NUS, together with five other public universities in Singapore, has introduced a new module titled “Singapore: Imagining the Next 50 Years”, a common course that will be available to students across the universities. At NUS, the course is offered as part of the General Education curriculum. Classes started in January 2017 with an inaugural intake of 60 students.
The course aims to equip university students with a good understanding of the range of socio-economic issues that Singapore faces, such as a rapidly ageing society, security threats and increasing global competition. During the course, students will develop new perspectives and strategies in response to these issues and consider the Singapore they would like to co-create for the future.
This is the first time the six universities have come together to offer a common course. It covers six topics ̶ Singapore in the World; Population; Economy; Security and Threats; Social Integration; as well as Aspirations and Identity ̶ each developed and contributed by one university. Classes are conducted as a Massive Open Online course (MOOC), complemented by face-to-face discussions in small groups.
Professor Ashraf Kassim, NUS Vice Provost (Special Duties) noted that the response from students has been highly encouraging and the pilot course was well subscribed. “The new initiative is a timely one as Singapore embarks on building the nation over the next 50 years and our students will play a critical role in shaping the future of Singapore. We believe that beyond knowledge, skills and technical abilities, our students must be empowered for the future,” he shared.
The course is an initiative by the six university Presidents, who form one of the working groups of the Educational Institutions Council under the Advisory Council on Community Relations in Defence (ACCORD).
NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said, “We are very heartened by the positive response to the new course. We hope it will further stimulate reflective thinking and discussion about these important topics and help our students deepen their appreciation as active citizens of Singapore, of the key issues, challenges and opportunities which may lie ahead.”
Syafiq bin Mohd Abdul Muhaimin Ong, Year 2 NUS Global Studies student, jumped on the opportunity to take the module when it was first introduced. He enjoyed participating in the SG100 Think Future Forum organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy last year and thought this module to be highly relevant. “This module covers a range of themes, and I thought it was one way for me to apply my skills and interest, and also to delve deeper and broader into this idea of thinking about the Singapore we want for the future,” he said.