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NIE Executive Programme for System-level Education Leaders (ExSEL)

  • ExSEL aims to create a professional learning community of system-level leaders to strengthen their individual and collective impact on education policy and practice around the world.

    Key topics are discussed in the programme through keynote speeches, fire-side chats, small group discussions and experiential learning in local schools. Each day of the programme revolves around a theme.

    Day 1  The Big Picture – Global Challenges
    Day 2  Singapore’s Education Journey
    Day 3  Turning Challenges into Opportunities
    Day 4  Preparing for the Future
    Day 5  Next Steps: What, So What, Now What

    Click here to view the full programme.

    Bring your current challenges in your job to this programme, and use this opportunity to address them. You will generate important questions to facilitate change and learn about the latest innovations in education.

  • ExSEL examines the nature of and the levers for positive and sustainable change in education systems. System-level education leaders can expect to:

    • Enhance adaptive skills to lead change at the system level,
    • Understand how reforms are designed and implemented in a way that is systemic and systematic,
    • Think systemically about capacity building for 21st century education, and
    • Share experiences with fellow leaders across different regions to generate multiple perspectives to adaptive challenges.
  • As a participant of the programme, you will examine educational policy and practice with eminent keynote speakers and system-level education leaders from around the world. You will also explore and develop leadership practices necessary for education reform that can meet the future needs of learners.

  • Keynote Speakers

    Prof-Graham  Professor Patricia Albjerg Graham is the Charles Warren Professor of the History of Education Emerita at Harvard University. She began her teaching career in Deep Creek, Virginia after graduating from Purdue University and later taught in Norfolk, Virginia and New York City. She received her PhD from Columbia University in 1964. She served as an assistant professor at Indiana University before returning to New York City where she taught history of education at Barnard College, Teachers College and Columbia University, and directed the undergraduate teacher training programme at Barnard. She also taught at Northern Michigan University. She moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1974 to become dean of the Radcliffe Institute and professor of history of education at Harvard. She was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as Director of the National Institute of Education in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where she served from 1977 to 1979. She was named dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 1981 and served till 1991 when she became president of the Spencer Foundation until 2000. She retired from Harvard in 2006. A professorship at Harvard is named for her.

    In the years since her retirement, Professor Graham has served as chair of the board of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, vice-chair of the board of Central European University in Budapest, a member of the board of the Smolny College of St. Petersburg State University in Russia, and two corporate boards in the United States. She is the author of five books, most recently, Schooling America, and many articles.
    Professor-Dennis-Shirley Professor Dennis Shirley is Professor of Education at the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, Massachusetts. He is Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Educational Change, an indispensable resource for leaders at the school, cluster, or national levels. Professor Shirley’s research interests are in international educational change, mindful teaching and learning among other areas, and he has led professional development workshops for school leaders in six continents. His work has been translated into many languages. Most recently, he has authored a second edition of The Mindful Teacher and a book entitled The New Imperatives of Educational Change: Achievement with Integrity. With co-author Andy Hargreaves and a team of Boston College doctoral students, he has recently published a report entitled Leading from the Middle: Spreading Learning, Well-being, and identity across Ontario.

    Professor Shirley has worked with educators around the world to help with clarifying their challenges, identifying promising strategies, and implementing and assessing change. He is skilled at breaking down ill-defined problem sets into goals that can be attained with persistence, creativity, and dignity. Professor Shirley is highly sought-after because of his ability to combine cutting-edge research findings with sensitivity and respect for the challenges facing educators. He holds a doctorate from Harvard University.


    Mrs-Chua-Yen-Ching Mrs Chua Yen Ching is the Deputy Director-General of Education (Professional Development) and Executive Director, Academy of Singapore Teachers, Ministry of Education.

    Mrs Chua has 30 years of experience as a teacher, school leader and policy maker. She was the Vice-Principal of Tanjong Katong Girls’ School from 1990-1995 and Principal of Zhonghua Secondary from 1995 to 1998. From 1998 to 2002, she reviewed and developed curriculum for the subjects of mathematics, science, technical and physical education and home economics, from the primary to the pre-university level as Deputy Director of the Sciences Branch.

    She then took on principalship at Shuqun Secondary School (2003 – 2006). In 2006, she was involved in the conceptualisation of Northlight School (NLS), a school that offers the enhanced vocational education programme to students who are more suited for an applied-based education and in June 2006, became NLS’s pioneer principal. Mrs Chua completed her Master of Education (Special Education) with the Nanyang Technological University in 2011. Mrs Chua was also Director of the Curriculum Planning and Development Division from 2011 to 2013.

    Mrs Chua was awarded the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) and Public Administration Medal (Silver) in 1999 and 2007 respectively in recognition of her service to education. In 2009, she received the Outstanding Science Alumni award from the Science Faculty of the National University of Singapore.
    Dr-Charles-Chew Dr Charles Chew is a Public Service Commission Teaching Scholar who joined the Singapore education service in 1986. He has a wide range of experience within the education sector in Singapore – he was a junior college teacher (Years 9 to 12), a head of department and vice-principal of a secondary school, a lecturer at the National Institute of Education (NIE) and Master Teacher (Physics) at the Academy of Singapore Teachers. He was appointed Principal Master Teacher (Physics) in 2012. Charles works alongside fellow Master Teachers in the pursuit of pedagogical excellence by engaging teachers in quality professional development to become reflective practitioners. He is an editorial advisor for NIE SingTeach, an e-magazine that seeks to bring together the best of classroom practice and current research in education. He was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) by the President of Singapore in 2012.
    Professor-Christine-Goh Professor Christine Goh is the Director of the National Institute of Education (NIE) of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. She is an NTU Professor of Education in Linguistics and Language Education. She was previously an elected member of the NTU Advisory Board and a former University Senator. Before being appointed NIE Director, Prof Goh was NIE’s Dean of Graduate Studies and Professional Learning. As the Dean and previously Associate Dean for Higher Degrees, Professor Goh was deeply involved in the review, conceptualisation, planning and implementation of NIE’s strategic initiatives for teacher continuing education through in-service, Masters and Doctoral programmes. She was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Bronze) by the President of Singapore in 2014. In her own field of applied linguistics, Professor Goh has published widely and is known internationally for her expertise as a researcher and teacher educator in English language education. Over the past 20 years, she has contributed actively to research, theory-building and professional discussions in the field and is best known for her work on oracy (speaking, listening and thinking) research and pedagogy, English language teacher education and the role of metacognition in second language learning.
    Dr-Dennis-Kwek Dr Dennis Kwek is Associate Dean (Strategic Engagement) in the Office of Education Research at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He has over 20 years of research experience in the United Kingdom and Singapore, including 13 years in educational research at the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, Singapore. He has significant research experience with the CORE Research Programme which is a large-scale baseline suite of studies into Singaporean classroom pedagogies, as well as classroom observations, pedagogical research, curriculum innovation, and whole school reform. His research interests include system studies in education, classroom pedagogy, sociology of education, teacher professional development, whole school reforms, systemic change and comparative education. Dr Kwek sits on the editorial board of the American Educational Research Journal, and is Associate Editor for the Asia Pacific Journal of Education and Pedagogies – An International Journal.
    Professor-Tan-Oon-Seng Professor Tan Oon Seng is Centre Director, Centre for Research in Child Development (CRCD) at the National Institute of Education, Singapore.

    Professor Tan was previously Director of the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore where he played a significant role in enhancing teacher education and revitalising NIE’s training programmes to raise the image and professionalism of teachers. His many contributions included helping to initiate the Teaching Scholars Programme and refining the Post-Graduate Diploma in Education programme for aspiring teachers; enhancing teaching practices and international practicum opportunities for NIE student-teachers; and spearheading technology-enhanced learning and design-thinking infrastructural improvements. As Director of NIE, he also brought about leadership development and renewal across both academia and administration at NIE. Professor Tan founded the NIE Visitor Centre that was launched by the then Minister of Education Ng Chee Meng and unveiled by President Subra Suresh. He advocated the idea of highly research-literate teachers in Singapore empowered and confident to improve pedagogical practices through evidence-based research. His leadership in NIE’s education research proposal helped secure a 25% increase in funding for educational research for the next five years (totalling S$127 million for FY2018-2022). Professor Tan together with Permanent Secretary Ms Chan Lai Fung and Deputy Secretary of Education Ms Lai Wei Lin were the first board directors of the National Institute of Early Childhood Development (NIEC). NIEC and CRCD are milestone developments in Singapore’s early childhood sector.

    Professor Tan was a winner of The Enterprise Challenge (TEC) Innovator Award from the Prime Minister’s Office of Singapore for co-pioneering a project on Innovation for the Knowledge-based Economy. In 2014, Professor Tan was conferred the Public Administration Medal (Silver) by the President of the Republic of Singapore for his dedication and achievement in the field of education.
    Prof-Paul-Teng Professor Paul Teng is Managing Director, NIE International Pte. Ltd., the educational consulting company of the National Institute of Education (NIE) and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Professor Teng is a scientist and science educator. At NIE, he previously held positions as Dean for Graduate Studies and Professional Learning, and as Head, Natural Sciences and Science Education Academic Group. He has been active in researching teacher professional development in Singapore and plays an advisory role on science education to Singapore’s Ministry of Education and the Singapore Science Centre. Prior to joining NIE in 2004, Professor Teng held leadership positions in international centres, US universities and the private sector. He is currently active in providing pro bono service through his positions as Adjunct Professor, Murdoch University, Australia; Adjunct Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in NTU and Senior Fellow, Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), Philippines.

    Professor Teng has won numerous awards for his work such as the Eriksson Prize (Royal Swedish Academy of Science), an Honorary Doctor of Science (from Murdoch University, Australia), and he is a Fellow of the American Phytopathological Society, and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). He has published/ co-published eight books and over 200 technical papers.

    Discussion Facilitators

    Dr-Trivina-Kang Dr Trivina Kang is Associate Dean (Professional and Leadership Development) at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. She oversees NIE’s suite of signature leadership programmes for school and middle leaders as well as professional development programmes for Singapore educators. A passionate educator and researcher, Dr Kang facilitates several milestone leadership programmes, leads funded projects on issues of educational praxis and serves as Associate Editor for Asia Pacific Journal of Education. She also actively consults for the Ministry of Education and international organisations.
    Christine Kong Mrs Christine Kong is Senior Teaching Fellow from the Policy and Leadership Studies Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is a retired school principal with 37 years of education service. Her tour in education included the following postings: National Junior College as teacher and head of department (Humanities), vice-principal of Bendemeer Secondary School, principal of CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent, superintendent of Cluster East 7 and principal of Catholic Junior College.
    Ap-Tan-SCL Associate Professor Tan Seng Chee is the Acting Co-Director of the Centre for Research & Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU), Nanyang Technological University, and the Associate Dean of Institutional Analytics and Research, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He earned his Ph.D. in Instructional Systems from Pennsylvania State University and joined Nanyang Technological University in 2000. Prior to his appointment to CRADLE, he took on different roles related to advancing the use of ICT in education, including the positions of Head of the Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group in the National Institute of Education, Singapore and assistant director in the Educational Technology Division in the Ministry of Education. He has taught courses on instructional design and learning sciences at graduate level and conducted professional courses for organizations such as the Ministry of Education. Associate Professor Tan’s research interests include computer-supported collaborative learning, knowledge creation in education, and teacher education. He has published 45 peer-reviewed journal papers, 24 academic book chapters and 87 conference papers. His most recent publications include the edited book “Knowledge Creation in Education” published by Springer.

    Programme Facilitators

    AP Chang Chew Hung Associate Professor Chang Chew Hung is an Associate Professor with the Humanities and Social Studies Education Academic Group, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. He was Associate Dean for Professional Development from 2011 to mid-2018, working on teacher professional development while also involved in teaching Physical Geography and Geography Education. These areas are aligned to his research interests which include urban climates, global climate change, climate change education, technologies in geography teaching and learning, geography curriculum and assessment, and teacher professional development in Geography. Associate Professor Chang is the President of the Southeast Asian Geography Association, in addition to being the Co-Chair of the International Geographical Union Commission on Geographical Education. He also previously served on the Executive Committee of the Geography Teachers' Association of Singapore and is an active member of the National Council for Geographic Education, Education Research Association Singapore and American Association of Geographers. He is the Co-Editor of the journal, International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education and is the Editor of Review in Geographic Education online (RIGEO) for the Asia and Oceania region. Associate Professor Chang also serves as a member of the editorial board of Humanities and Social Studies Education online and is a member of the scientific committee of J-Reading - Journal of Research and Didactics in Geography. His work in sustainability education has extended beyond his research in Climate Change Education to leading the Network of Education for Sustainability in Asia that is organised from the NTU Sustainable Earth Office.
    AP Ng Pak Tee Associate Professor Ng Pak Tee is an educator who teaches in the programmes for school leaders (Principal-ship and Head-of-Department-ship) at National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. Before joining the NIE, he was a mathematics teacher and a Ministry of Education (MOE) officer. Associate Professor Ng’s recent keynote speeches were delivered at events such as the Google Global Education Symposium and the International Baccalaureate Global Conference. His latest book is Learning from Singapore: The Power of Paradoxes, published by Routledge in 2017, one of the publisher’s bestseller that same year.
    • System-level leaders, including national, state, and district leaders and leaders of independent school networks
    • Leaders in national ministries of education
    • Leaders of educational foundations and non-profit organisations with national, regional, or international reach
    • Education policymakers
    • Senior academics working in teacher development and leadership development

    For a larger impact on your system, we encourage you to apply to the programme in teams.

    This programme is conducted in English.

  • Date : 30 July – 3 August 2018
    Venue : National Institute of Education

    Closing date for application is on 30 June 2018. Applicants will be notified of the results of their applications via e-mail.

    * Note: NIE reserves the right to change or cancel the course due to unforeseen circumstances.

  • SGD5,137 (inclusive of prevailing tax and $1 copyright fee)

    Participants will have to pay for their own expenses in terms of travel, accommodation and living expenses. As part of the programme, halal-certified lunch and tea-breaks will be provided.

  • Please note that participants will be charged upon confirmation of registration and no refund will be given for absentees. Payment should only be made after the course placement letter has been sent to participants to confirm the registration. More details on the payment method will be provided after the confirmation. Cancellations/withdrawals are not allowed.

    NIE will acknowledge receipt of the application form through email within one week. The course placement letter will be emailed to applicants who have been successfully placed in a course and upon course confirmation.

    Please note that NIE reserves the right to replace an instructor for a course if the instructor is unable to teach the course due to unforeseen circumstances. No refund of the course fee will be made to participants.

    Personal Data Protection Act Declaration:

    Please read the NTU Data Protection and Privacy Statement for Short Programmes/Courses found here.
    By submitting this form, you acknowledge that you have read the data protection and privacy statement, and you consent and agree to how NTU may collect, use and disclose your personal data.

    You agree to assume any and all risks which might be associated with the activities / events / overseas trips or attachments undertaken in connection with my enrolled programme of study conducted by the Nanyang Technological University ('NTU')/ National Institute of Education ('NIE') and agree that you will not hold NTU/NIE and its officers, or any of its full-time or part-time staff responsible or liable in any way for, and that no right of action arise from, any loss or damage(including, without limitation, personal injury or property loss) caused by or sustained as a result of my participation in the activities / events / overseas trip or attachments. To the extent permitted by law, you will indemnify NTU/NIE and keep NTU/NIE indemnified from and against all liabilities, claims, actions, damages, costs or expenses of any type of arising out of or in any way connected with the activities / events / overseas trips or attachments or breach of my undertakings herein.

  • 30 June 2018

    Applicants will be notified of the results of their applications via e-mail.

  • To apply, please indicate your interest by writing in to Ms Bhavani Silvarajoo at

    *All information will be kept confidential and used for internal administration only.

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  • NIE Executive Programme for System-level Education Leaders (ExSEL)

    To view the full version, please click here.

  • Ms Bhavani Silvarajoo at
    Tel: +65 6790 3787
    (for enquiries on course administration)