Speech by Mr S Iswaran, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at the opening of NPS International Singapore
Singapore Government Media Release. 14th May, 2008
Your Excellency Dr S. Jaishankar, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore, Dr K P Gopalkrishna, Chairman of NPS, Dr Bindu G Hari, Dean of NPS, Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to join you this evening at the Official Opening of the NPS International School in Singapore. The National Public School (NPS) is the flagship brand of a pioneering group of educational institutions headquartered in Bangalore. NPS has a strong track record of academic excellence accomplished over four decades, and we warmly welcome your presence here in Singapore.
NPS International Singapore commenced its academic activities in January this year. In less than six months, I understand that the school now has an enrolment of 212 students from Kindergarten to Grade 9. It is a tribute to the high standing NPS enjoys and the confidence that parents have in the quality education you provide. I just had a tour of the spacious campus which houses over 35 classrooms, and I am glad that another two blocks will soon be renovated under your Phase II expansion plans, and that the school has plans to extend its curriculum from Grades 1-12, as well as two early childhood Programmes.
Global Schoolhouse Vision
The decision by NPS to set up a school in Singapore is significant for two reasons. Firstly, it is a further affirmation of our Global Schoolhouse Vision which envisions Singapore as a world-class education hub offering a distinctive range of quality education services. Secondly, it underscores the close and growing bilateral and economic ties between India and Singapore.
It has often been said that people are the most precious resource of any organisation or nation. It is a mantra that has even greater relevance in the context of the modern knowledge-based economy. In Singapore, we have internalised this accent on knowledge and skills in our policies and Programmes. Education, from pre-primary to tertiary, has always been a priority of the Singapore government and the sector accounts for a significant portion of our public spending. Private Educational Institutions and Foreign System Schools are an important complement to our public education system for they add to the variety and quality of our eco-system.
Our objective is to develop Singapore into a Global Schoolhouse, comprising a rich diversity of quality education institutions and Programmes at all levels from pre-school to post-graduate study, and attracting an interesting mix of students from all over the world. Today, more than 86 000 foreign students are pursuing an education in Singapore.
It is heartening to note that an increasing number of reputable foreign educational institutions are choosing to set up campuses in Singapore, bringing with them the wealth of their experience, the diversity of their curriculum and the strength of their institution building processes. With a growing community of expatriates in Singapore, there is a healthy demand for Foreign System School (FSS) places. Many schools, including NPS, have made their own assessment and decided to locate in Singapore to meet this demand. We welcome their addition to the quality and diversity of our education landscape.
Economic Ties with India
Indeed, with the growing number of Indian companies in Singapore, the demand for schools like NPS will remain high. Last year, there was a 27 per cent increase in the number of new Indian companies incorporated compared to 2006. Indian companies now form the 2nd-largest foreign contingent in Singapore with more than 3,200 registered companies spanning diverse industries, from IT services and education to logistics and manufacturing. As we continue to attract a healthy pipeline of investments from India, as well as other countries, the number of talented individuals coming to Singapore with their families will grow, and the demand for established institutions for their children's education will grow in tandem.
The decision by NPS International to establish a presence in Singapore is therefore timely. Together with the other two Indian international schools which have set up in Singapore - DPS International and Global India International School - NPS will offer an important educational choice for the growing Indian expatriate community in Singapore.
To many Indians, the home is where a child's character is moulded and values are imbibed. The school is an essential complement to this endeavour as it catalyses the fertile imagination of the young mind. I am confident that NPS, with its deep roots in Indian heritage and culture, will fulfil this role admirably as it has since its inception. On this note, let me end by wishing NPS and its management, faculty and students all the very best for the development of the school and its contribution to education in Singapore. Thank you.