For the third time since the organisation’s inception 7 years ago, the Singapore Association for Private Education (SAPE) held a day conference on Thursday to the theme of “Transforming Education for the Next Wave – Benchmarking for Success.” SAPE is a not-for-profit association formed to promote access to, and excellence in, private higher education and to ensure the private education industry in Singapore exhibits the highest level of professional conduct and undertakes best business practices. As an inclusive industry association for the private education industry (PEI), SAPE represents all private education providers in Singapore.
SAPE said that it witnessed an increase of more than 10% in participation indicating a strong desire and commitment from the private education sector to transform itself and band together for greater collaboration to prepare for the challenges ahead. “Apart from speakers from the education industry sharing best practices on different aspects of providing quality education, other industry speakers also shared insights from their respective fields in law, aviation, digital and data,” a statement from SAPE said.
Keynote speaker of the event, Brandon Lee, Director-General (Private Education) SkillsFuture Singapore, shared his perspective and insight on “purposeful education,” that educators need to be more specific about what is taught, the value offered and how the individual thinks differently after the learning experience. As employers today are looking beyond qualifications, he hopes that educators will also look at areas such as alumni networks, career guidance and support, developing industry partnerships and work attachments to better prepare individuals for employment.
Shifting the focus from academic programmes, there was also significance placed on adult and lifelong learning. The guest-of-honour at the event, Low Yen Ling, Singapore’s Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Education, highlighted the need for educators to customise and curate skills-based courses that are attractive to adult learners. These courses should be “bite-sized modules” and engaging. More importantly, these courses need to be relevant to the industry’s needs and ideally mapped against the Industry Transformation Maps (ITM), integrated roadmaps covering 23 industries under 6 clusters introduced by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in 2016 to “sustain growth and competitiveness of Singapore’s economy and industries.”
“Benchmarking is not just about identifying and implementing good practices. They should be best practices or at the very least practices that are better than what you currently employ. There is also a need to look beyond comparing academic results between the private and public institutions — and really delve into areas such as employability, industry-relevance, service experience and so on,” said Newly elected President of SAPE, Leon Choong, who is also the President of Kaplan Singapore.