Singapore, long considered a model for education and consistently scoring at the top of international tests, particularly in math and science, has announced that its Ministry of Education is adopting Google Apps for Education. According to their press release,
The Ministry of Education (MOE)...announced today that they are working together to make available the Google Apps (Education version) suite of online communications and collaboration tools to more than 30,000 teachers and staff in over 350 schools in Singapore by end 2009. This will make MOE the first Ministry...in Asia to provide Web 2.0 communication and collaboration tools to all teachers in the public school system.
The Ministry, looking to both "facilitate collaborations and sharing among our teachers and help enhance their teaching practices," as well as reduce costs and increase efficiency, is making Apps the first set of Web 2.0 tools used widely in its schools.
With the relatively high number of homes with computers and broadband access in Singapore, one has to wonder when communication and collaboration via Apps will be encouraged among students. The country's InfoComm Development Authority has identified two major goals that would certainly fit with this approach:
Empowering students by providing easy access to content, applications, fellow students and guidance from teachers
Enabling learning beyond the school so that the student is able to learn anytime, anywhere
Perhaps the most telling statement that came out of the Ministry, though, reflects their desire to be competitive in a world that is changing very quickly:
This is a key project for MOE as it will facilitate collaborations and sharing among our teachers and help enhance their teaching practices. It supports our efforts to achieve excellence in education so as to nurture a highly-skilled knowledge workforce that will enhance Singapore’s global competitiveness.