Seven top providers of education and training services in Singapore, including the three universities, formed an alliance on to jointly explore the Chinese market. The Singapore Talent Development Alliance will also make it easier to consider the option of bringing the courses to China.
The members of the alliance include the Civil Service College, the three universities such as the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Management University, as well as three other institutions providing vocational training and consultation services.
They will be offering different but complementary training programs in their respective fields of strength in both Singapore and China, ranging from public administration and governance to vocational training and training for private institutions.
International Enterprises (IE) Singapore, the trade promotion agency that is championing the effort, said the unified platform will allow the seven education and training services providers to be complementary and have better branding while marketing their programs in China.
Teo Eng Cheong, chief executive officer of International Enterprises Singapore, said he expected the Chinese economy to transit smoothly from being investment-driven to being consumption- based.
Official statistics show domestic consumption contributed 55 percent of the economic growth in China last year, up from 39.6 percent in 2007.
“Singapore companies should be prepared as China enters its next phase of growth,” he said. “Demand on China’s services sector will increase. Restrictions on sectors to foreign investors will increasingly be liberalized, and we believe education and training will be one of such sectors.”
An estimated 7,000 Chinese officials each year received training at Singapore universities and institutions like the Nanyang Technological University, which has been running its masters’ programs in public administration and economic management over the past 20 years, also known as the mayors’ classes.
Singapore educational institutions can target the potential pool of 10 million government officials. China has also set a target to train another 3.5 million technicians and one million senior technicians in the ten years by 2021.
Singapore is one of the countries that China look to for development experiences, but the Singapore experience is closer to that of China compared with other countries, as both economies went through rapid changes and frequent upgrading efforts over the past decades, said Zee Yoong Kang, chief executive officer of NTUC LearningHub, which has been partnering with Chinese institutions to offer technical and vocational training courses in Chinese cities including the southwestern city of Chengdu.
Many Chinese students nowadays enrol in public and private universities in Singapore.
The top universities are also launching campuses in China, with the NTU College in Tianjin expected to be inaugurated this year. It will be the first campus of the university in China.
The National University of Singapore, which will be offering courses in public policy and governance, sustainability planning and management, and corporate and financial governance, has launched the NUS-Suzhou Research Institute jointly with the Suzhou Industrial Park in 2010. The institute is also offering advanced courses in administration and management.
Annie Koh, vice president of the National University of Singapore, said it has been providing training for the managers of healthcare and financial organizations in China. It is important to put the training in Chinese context, she said.
Koh said the university considers China one of the important markets in its efforts to establish itself as an internationally influential organization.
She also said that the cooperation in education and training will be helpful for Singapore companies who are thinking of exploring the Chinese market.
“This is not just about education. We will bring a group of our own companies who are thinking global, and the examples of using what we use here, hopefully, opens the door for some of the other companies who are looking at internationalization,” she said.