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TC Creates Joint Master's Program With Education Institute in Singapore

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Singapore NIE Director, Professor Lee Sing Kong, with Thomas James, TC

Singapore NIE Director, Professor Lee Sing Kong, with Thomas James, TC's Provost and Dean, in Singapore at announcement of new joint master's degree program in Leadership and Education Change. (Photo courtesy of Singapore NIE)

Teachers College and the National Institute of Education (NIE) in Singapore have established a joint Masters of Arts in Leadership and Education Change degree program with a dual focus on instructional and curriculum leadership. NIE said the new program, to be delivered at the NIE in Singapore, will prepare “a new generation of educational leaders for Singapore, the Asia-Pacific region and the larger international community.”

The program was launched in early February in Singapore in coordination with the signing of an agreement in Washington, D.C. to enhance educational collaboration between Singapore and the United States. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Singapore’s Education Minister, Heng Swee Keat, on February 7, provides for cooperation of the two nations in the areas of teacher development and school leadership, and in education research and benchmarking. It builds on the first US-Singapore MOU on education signed in 2002, which focused primarily on the teaching and learning of mathematics and science.

Meanwhile, TC’s Provost and Dean, Thomas James, and A. Lin Goodwin, Vice Dean and Professor of Education, took part in a ceremony on February 6 in Singapore to launch the joint master’s program, which will begin taking applications this May for its first cohort of 30 students in January 2013. The program seeks applicants from Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region as well as from the US and other Western countries who wish to pursue a higher degree “in an Asian context,” the NIE said in a written statement. The master’s degrees will be jointly awarded by TC and the NIE, which is part of the Nanyang Technological University.

“Without doubt, this is a visionary program,” James said at a ceremony at the NIE campus in Singapore, where the program will be taught. “Teachers College and the National Institute of Education are working together to prepare leaders who can rise to the challenge of creating world-class teaching and learning across local contexts that are increasingly diverse, fast-changing, and interconnected in the global economy. Along the way, we are learning from one another and strengthening our capabilities to discover what is most effective in shaping curriculum and school organization.” The new master’s program will create a “cross-national learning community par excellence,” James added, “demonstrating how two great institutions can set even higher goals for themselves through friendship and collaboration.”

While Singapore has consistently outperformed the US on international achievement tests, “the measurement of student development outcomes in non-academic areas is at the cutting edge of educational research and benchmarking efforts,” the Singaporean Education Ministry said in a statement. “Closer collaboration in education research and benchmarking studies will help both countries deepen their understanding of best practices” and “support Singapore's increased emphasis in holistic education.”

Goodwin, who directs the new MA degree and was instrumental in developing it, said the Singapore degree program “brings together the best thinking in curriculum and teaching from TC and NIE, two high-caliber institutions of international standing.” The new program is very much in keeping with TC’s long history of being a seedbed for new ideas and transformation in teacher education, as in other fields in which it is active, she added.
"Whether in the US or Singapore, we all want our children to be well prepared for the future,” Swee said in Washington.” To provide our children with a good education, we need good teachers and good school leaders, working together to deliver a holistic and future-oriented curriculum. Learning from the experiences and achievements in other countries and deriving insights from research and benchmarking studies will also stimulate us to explore areas of improvement.”

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