Singapore and Switzerland have lots of similarities in their respective education systems but it is the differences that came to the fore at the just concluded International Congress on Vocational and Professional Education and Training. The third edition of the annual event was hosted by Switzerland. It brought together ministers of education and human resources of Switzerland, Singapore and the United States. For many years, Singapore has managed to uphold the finest standards in education and that have been acknowledged in global rankings of university. However, it is time to review the system to incorporate practices that are relevant in the twenty-first century.
It is no secret that Singapore has an education system that is largely focused on academic excellence. Students are encouraged to study and develop a comprehensive understanding of the subject or discipline they choose to master. This has worked for Singapore for several decades as most students graduating in the country or pursuing post graduation get jobs within six months of completing their education. Singapore has excelled in many industries including education itself for the students who have extensive knowledge in their chosen disciplines. However, Singapore has fallen back on innovation. This is primarily owing to a lack of focus on vocational training, soft skills and work experience, all of which are expected in fresher graduates and postgraduates in this changing and increasingly dynamic world.
Switzerland has a dual education system wherein the focus is equally on academics and work. The country has systems in place that coalesce vocational training with academic studies or theoretical courses so the graduates are not only knowledgeable about their chosen subject or discipline but they actually develop practical skills, their learning is applicable in real scenarios and they have experience that can be put to good use immediately after the completion of their education. There are some issues with the dual system as well since academic excellence does take a backseat at times. This is one of the reasons why Switzerland has not been able to lead academic research. Most people pursuing doctoral programs in Switzerland are from around Europe, Asia and beyond.
Singapore needs to adopt the best aspects of the Swiss education system while retaining its own proven to be effective practices. There has to be a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Many students graduating in the city state have more knowledge than necessary for actual jobs but lack the people skills or the ability to adapt in a practical setting. They do things by the book and this can inhibit innovation. The world is in a state of chronic disruption. Those who are disrupting and keeping at it are growing and benefiting. Those who are unable to disrupt or evolve to find their place in the new scheme of things are going to miss out on opportunities and may even be in despair for their reducing relevance. Just as notions of success need to be redefined, meritocracy should also have a broader meaning now that comprises more than knowledge imparted through a book or in a classroom.
About the Author
Morris Edwards is a content writer at CompanyRegistrationinSingapore.com.sg, he writes different topics like NTU Outpaces NUS in World Rankings, Singapore tops Asia-Pacific region in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exams and all topics related to Singapore Business and Economy. If you are interested about Singapore Business formation and Company setup visit our website for more info.
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