Singapore has continually shown remarkable progress in the area of education. One key reason is the government’s commitment to developing this critical component, with a number of government agencies working on improving the academic infrastructure of the nation. One such agency is SPRING Singapore, which has come up with some innovative plans to complement Singapore’s Smart Nation Vision (https://www.ida.gov.sg/Tech-Scene-News/Smart-Nation-Vision).
SPRING has launched a holistic approach to encourage the development of private education in Singapore, through the introduction of flexibility, re-designing course content and innovative approaches of delivering education. This is in hope that skills upgrading can be instilled in more people and be highly effective, and to also ensure resource optimisation by education providers. In line with this, At-Sunrice Global Chef Academy has, for eg., collaborated with the Institute of Adult Learning for 80% of the approved course to comprise online classes. This will allow people to pursue self-improvement at their own time and pace.
The importance of flexibility in education cannot be emphasised enough. Due to differences in the needs of each individual, one’s available time and their optimal time for learning may be vastly different. Some Singaporeans also work late into the evening or have unpredictable working hours. People with families may also need to tend to their children after work. Flexible timing for continued education will therefore help the working population to upgrade and be future ready in their free time.
International online learning providers are showing success with increasing intake for online courses. In addition to deepening and broadening one’s work skills, online courses also allow people to grow themselves in their topics of interest, and often at a lower cost than traditional physical course providers. This may be why even traditional higher education institutions are moving towards providing massive open online courses, with the likes of Harvard and Oxford jumping on the bandwagon.
It is heartening that education providers recognise the need to move rapidly and adjust themselves to meet the changing needs of people in our growing economic environment. However, it is equally critical that people develop a strong sense of motivation and discipline to commit to self-development using the increasingly available flexible arrangements. One downside, however, might be the easy distraction that technology and the Internet provide. However, as Gary Ryan Blair (founder of the 100 Day Challenge) says: “Self-discipline is an act of cultivation. It requires you to connect today’s actions to tomorrow’s results. There’s a season for sowing, a season for reaping. Self-discipline helps you know which is which.”
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