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Speech by Mr Heng Swee Keat at the Official Opening of Toh Kian Chui Annex of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine Novena Campus
It is my pleasure to be here today at the official opening of the Annex building of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine (LKCMedicine) Novena Campus, and to mark the naming of the Toh Kian Chui Annex.Diversity of Medical Education
LKCMedicine is Singapore’s second medical school for undergraduate training. It is a strategic collaboration between the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Imperial College London. Many of you have worked hard to make this a reality, from the time the establishment of the second undergraduate medical school was announced in 2010, all the way up to the matriculation of its first batch of 54 undergraduate medical students in Aug 2013. I would like to congratulate all the stakeholders of LKCMedicine - NTU, Imperial College, the Ministry of Health, and the National Healthcare Group - for this achievement, and to thank all donors for their contributions.
The launch of LKCMedicine was also a milestone in our medical education landscape. Besides training more doctors, LKCMedicine provides a model of medical education that differs from what is currently offered at our other medical schools, NUS’s Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. This diversity allows Singapore to draw on the strengths of various approaches to medical education, and benefit from the best of different pedagogies. This is especially important as Singapore’s healthcare demands evolve. Our healthcare system must remain responsive, and our healthcare professionals must be prepared to continually develop new capabilities to meet rising public expectations, and increasing demand for more specialised services.
LKCMedicine will offer new avenues for students to collaborate and innovate. I am happy to note that LKCMedicine’s curriculum will also incorporate key elements necessary to cater to our changing healthcare landscape, by drawing on Imperial College’s strength in medical training as well as NTU’s focus on interdisciplinary learning and research. For example, the School’s interdisciplinary approach is designed to expose students to a variety of subjects, giving them a broad-based education centred on medicine. LKCMedicine’s students will also have clinical learning opportunities and exposure to the full range of healthcare delivery environments in Singapore, ensuring that they will be able to deliver excellent care in a variety of clinical settings.
The use of Team-Based Learning and e-Learning at LKCMedicine will encourage self-directed learning and train students to be adept at tapping and harnessing the latest technological advances to provide better care for patients. This will also equip and motivate LKCMedicine’s students to continue learning and improving throughout their careers.
Besides equipping students with a firm foundation in basic medical sciences, students will be trained in essential soft skills like interpersonal communication, leadership, as well as shared decision-making through the wide-use of simulations. These essential skills will better prepare students for real clinical situations and cultivate a cadre of well-rounded and nurturing doctors. I had the pleasure of speaking to some of the students earlier and they were clearly very excited about the way classes are conducted here.Education and the community
While LKCMedicine is well placed to train competent and skilful doctors, technical competency and skills are not enough. A values-centred education is of particular importance, especially in medical education, as all doctors will need to have within them the compassion, empathy and integrity to deal with each and every patient. They will also be faced with many difficult situations where they have to exercise judgment.
A good role model is Mr Toh Kian Chui, who was one of our pioneering entrepreneurs. As Chairman of the Governing Board mentioned earlier, Mr Toh might have been a doctor himself and he would have used his talents to benefit other people, had he had the opportunity to pursue a formal medical education. Nevertheless, Mr Toh demonstrated diligence, resilience and determination in his long-standing and successful career as a businessman, and built up a prosperous road construction company, which built Changi Airport’s first runway as well as the facilities in Kusu Island. The Chinese saying “白手起家” aptly describes Mr Toh’s life story. Besides being a well-respected businessman, Mr Toh was also a compassionate man, who believed strongly in giving back to the community and helping the less fortunate. To this end, Mr Toh contributed generously and often anonymously to many charities in Singapore. Today, the Toh Kian Chui Foundation continues his legacy by actively supporting education initiatives in Singapore, and the government is pleased to be able to match this very generous spirit.
In the same way, we hope that LKCMedicine will be able to embody the same pioneering spirit demonstrated by Mr Toh and lead in providing an alternative model of undergraduate medical education in Singapore, spearheading innovation in educating and nurturing doctors with deep values. Medical students can also emulate Mr Toh’s spirit of diligence and compassion.
I would like to express my appreciation to the Toh Kian Chui Foundation for their generous donation to LKCMedicine. The LKCMedicine’s Annex will be named the Toh Kian Chui Annex in his honour, and I hope that this Annex will serve as a reminder of the achievements of one of our pioneering business leaders and his generosity that would serve as an inspiration for all medical students passing through this portal.Conclusion
In closing, I would like to extend my congratulations to both NTU and Imperial College on achieving this important milestone for LKCMedicine. Thank you.
MOE will be enhancing the Independent School Bursary (ISB) from 2014 to better support all Singaporean students who qualify for and would like to pursue an education in Independent Schools.
The enhancements to the ISB complement current efforts by Independent Schools to help students from lower-income families through school-based bursaries and financial assistance.
The enhancements to the ISB will include more subsidies for students from lower-income households. In addition, the ISB will be expanded to cover miscellaneous fees in addition to school fees. Please refer to Table 1 below for details.Table 1: Revised ISB
(Enhancements are highlighted.) Monthly Gross Household Income (GHI) Per Capita Income (PCI) Current subsidy
(school fees only) Revised
(school fees and miscellaneous fees) ≤ $2,500 ≤ $625 100% 100%1 $2,501 to $4,000 $626 to $1,000 75% 90% $4,001 to $5,000 $1,001 to $1,250 50% 70% $5,001 to $6,000 $1,251 to $1,500 33% 50% $6,001 to $7,200 $1,501 to $1,800 33% Footnote:
- Students who receive 100% fee subsidy will continue to receive free textbooks and school attire (for Secondary levels) and $750 bursary (for College levels). MOE will also continue to subsidise 75% of their national examination fees and 100% subsidy of the national examination fees for students who are also under the MSF’s Public Assistance Scheme. ↩
Our schools and Post-Secondary Education Institutions (PSEIs) work with industry partners to ensure that internships are meaningful for our student interns, and that companies are also clear about their responsibilities.
Prior to their internships, students are briefed on matters of professional conduct and safety during their internships. At our schools, students are given the contact numbers of school personnel such as teachers, the Vice-Principal and school administrative staff whom they may contact regarding any matters during their internships. At our PSEIs, every internship student is assigned a liaison officer whom they can call to report any form of mistreatment, including bullying and excessive internship hours. If issues cannot be resolved immediately, our schools and PSEIs may transfer the students to another company to continue their internships. The liaison officer also makes periodic visits to the company while students are on their internships to check on the students’ welfare and learning development.
At the end of each internship or attachment, students have to submit a report to our schools and PSEIs detailing their experiences. This provides additional feedback on how interns have been treated by respective companies. Based on these reports, our schools and PSEIs work with companies to improve the internship experiences for future students.
The school requires the parents of a child to provide supporting documents, including the birth certificate of the child and the identity cards of both parents, to register a child for a primary school during the Primary One (P1) Registration Exercise. These documents prove the parents’ relationship, and show that both parents have jointly decided to register the child in that school. Single parents can register with the one parent’s identity card, provided they can provide other relevant documents to confirm their marital situation. This measure reduces the risk of the other parent, in divorced or separation cases, disputing the parent’s right to register the child in a specific school. As part of the Ministry’s efforts to find new ways to improve our service delivery, the Primary One Internet System (P1-IS) was started in 2011, as an alternative channel for the convenience of parents who are registering their child in one of the schools where it is being tried out. The P1-IS similarly needs to verify that the adults submitting the registration online are the parents of the child, and this is done by both parents keying in their individual SingPass. However, if only one SingPass is keyed in, as in the case of a single parent, the system cannot verify the actual circumstances. This is why single parents would need to register at their chosen school, with the relevant supporting documents.
As part of overall efforts to uplift the quality of Special Education (SPED), MOE is committed to enhancing professional development opportunities for teachers in SPED schools.
SPED educators have access to and have been participating in courses organised by the Academy of Singapore Teachers (AST). The full listing of AST’s courses is made available to all SPED schools. An application process has been put in place to facilitate course registration.
Since 2012, AST has made available Teacher Work Attachment opportunities for SPED teachers to broaden their perspectives and to enable them to learn good practices from other organisations, which they can apply in the SPED context. Moving ahead, SPED teachers will be invited to attend professional learning programmes led by teachers. These include workshops and subject teachers’ professional meetings. This will strengthen the development of professional learning teams in SPED schools and help build a culture of professional learning and sharing in the SPED community.
The Academy of Principals, Singapore (APS) will also make course information available to SPED schools.
SIM University (UniSIM) offers a range of part-time degree programmes catered primarily to working professionals and other adult learners. It is one of two entities owned by the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), the other being SIM Global Education, which is a separate private education institution offering programmes leading to degrees awarded by overseas universities.
SIM Global Education, like most other private education institutions, is self-funded and does not receive government funding. For UniSIM, however, MOE has provided subsidies for its part-time undergraduate degree programmes since 2008. These subsidies are similar to those provided by MOE to the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for their part-time degree programmes. Singapore Citizen (SC) students can also utilise the funds in their Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA) accounts for the payment of fees at UniSIM.
To provide further assistance to those who may need additional aid for their part-time degree study at UniSIM, MOE has also extended the MOE Bursary Scheme to UniSIM this year. This scheme is open to part-time SC undergraduate students with monthly per capita household income of $1,700 and below. From July, part-time SC undergraduate students at UniSIM can also apply for the Tuition Fee Loan, which covers up to 90% of the subsidised fees payable. Students with monthly per capita household income of $2,400 and below will also be eligible for the means-tested Study Loan, which covers the remaining 10% of the subsidised fees not covered by the Tuition Fee Loan. Both loans are interest-free during the period of study.