Singaporean ambassador: Education vital to success

Atmosphere of intellectualism promotes innovation and transparency, she says

Singaporean Ambassador Chan Heng Chee

For Singapore, the current global recession is another reminder that innovation through education is necessary for continued economic growth, according to Chan Heng Chee, the Singaporean Ambassador to the United States.

“Historically, each global crisis caused us to move a step forward, making us think how to be competitive all the time,” said Ambassador Chan. “You have to run twice as fast just to stay on the same path, as other economies catch up the moment you relax,” she added, noting the rise of China and other regional competitors with an abundance of cheap labor, resources and capital.

Ambassador Chan’s remarks, made recently at the Brandeis International Business School, where she was hosted by the Asia-Pacific Center for Economics and Business, highlighted a number of governmental policies that have kept Singapore highly competitive, and in doing so have established it as one of the best places in the world to do business.

In her talk, Chan emphasized the need for improvements to the Singaporean educational system that promote the country’s unique role as a “brand name and Asian hub” that acts as a gateway to business enterprises in the rest of the region.  As a melting pot of Thai, Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Western cultures, Singapore understands the diverse interests of the region, making it easier to reach out to neighboring business interests, said Chan.

Yet with the recent emergence of competing hubs in the region, namely Shanghai and Hong Kong, the Singaporean Economic Strategies Commission recently considered new options and opportunities for continued growth. These included efficiency efforts in “land productivity” and the building of a “smart-energy economy.”

According to Ambassador Chan, continued focus on and improvement in the educational system is paramount to productivity, creating an atmosphere of intellectualism that promotes both innovation and transparency between business and government. In doing so, Singapore looks to cement its status as an “oasis to invest in that is clean, green and governed by the rule of law,” she said.

Singapore looks to strengthen its manufacturing industry, promote entrepreneurship, garner greater investment opportunities for research and development, and establish 1,000 new small and medium-sized enterprises in the next decade. “Yes, Singapore picks winners, but we must know when to let go of the bad industries that no longer benefit our country,” said Chan at the end of her remarks.

Categories: International Affairs

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