Last October SOWISO was on its first roadshow in South-East Asia. Apart from Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta, the focus of this trip was Singapore, for a variety of reasons. The most obvious oneis that Singapore is very developed and Western, meaning that there are less cultural/business hurdles to tackle. Also, from an educational perspective, Singapore is also one of the most interesting Asian countries to visit, maybe even in the world. They have a quite a reputation when it comes to education. The visit reinforced that image. Although the country only has 5 million inhabitants, it hosts a variety of great Universities, both in a qualitative and quantitative way. The Singaporean government clearly made a choice here, they promote and facilitate good education for the whole scholar/student population.
This might sound obvious, but I know quite some countries, including the Netherlands, who focus a bit more on ‘top talents’ and making sure the road is paved for the educational elite. This excellence is supposed to boost our economy in the long run. I personally don’t agree with this line of thought. Good education is important, I agree. However, there is no guarantee that a limited number of people, although highly skilled, will be able to attract the knowledge intensive jobs and companies needed for economic growth. People, especially the skilled ones, are very flexible and will move to other countries for a good job offer. The only way a country like the Netherlands can be a attractive place for high tech companies is to make sure the entire workforce is skilled. Focusing on excellence also doesn’t make sense from a statistical point of view. Just by chance, because of the huge populaces for example India and China house, more very talented, highly intelligent people are added to the workforce every year. This with or without an education system that focuses on excellence.
But back to Singapore. I visited some great places, amongst others The Nanyang Technological University, The National University of Singapore and the recently founded Singapore University of Technology and Design. It was also great to meet up with the Ministry of Education and the Infocomm Development Authority to talk about and share thoughts on the usage of e-learning.
Multiple educational institutions expressed serious interest in our platform. We are confident one of these will be the launching customer of our platform in the near future! And why they choose our platform is logicall for us, seeing that -in all modesty- a country which wants the best for its students will have to turn to our platform sooner or later! Like so many universities closer to home have already done.
Another trip to the region is already in the making, most likely focusing more on Indonesia. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or want to meet up!