Day 1, AM

Mapping and Meeting Future Demand for Higher Education

As the global job market becomes more complex, there is increased demand for higher education and growing expectations of what it should offer. With the increased focus on skills-based competencies, coupled with demographic changes in many countries, we will re-visit the role of Higher Education Institutions in meeting the aspirations for individuals to upgrade themselves, while producing competent graduates with the necessary skills to meet the demands of the economy.


Time/Room: 9.45 am – 11.15 am / Leo
Moderator: Professor Tan Tai Yong, Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College, Singapore


Title
Higher Education in Singapore: The Road Ahead

Speaker
Ms Chan Lai Fung

Designation
Permanent Secretary (Education), Ministry of Education, Singapore

Synopsis
Higher education in Singapore has undergone major reviews in recent years. What were the key drivers of change? What will the changes mean for the individuals? How will they be supported to keep up with the demands of the economy? What role can employers and industry play in the new landscape? What will be the changes to the funding and provision of higher education opportunities? How will higher education institutions in Singapore evolve?
Title
Higher Education in the Broader Skills System

Speaker
Mr Stefan Kapferer

Designation
Deputy Secretary-General, OECD

Synopsis
Skilled and resilient individuals are central to responding to the challenges of today and tomorrow. The OECD has developed a Skills Strategy framework to help countries develop skilled and resilient individuals and responsive skills systems. Higher education has a major role to play in national skills strategies. Higher education is critical for developing high quality and relevant skills that drive economic growth and underpin social wellbeing and cohesiveness. Higher education makes a major contribution to activating skills supply by engaging with the employer community to better understand their needs. Higher education also plays an important role in making effective use of skills through their research and teaching functions. When higher education institutions see themselves as part of a broader network of actors who have a mutual interest in developing highly skilled and resilient individuals, they contribute to strengthening the entire skills system.
Title
The Future of Education in a World of Accelerating Information Technology

Speaker
Professor Tyler Cowen

Designation
Professor of Economics, George Mason University, USA

Synopsis
What are the major trends and problems in higher education today?  What kind of impact will on-line services offer?  Perhaps most importantly, how will changes in labour markets and social outcomes feed back to influence the content and structure of higher education opportunities?  Currently higher education is on the verge of quite significant changes, but too much of the sector is highly bureaucratized. How will this interact with the dynamism of the information technology world? With globalization?  Today is both a scary and an exciting time to be working in higher education.

Topic: Changing demographics as a driver of change: anticipating future needs in higher education
Time/Room: 11.45 am – 1.15 pm / Virgo 2 – 4


Title
Malaysia Higher Education Blueprint: Preparing for Future Needs

Speaker
YBhg Professor Dato’ Ir Dr Mohd Saleh Jaafar

Designation
Advisor on Higher Education Blueprint, Ministry of Education, Malaysia

Synopsis
Malaysian higher education system has grown over the past decade. The system has made significant gains in student enrolment, risen in global recognition on key dimensions such as research publications, patents, and institutional quality, as well as become a top destination for international students. Total student enrolment in higher education had risen to 1.2 million, and the growth was greater in the post-graduate programmes.  These achievements are a testament to the drive and innovation of the Malaysian academic community, the support of the private sector, as well as the deep investment the Government has made.  

Nonetheless, the Ministry of Higher Education recognises that the system will need to keep evolving to stay abreast with, if not ahead of, global trends, current and future challenges. For example, changes in student demographics and mindsets, stakeholders expectations, disruptive technologies are expected to dramatically reshape the business and social landscape from what it is today. Preparing Malaysian youth and working adults to thrive in this complex and ever-changing future will require an equally fundamental transformation of how the higher education system and higher learning institutions (HLIs) currently operate.  

In 2013, the Ministry thus began developing the Malaysia Education Blueprint 2015–2025 (Higher Education) or the MEB (HE), by first reviewing the National Higher Education Strategic Plan, 2007-Beyond 2020, that was in place. Over the course of two years, the Ministry drew on multiple sources of input, from Malaysian and international education experts, to leaders of Malaysian HLIs and members of the public. A total of more than 10,500 individuals were engaged and reports from various entities such as the UNESCO, OECD, World Bank, U21Global and Scopus were studied for the preparation of the blueprint.
Title
The Growing Need for Transparency in Higher Education

Speaker
Professor Frans van Vught (MODERATOR)

Designation
High Level Policy Advisor to the European Commission, Former Rector and President, University of Twente, the Netherlands

Synopsis
The two basic trends of demographic changes and globalisation have major impacts on the developments of higher education systems worldwide. These systems are becoming increasingly privately (co)-funded, less ‘public good oriented’ and further internationalised. As a result, higher education systems are becoming ‘hybrid quasi-markets’, in which some crucial market failures occur, in particular the failure of information asymmetry: the information gap between the suppliers and the clients of higher education is growing. The current quality assurance systems in higher education do not address this problem. They tend to ignore some of the most influential developments in higher education and therefore fail to address the interests of their various external stakeholders. As a result, there is a growing need for new transparency tools which are client-driven, independent, and multi-dimensional in their focus. Examples of these new transparency tools will be presented.
Title
Changing Students, Changing Workforce:  Innovating for Student Success

Speaker
Mr Roger Nozaki

Designation
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Under Secretary, Department of Education, USA

Synopsis
In the U.S., both the student population and the demands of the workforce continue to evolve.  The diversity of students continues to accelerate, not just in terms of race and ethnicity, but in terms of educational background, age, work experience, financial resources, and educational goals.  Graduates must be prepared for jobs whose requirements may change even before they complete their educational program, and for careers that may span many jobs in many work environments.  All graduates must be prepared for informed and effective participation in a diverse workforce and society.  What are the opportunities and challenges for traditional institutions and new educational providers in this context?  What are the implications for federal policy, and how has the federal government been working to address these changes?

Topic: Graduate capabilities in the workforce tomorrow – what employers need, and what higher education institutions can provide
Time/Room: 11.45 am – 1.15 pm / Gemini 1 – 2


Title
Squaring the Circle: Specialised Graduates for a VUCA World?

Speaker
Professor Tan Thiam Soon (MODERATOR)

Designation
President, Singapore Institute of Technology, Singapore

Synopsis
With advancing technologies, jobs that are routine and predictable will disappear and low-skilled or middle-skilled workers will find it increasingly difficult to find meaningful jobs with good career prospects.  With simple tasks made redundant, new entrants to the job market have to deal with ever more complex tasks, almost immediately.  Increasingly, employers are looking for more people with specialised skill set.  This is a conundrum many universities face today: the job market needs more specialists, yet skills learnt and developed become obsolete rapidly, with a need to unlearn and relearn to stay current.  Furthermore, the key challenge is the need to provide the right education for an increasing cohort of students with a wider spectrum of talents and strengths so that few are trapped with irrelevant skill set for the future. 

The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) was founded in 2009 to provide a degree pathway mainly for Polytechnic students in Singapore.  The Polytechnic route has become a unique route in the global education landscape where it is an alternative pathway to senior high school, and a route that places more emphasis on skills and hands-on learning. SIT becomes Singapore's new Autonomous University on 28 March 2014.  This presentation will discuss SIT's response to the challenge outlined by leveraging on the students' strength to train adaptable specialists who will return back for upskilling and reskilling in their professional life.  The presentation also discusses on how SIT is being organised to be nimble and responsive to the changing needs of industry.
Title
Transferable Skills: The Fundamental Challenge

Speaker
Professor Nick Lieven

Designation
Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of Bristol Chair, Global Higher Education Group, Worldwide University Network, United Kingdom

Synopsis
In an increasingly globally competitive market for talent, the requirements set out for graduates leaving university to enter the employment market are becoming progressively more prescriptive.   

Broadly, employers are now insisting on a skill base beyond academic studies, which relates to interpersonal attributes, explanation and implementation of ideas and self-management.  Against these criteria, employers now specify the competences associated with each of these attributes in order to provide fairness in recruitment.  

The evidence from the UK from the Chartered Institute of Professional Development is that graduates now often require generic skills to enter the market place.  The leading recruiters have most vacancies in the areas of IT, finance, human resources and general management, only one of which requires specific vocational skills exhibited or taught at undergraduate level.  

The UK in one respect is fortunate in that it surveys all of its final year students graduating from university with a 70% participation rate through the National Student Survey.  This annual survey collects data relating to the research quality of the institution entry standards, staff/student ratio, expenditure on services and facilities per student, percentage completion, percentage of students receiving a high class degree and, most importantly, graduate level employment six months after receiving their degree.  Correlation of these figures shows that the single most important factor in receiving graduate level employment is the entry tariff into university itself, the measures relating to the education exhibiting a lower correlation.   

Thus, the finding of the paper is that the strongest correlating factor to graduate employment is the university intake tariff.  The significance of this finding is that although the adjectival attributes espoused by employers assert softer skills, the underlying requirement of high level graduate employment is intellectual capacity, which is established at a far earlier stage of education.   Thus, there are implications both for primary and secondary education ensuring high level intake into the tertiary or higher education sector. 
Title
Tomorrows Work Tomorrows Learning

Speaker
Professor Ranga Krishnan

Designation
Former Dean at the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore (Duke-NUS), Singapore

Synopsis
This talk explores the world that we and our children are entering into. The skills that were once deemed to be enough to do well appear to be inadequate. The skills that are needed maybe be different both qualitatively and indeed in complexity. What are the skills that are needed? And how should we help policy makers, parents and students cope with the emerging reality. The talk will discuss many of these issues and builds a framework for learning. The talk outlines the key principles that will help improve learning for everyone: children, students, adults, and in fact anyone that has to learn any subject, anytime and anywhere.

Topic: Multiple education pathways in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world
Time/Room: 11.45 am – 1.15 pm / Aquarius 1 – 3


Title
Creating Opportunities through Multiple Pathways: the Canadian Experience

Speaker
Ms Christine Tausig Ford (MODERATOR)

Designation
Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer, Universities Canada, Canada

Synopsis
Today's students need to be prepared for a complex and ever-shifting world – one where knowledge is global and interconnected, and where people's economic, social and personal success will depend not on what they know, but on how well they can learn.

Universities are being called on to educate resilient global citizens, ready to make meaningful contributions throughout their careers and lives. Universities Canada's Vice-President Christine Tausig Ford will describe how post-secondary education in Canada is meeting that challenge, with increasing pathways, new forms of collaboration and innovative programs for non-traditional learners.
Title
Between the Global and Local: Education Pathways in the Contemporary World

Speaker
Professor Murat Orunkhanov

Designation
Graduate School of Education, Nazarbayev University, Republic of Kazakhstan

Synopsis
Transformations of the Soviet educational modes after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 appear to be inevitable and complex issues of processes of mapping and meeting demands for higher education. In post-Soviet countries, as well as in Kazakhstan, the 'borrowing policy' is tending to be the core of transformational changes. How do local practitioners and policy makers mediate local and global forces in the processes of reforming national system of education is the main question of the research presented to the conference. The study argues that indiscriminate international educational transfer is not likely to be the solution to a wide array of challenges. The data includes interviews with higher education leaders and educational practitioners and secondary data analysis. Findings are based on the cases of transformations of doctoral programs as well as of research and development in Kazakhstan which are explored.
Title
The University & Beyond: Why Liberal Education Matters

Speaker
Professor Tan Tai Yong

Designation
Executive Vice President (Academic Affairs), Yale-NUS College, Singapore

Synopsis
What must a young person learn to function effectively in the 21st century?  How do we prepare university graduates for a life of careers, instead of a career for life? These questions have been the main drivers behind two of National University of Singapore's (NUS) most significant educational initiatives in recent years: the creation of University Town and, in collaboration with Yale, the establishment of Yale-NUS College, the first liberal arts college in Singapore. These two major innovations underpin the university's commitment to equip students with the necessary intellectual, social and emotional skills and instincts to thrive in an increasing complex and uncertain world.   

This presentation focuses on the thinking behind the creation of University Town and Yale-NUS College, and explains how experiential programs and inter-disciplinary curriculum contribute to developing qualities of creativity, ingenuity, flexibility, innovation and cultural sensitivities, all critical factors for work and life in the 21st century.