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Jun 2017

So What If Singapore’s Education System Continues To Top Global Rankings?


Academic achievements are not the main determinant of success. Rathakrishnan Govind, CEO at London School of Business & Finance (LSBF), shares his insights on the local education system and LSBF’s outlook with Julailah Wahid. 



Singapore’s education system is well-known, and it continues to do very well in global rankings. However, Rathakrishnan doesn’t believe that it is the benchmark to equate Singaporeans becoming the innovators of new ideas, particularly in a business or social environment.

“This lack of impression by Singaporeans is directly caused by the education system and the general attitude towards education and what is seen as success in life.”

His view is that while the notion of meritocracy would have previously meant a stellar academic qualification – the reason parents want their children to be in top schools – meritocracy is not all about academic achievements. Moreover, a successful career cannot be cemented at the age of 18 (or after ‘A’ level results!).

Although he recognises that the system seems to be evolving, he believes that Singapore still has miles to play catch-up. “Singapore’s national policy needs rooted, long-term perspective, and education plays a pivotal role in shaping the social and cultural elements that is uniquely Singapore.”

In his point of view, more needs to be done on the part of the parents and the government. “In fact, the government first, followed by parents,” he said.

Instilling the right qualities in students

“Academic achievements are just one part of the equation.”

Rathakrishnan shared that qualifications won’t necessarily put one at the forefront of success – creativity, critical thinking, and the right mind-set are what separate the movers and shakers from the rest.      

According to him, this is “an attitude, a character, a behaviour moulded by the society with the partnership of the government and parents”. And this will certainly take a while to be rooted and grow in Singapore. He added that local education needs to focus on outcomes and instilling in individuals a civic mind-set and an attitude of giving back to the society.

“The move away from materialism and education linked to materialism should be eliminated,” he said.  His notion is that every individual aspires to be a graduate with the degree, but not all of them will be successful in their careers. The degree only provides the thinking and learning tools, but one needs aspiration and determination coupled with a great idea to succeed.

How LSBF bridges the gap

Soft skills are another overlooked asset. Hiring managers today often stress the importance of soft skills, yet these are the very skills that lack focus.

Earlier this year, LSBF in Singapore introduced AgileLearning to address the growing need for such skills. The platform, which is available to both individuals and organisations, offers hundreds of online courses ranging from emotional intelligence to problem-solving.

The school also offers various avenues, such as on-campus talks and workshops, for students to develop their soft skills. In addition, students are encouraged to gain real-world experience through industry attachment opportunities coordinated by the school.

To be a quality institution, you need very good teachers, excellent administrators, and great leadership at all fronts. “At LSBF, we have all of that,” he said.

With his recent appointment as CEO of LSBF Global, Rathakrishnan shared that LSBF is constantly evolving to provide the best education with the right mix of relevant programmes, learning resources, and employment opportunities. He elaborated that the investments in these would mean that LSBF graduates will be better prepared to meet the challenges in the workplace.

He added that PEIs also offer something that most public schools can’t – the chance for late bloomers to reorient themselves and take a second shot at pursuing their passion. He stressed that the fact is academic achievements are not the be-all and end-all of one’s existence. As a lifelong learning advocate, he believes the journey towards self-improvement shouldn’t be shrouded by the paper chase.

“There is only one constant, and that is the learning attitude of students. The hunger to achieve success and determination to make a positive impact on society must always propel people to keep learning and giving back. LSBF will continue to inspire our students towards this end.”

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