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October 21, 2007

City State rated among the world’s best
Why do some countries succeed in the field of education and others do not?

Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew said on Friday an article in the latest issue of the Economist has rated Singapore as one of the top five countries that have succeeded in the field of education.

And it is based on a report prepared by McKinsey, a worldwide management consulting firm advising leading companies on issues of strategy, organisation, technology, and operations.

And he stressed that Singapore has crafted an education system that suits the country after studying several models worldwide, including those of the British, Americans and the Japanese.

Mr Lee shared this point with participants of a dialogue on Leadership in Asia organised by French post-graduate school, INSEAD.

It is a leadership forum attended not only by past and present students of INSEAD itself but also by captains of industry and CEOs from top international firms.

So if Singapore were a stereotypical city, would such talent or even INSEAD bother setting up in the city state?

John Burton, Singapore Bureau Chief, Financial Times, said: "Singapore does want to become a knowledge society and to do that you do need people who can think out of the box and to challenge the system. Do you think this is a serious issue for Singapore? And does it pose a threat or limit to Singapore's future growth? And what is the solution?"

MM Lee said: "This is a standard Western correspondent viewpoint. If we cannot think out of the box, you think we would be here sent by the Financial Times to throw darts at us from time to time - and we could change year by year the way we have?"

Mr Lee said the McKinsey report had studied the education system of many countries.

He said: "And the conclusion they came to is not whether your classes are big or small, whether you have tests or you don't have tests, but what is the quality of the teachers and how quickly you put things right when it goes wrong and how you get good quality teachers. "

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