In addition to the studies and the two study visits to Singapore, the recently concluded learning visit to India in February 2009 is also relevant. The visit enhanced participants’ understanding of the link between skills development and growth of a skills-intensive industry spawned by the revolution in information technology. Participants learnt how India leveraged the existing domestic talent pool, along with talent in the Indian Diaspora, to develop its Information Technology (IT)/Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry.
1 The study visit benefits from the financial support of the governments of Singapore and of Norway.
The third study visit to Singapore seeks to build on the previous two visits by shifting the focus from the supply of skills through the formal education and training system toward a more explicit consideration of the linkages to the demand for skills that arise from a country’s development strategy and the growth of industry and private enterprise. Its aim is to enable participants to gain a better understanding and appreciation of: (1) the holistic nature of successful skills- and knowledge-based development strategies, with examples drawn from Singapore and other Asian countries; and (2) the governance arrangements and strategic decision-making processes required for effective policy development, policy execution, policy coordination and policy re-evaluation for continued economic competitiveness. The study visit will target about 65 participants with a mix of profiles, as follows:
Country participants would comprise leadership-level policy makers with a mandate for economic management, complemented by line ministry officials and private sector representatives; and
World Bank counterparts would comprise Africa Region country directors, sector managers and task team leaders various Departments, including Human Development; Finance and Private Sector Development; and Public Sector Reform and Capacity.
The program will draw mainly on Singapore's development experience and the role played by human capital to support a strategy for knowledge- and skills-intensive growth. It will also draw on the experience of Asian countries to reveal how countries in the region have managed the short term demands for skilled labor, matching existing talent (such as they are) to market demand and taking a skills portfolio and value chain approach in thinking about skills gaps; and how they have also pursued in parallel a long-term strategy to strengthen the talent pool and pipeline for future needs. Some of the examples that will receive attention include the following:
Singapore’s world class transportation infrastructure system to foster export growth;
Singapore’s leadership in the manufacturing of oil rigs and drilling equipment;
Singapore’s world class integrated education system as a long-term strategy for climbing the technology ladder and for assuring resilient development;
Singapore’s frontier technologies (e.g., green buildings; water management; etc.);
The Philippines’ experience in developing its animation industry to global standards of excellence;
The experience of India's Andrah Pradesh state in leveraging information technology (IT) to build its world class capabilities and competitiveness in the IT/IT-enabled services industry; and
Malaysia’s global presence and competitiveness in the palm oil industry.
Participants will be given the opportunity to:
Reflect on the key lessons from the event and their implications for skills- and knowledge-based development strategies in their own country;
Use the lessons learnt to articulate or refine an appropriate country action plan for follow up after the study visit;
Network with other participants; and
Establish and develop contacts with Singapore counterparts for potential post-study visit collaboration in areas of mutual interest and benefit.
Skills and Capabilities for Economic Development: Singapore’s Experience - Mapping the economic strategy to key reforms in education and training over 40 years - Strengthening the talent pool for knowledge intensive growth: the role of maths education
Chair: Mr Wee Heng Tin, Former Director-General for Education, Ministry of Education Panel Speakers: Mr Ooi Inn Bok, Director (School of Design), Nanyang Polytechnic Asst. Prof. Yeap Ban Har, Mathematics & Mathematics Education, National Institute of Education
Links to Previous Education Study Visits to Singapore
The Africa Human Development Department has developed a series of study visits to Asia to create a platform for African policy makers to engage in dialogue on the topic of Skills, with their Asian counterparts. The study visits thus far have included the following: Singapore and Vietnam in 2006; Singapore in 2008; and India (Mumbai, Hyderabad and Banglore) in Feb 2009. The results from these visits can be found in the web addresses indicated below.