Temasek Foundation Sponsors First Phase of Singapore-Vietnam Collaboration in Training of Vietnamese Educational Leaders

Temasek Foundation Sponsors First Phase of Singapore-Vietnam Collaboration in Training of Vietnamese Educational Leaders

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Temasek Foundation has joined hands with the National Institute of Education (NIE) and Vietnam's National Institute of Education Management (NIEM) to launch a programme to train Vietnamese school leaders and senior education officials under the Vietnam-Singapore Centre for Educational Excellence (VSCEE). The foundation will provide over S$2.1 million in funding to support the first phase of training. This was announced at the launch ceremony of the "Temasek Foundation-NIE Educational Leadership Programme for Vietnam" in Hanoi, Vietnam today. The ceremony was witnessed by Prof Dr Nguyen Thien Nhan, Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education and Training, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's Minister for Education and Minister for Finance and Mr Goh Geok Khim, Chairman of Temasek Foundation.

Please refer to Annexe A for the programme of the ceremony.

For a start, 480 Vietnamese school leaders will be trained this year under the collaboration between NIE and NIEM. They will learn about the latest developments in school leadership and gain first-hand experience of the Singapore school system. The programme comprises the following:

  • 150 core trainers from 64 provinces of Vietnam will undergo a two-week Educational Leadership Programme for Vietnam (ELPV) in Singapore. The first group of participants will commence training in Singapore on 24 March 2008. Please refer to Annexe B for course information on ELPV.
  • 330 provincial trainers will receive two weeks of training in NIEM, conducted jointly by NIE and NIEM, before proceeding to Singapore for a one-week visit and attachment to Singapore schools.

The first batch of 30 school leaders will commence their training in Singapore around end-March 2008. The programme is expected to benefit an additional 1,920 school leaders in Vietnam as the trainers pass on their knowledge in their respective provinces.

Aligned with Temasek Foundation's mandate in helping communities in Asia build capabilities and capacities, the programme will provide a platform for education practitioners to enhance their leadership capabilities and help bring about systemic improvements.

The launch ceremony was part of Mr Shanmugaratnam's visit to Vietnam on 11-12 March 2008. During the visit, Mr Shanmugaratnam also met with Mr Vu Van Ninh, Vietnam's Minister of Finance. Mr Shanmugaratnam was accompanied by senior officials from the Ministry of Education and NIE.


In October 2007, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between NIE and NIEM in the presence of Singapore's Education Minister, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education and Training, Prof (Dr) Nguyen Thien Nhan. The MOU aimed to set up a Centre for Educational Excellence in Hanoi, known provisionally as the VSCEE, for the purpose of enhancing and developing excellence in school leadership and educational administration in Vietnam. It is envisaged that the VSCEE will also serve as a centre of excellence for leaders in education in the region.


Temasek Foundation is a non-profit philanthropic organisation anchored in Singapore that seeks to contribute to sustainable growth and a bright future of hope and opportunities for people in Asia. The foundation works with partners to support programmes that develop people through healthcare, education and research, programmes that build bridges between peoples, programmes that build institutions of excellence through good governance and ethics, and programmes that rebuild lives and livelihoods affected by natural disasters.


NIEM was established in 1976 and is the leading institution in Vietnam providing academic, training and research on educational management. Its main mission is to train and re-train all educational managers and leaders covering pre-primary to tertiary levels of education. NIEM currently has university status and offers three main programmes, the Bachelor of Arts (BA), the Master of Arts (MA) and a professional development programme.

For more information, please visit NIEM's website at

Annexe A


Arrival of Guests

Welcome Address

Address by Dr Nguyen Thien Nhan, Deputy Prime Minister of Vietnam and Minister of Education and Training 

Address by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister of Education of Singapore

Address by Mr Goh Geok Khim, Chairman of Temasek Foundation

Signing of Memorandum of Agreement between National Institute of Education Management (NIEM), Vietnam and National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore

Ribbon-cutting and Unveiling of Vietnam-Singapore Centre for Educational Excellence (VSCEE) Plaque by Dr Nguyen Thien Nhan and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Group Photography

Planting of Commemorative Tree in NIEM by Dr Nguyen Thien Nhan and Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam

Light Reception

End of Launch

Annexe B

Course Information on Educational Leadership Programme for Vietnam


The educational landscape across the world is giving rise to new and escalating challenges. Nations need innovative people of extraordinary ability to lead schools in a dynamic and uncertain context.

The Educational Leadership Programme for Vietnam is Singapore's response to that need. It is a two-week customised executive programme for Vietnam's school principals and education ministry officers. It builds on the highly successful Leaders in Education Programme, which has been producing top quality professionals of extraordinary leadership ability for Singapore's schools over the past few years.

The programme is a unique experience. It will expose participants to the latest thinking in educational leadership and will give them the opportunity to spend time in schools to see first-hand how success is achieved. They will learn how to become champions of innovation, so that they can take their schools upwards to higher levels of performance.

Benefits to Participants

Participants from Vietnam will learn about the latest developments in school leadership. They will learn about leading schools in times of rapid and unpredictable change. They will gain first-hand experience of Singapore's schools.

The NIE Faculty

NIE academic staff offer an impressive blend of academic credentials and professional experience. Participants will work with both seasoned professors in educational leadership and practitioner-leaders from schools. NIE staff enjoy international recognition for their research and writing in educational leadership and the principals, who are part of the programme team, are amongst the finest leaders in Singapore education.

Course Outlines

Leading Change

'Leading Change' is a process that involves building a bridge between vision and action. Leaders often try to implement change without paying sufficient attention to strategic ways to lead change. In most situations, people do not readily accept change instead they often resist change. In this workshop, you will get to examine and test your won assumptions of leading change. You will also learn strategic ways to overcome resistance and to lead change as suggested in the literature and research on leading change. 'Leading Change' will be taught through a combination of a problem-based approach and the use of a computer simulation. The computer simulation tool will simulate organisational change. You will have the opportunity to try out real life strategies for changing policies and practices in a simulated school system complete with administration, teaching staff, and members of the community.

Building Schools and Sustaining Brands

Educational practitioners are increasingly recognising the importance and contributions of education 'marketisation' in our competitive educational environment for organisational effectiveness. Participants will gain insights into the concepts and processes necessary for sustaining competitive advantage. Marketing when handled positively leads to more productive relationships between the school's personnel and those it serves.

Participants will be introduced to the varied and exciting field of marketing. More importantly, it will provide insight into the concepts and processes necessary to gain competitive advantage in the educational marketplace. Amongst the many learning outcomes, the participants will understand and appreciate the importance of marketing and its role in the organisation's core process.

Nurturing a Culture of Innovation

There is a need to have such a culture if we want to encourage innovation in our schools. We need to examine what goes on in our schools: are they schools of "detention" or schools of "attraction"? Schools where people are excited about coming together to think of innovative ways to teach and learn, or schools where new ideas are frowned upon? As leaders, we need to ask teachers what we can do to remove obstacles, to free and to encourage theme to take risks. According to Peter Drucker, "leaders of the future will be people who know how  ask rather than tell."

What some principals in Singapore have done to nurture a culture of innovation in their schools will be a focus of discussion. School leaders need to know how to encourage their teachers and students alike to be innovative, to take risks and to dare to be different. They need to encourage innovative ways of teaching and learning and to know when to discourage unfocused activities that sap the energy of all involved. What support can they give to teachers who want to try new things? Together the management team and teachers can work on the "What", and not devote precious time on "How". When all are clear about the "What", the "How" is the easy aspect.

Finally, the issue of Mental Models will be discussed through the video "A better train of thought". What are some frames teachers hold about changes in the school? What are some frames leaders hold about teachers? What "helpful" frames do leaders need to cultivate in order to nurture a culture of innovation in their schools?

Leading Schools

The course aims to provide a sample exercise for school leaders in developing a vision for their organisations as part of school strategic planning, and to share a practitioner's experience in the development and implementation of a total alignment framework including a set of core values, strategic thrusts and key performance indicators as part of school strategic planning processes.

The second segment touches on departmental visions and ADR (approach, deployment and review) framework with the incorporation of innovation in the strategies employed.

Globalisation, Skills and Implications for Teaching and Learning

In practically every country around the world, developed and developing industrial era education systems dominate in the midst of efforts to reform education and training to better meet the challenges of a borderless world. Teacher-dominated, content heavy assessment driven schooling regimes are increasingly seen as irrelevant. The key 21th century competencies call for adaptability and flexibility, engagement with learning, cooperative and communication skills, a discipline-orientated curriculum without sacrificing the processes involved in learning a good balance between product and process is required.