael Schratz

Prof Low Ee Ling opening the keynote symposium


Keynote Symposium Panelists


Keynote Panel Discussion Speakers and Moderator

Conference Debaters and Moderator

State of the Art Panel

Here are the highlights of this year’s Congress:

  • Four Keynote Presentations
  • Keynote Symposium – The Singapore Story
  • Keynote Panel Discussion – Improving and Leading Schools for the Future Economy and Society 
  • Conference Debate – Educational Innovations must be Disruptive to be Effective
  • State of the Art – School Improvement for Equity and Excellence: Rhetoric, Possibility or Reality? 

Dr Alicia Grunow speaking at her keynote presentation


Associate Professor Carol Campbell speaking at her keynote presentation

Ms Lucy Crehan speaking at her keynote presentation

Prof Kiyomi Akita speaking at her keynote presentation

The 4 keynoters and their presentation titles are as follows:

  • Dr Alicia Grunow (The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching) – Heart and Rigor: Learning to Improve in America’s Schools
  • Associate Professor Carol Campbell (University of Toronto) – Influential Educators: Leading Educational Improvement
  • Ms Lucy Crehan (Education Consultant and Author) – Seeing is Believing: The Role of Teacher Knowledge and Beliefs in the Scaling of Effective Teaching Strategies
  • Professor Kiyomi Akita (The University of Tokyo) – Improving Quality in Education through Lesson Studies

Alongside the main plenary sessions, there were over 300 scheduled presentations that took place during parallel sessions held between Days 2 and 4 of the Congress. These presentations took the form of general papers, symposia, workshops, roundtables and Innovate sessions.

The Congress Programme also included two social events, namely the Welcome Reception and Cultural Night.

The Welcome Reception featured a book launch hosted by Mr Anthony Mackay, CEO at the Centre for Strategic Education, Melbourne and Keynote Panel Discussion Moderator. The following books were showcased at the book launch:

  • Thrive: Schools Reinvented for the Real Challenges We Face (authored by Valerie Hannon)
  • Leadership for Change: The Singapore Schools’ Experience (edited by David Hung and Koh Thiam Seng)
  • Lee Kuan Yew’s Educational Legacy: The Challenges of Success (edited by Tan Oon Seng, Low Ee Ling, David Hung)
  • Learning from Singapore: The Power of Paradoxes (authored by Ng Pak Tee)
  • Catalyst Cards Resource (authored by Louise Stoll) 


Book launches at the Welcome Reception


Participants engaged in Batik Painting during Cultural Night

Participants standing in front of the Nonya Kueh counter

Ethnic dance performance at Cultural Night


Conference participants at the social event - Cultural Night

At Cultural Night, participants were treated to ethnic dance performances and had the opportunity to engage in activities such as henna and batik painting. They also had the opportunity to sample a variety of local cuisine. 

Closing Ceremony: Handover of flag to ICSEI 2019 Host, University of Stavanger, Norway

The closing ceremony of ICSEI 2018 saw representatives from NIE, namely Prof David Hung, Assoc Prof Kenneth Poon and Dr Dennis Kwek handing over the ICSEI flag to personnel from University of Stavanger, Norway, the host of ICSEI 2019.

The Congress concluded with a half-day School Visits programme, where participants had the opportunity to visit various local educational institutions and learn about how the Ministry’s vision of ‘Thinking Schools, Learning Nations’ is enacted in individual institutions.

“The students at a school I visited actively participated in PE lessons and displayed good teamwork skills,” shares a participant from Australia.

A Norwegian participant adds, “I am impressed with Singapore’s holistic approach to education, particularly with the systematic way social and emotional learning is incorporated into the curriculum.”

Check out the conference highlights in the video below!