Senior leaders gather to discuss the changing face of education in Asia

  • Singapore hosts gathering of over 500 senior education leaders, experts and influencers from across the region
  • Focus on how disruptive technology will facilitate lifelong learning and the growth in personalised learning through analytics
  • Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Singapore Workforce

    Development Agency (WDA) key partners

  • Bett’s worldwide partner Microsoft also a key supporter of the event

Singapore, Tuesday 17 November 2015 – Over 500 senior education and global technology leaders were gathered today at Bett Asia Leadership Summit 2015, a leading education technology conference, taking place from 17th – 18th November at Marina Bay Sands, in Singapore. Key themes that are being discussed at the two-day summit included the future of education in Asia Pacific, the importance of 21st century skills in teaching and learning, the growth of personalised learning powered by analytics, the growing importance of student-centric education, digital learning for developing Asia and revolutionising education with mobile.

The opening keynote talk was given by Ng Cher Pong, Chief Executive of Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) who spoke about ‘Transforming Lifelong Learning through Technology’. He commented on the fact that many jobs are at stake as a result of advances in technology, noting the fact that “no jobs will be spared, not even medical doctors” and that “machines will increasingly take over mid-level jobs” as jobs become increasingly more automated. As a result of this change, he emphasised the ever growing importance of lifelong learning, particularly as the retirement age in Singapore and across Asia increases. He noted that “Technology can be used to increase accessibility to learning… it bridges barriers to geography, cost and time”.

Mr Ng touched on WDA’s new ‘iN.LEARN 2020’ initiative, which will be focused on providing support to adult educators, providing new grants, piloting new online learning solutions and gathering intelligence on how we can best harness technology, for example leveraging on virtual headsets via stimulus learning, where students can undertake lectures, tutorials and even examinations using virtual headsets. He commented “By 2020, we will have a vibrant community to learn, supported by the widespread use of technology, with breakthrough achieved in pedagogy and instructional design….learning will be widely accessible to learners and learning will happen at anytime and anywhere, there will be multiple modes of learning available too.”

Adrian Lim, Director of Education for the Sectoral Innovation Group at Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) also gave a keynote talk at the Summit, noting at the start of his talk that “we need to prepare our kids for the future”. He emphasised the importance of personalised learning powered by analytics, commenting that “assessment analytics will uncover a wealth of insights previously unknown” and noting that “we have to let machines do their job and look at insights”. He also highlighted the importance of precision intervention, which will help educators to know a single child in his or her entirety. It is important to use analytics to inform how the teacher or school takes the next step.

IDA is currently working closely with the Singapore government to help encourage more kids to learn coding in schools. He commented “It is important to teach kids coding, they need to know it’s about solving a problem. We need to cultivate courage, curiosity and confidence”. IDA wants to challenge the paradigm of technology for kindergarten kids and recently announced the launch of the playmaker project which will be rolled out across 160 pre-schools in Singapore in 2016. This new initiative will introduce ‘age appropriate’ technology, such as technology enabled toys to make learning more fun, as Adrian Lim said “We are preparing Singapore for the road ahead”.

Forward thinking education visionary Marc Prensky also spoke about a new ‘Plan B’ education. ‘Plan B’ focuses on encouraging children to apply their passion to improve the world, by implementing realworld projects in schools and introducing a new, broader curriculum of Effective Thinking, Effective Action, Effective Relationships and Effective Accomplishment. Key skills that Prenksy believe need to be become an integral part of school curriculums include creative thinking, entrepreneurship, financial thinking, relationship building skills, leadership skills, innovation, improvisation and strategy & tactics, among many others. Prensky has also noted that technology is becoming the new underlying foundation and support for all our human skills — just as reading was the main support in the past.

Prensky said “Education is not just an academic process anymore. We need a new way to think about education. ‘Plan A’ education is obsolete. We need to be empowering kids to use their new abilities to add value and do it while they are still students. This needs to be done through real world accomplishments…. we have to help kids become ‘solutionaries’. What we need is a ‘Plan B’, that is improving our world where kids are becoming good, effective world improving people, that is the goal”.

Anthony Salcito, Vice President of Worldwide Education from Microsoft, who will be giving a keynote talk at the Summit tomorrow said “Microsoft was founded on the principle that people can do remarkable things when technology is within reach and that applies to education. With the right technology and training, educators around the world are finding inspiring new ways to transform teaching and learning that’s empowering their students to achieve more.”

Ms Grace Hardy, Head of Content for Bett Asia Leadership Summit commented: “We are delighted to welcome senior education figures and thought leaders from across the globe for this year’s Bett Asia Leadership Summit. The Summit provides a valuable platform for senior leaders and influencers to share insights, discuss new trends and debate their vision for the future of education in Asia.”

For more information on Bett Asia Leadership Summit, please visit:


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