Mr Yee Jenn Jong: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry with regard to EDB's Global Schoolhouse initiative (a) how far has the 2015 target of Singapore having 150,000 full-fee paying international students and 100,000international corporate executives on training here been met; (b) what is the distribution of these full-fee paying international students between pre-tertiary and tertiary institutions and between private and public institutions ; (c) whether the dwindling number of private schools has affected the figures; (d) how far has the target of increasing the education sector's contribution to GDP to 5% been met; and (e) how many jobs have been created by the initiative.
Written Reply by Mr Lim Hng Kiang, Minister for Trade and Industry:
The Global Schoolhouse initiative was launched in 2002 to develop Singapore into an education hub offering a diverse mix of quality education services to the world. Three key thrusts were identified under the Global Schoolhouse initiative – first, for the education sector to be an engine of economic growth; second, to build industry-relevant manpower capabilities for the economy; and third, to help attract, develop and retain talent for the economy.
The Global Schoolhouse initiative has helped to grow the scope and diversity of our education landscape. For instance, the Economic Development Board or EDB has attracted leading institutions such as French business school INSEAD and the Technical University of Munich or TUM to set up and grow their presence in Singapore. The Global Schoolhouse initiative also saw collaborations between foreign and local universities to offer joint academic programmes, such as the joint Executive MBA between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Nanyang Business School, as well as the Waseda-Nanyang double MBA. The presence of these Global Schoolhouse institutions in Singapore has helped to build Singapore’s brand name in education.
As at July 2012, there were approximately 84,000 student pass holders in Singapore. The majority of these students, or about 68%, are in tertiary institutions, with the remaining 32% in pre-tertiary institutions. The breakdown of enrolment in public and private institutions is fairly even, with about 48% in private education institutions1 and 52% in public institutions. In terms of the economic contributions of the sector, as at December 2011, the education sector contributed 3.2% to our GDP, and its share of total employment was 2.7%, equal to 86,000 jobs.
The private education sector has seen significant consolidation after the establishment of the new regulatory regime under the Private Education Act in 2009. However, while the number of private education institutions has fallen by half since 2009, international student enrolment in the sector has decreased only by about 11%2. The industry consolidation, coupled with more stringent regulatory standards, has generally benefitted students as well as the education sector as it has ensured that baseline standards are achieved across the industry.
Since 2009, the Global Schoolhouse initiative shifted its focus towards building industry-relevant manpower capabilities and helping to attract, develop and retain talent for our economy as global competition for talent has intensified. EDB has therefore encouraged the introduction of programmes which are relevant to our economy, such as TUM’s Master of Science in Transport and Logistics and its joint Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering with NTU. In addition, EDB has worked with companies to bring in leadership centres and training programmes for corporate executives. For example, Sony and Unilever have set up the Sony University and Unilever Four Acres Singapore respectively to conduct leadership training for their global and regional executives. Swiss bank UBS also has a wealth management campus in Singapore which provides training for its wealth managers here. Going forward, while the education sector remains an important part of our economy, the Global
Schoolhouse initiative will emphasise quality of education and relevance to the economy, and not student numbers or GDP share.
EDB will continue to build closer links between research, practice and teaching, and encourage corporations and academia to work together to build manpower capabilities. This will contribute to our overall objective of developing and retaining talent in Singapore.
1 This includes foreign system schools (pre-tertiary). 2 This excludes foreign system schools. Taking into account foreign system schools, the drop is 10%.