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I appreciated having access to the official transcript of the speech that Mr Ong Ye Kung, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills), gave at the Opening of the OECD-Singapore Conference on Higher Education Futures on 14 October 2015.

The speech ticked all the right rhetorical boxes. I took comfort from the words of one of our two new Ministers for Education. To move from comfort to confidence, I await action.

Some of the action might have to start right at his doorstep. This is a screenshot I took and underlined from the TODAY copy of the transcript.

I got the message of diversifying our educational system to meet to varied needs. Everything he mentioned in the latter paragraph showed thought leadership.

But does our minister have the support of people who think similarly and are able to put excellent rhetoric into play? If they are beginning presentations with similar templates, are they not reliant on cookie-cutters?

Some might point out that the same start does not mean the same path or the same end. They might also say that a common template shows shared values and unity of purpose.

However, the disruption and change described by the minister require different starts, culling of sacred cows, and striving for uncertain ends. If the situation could be likened to a biological one, then what we do not need is a small and shallow gene pool. Quite the opposite.

Are we diverse enough? Do we listen to voices in our deserts? Do we embrace our outliers?


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