NIE learning centre for foreign visitors in the works

NIE graduates reciting the teacher's pledge during a graduation ceremony.
NIE graduates reciting the teacher's pledge during a graduation ceremony.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore's teachers are set to become an attraction for overseas visitors.

The National Institute of Education (NIE) in June invited companies to submit bids to design a learning centre for visitors on its campus.

The idea is to document the history of teacher training and its role in education in Singapore.

According to tender documents, the centre is meant to be the "anchor attraction for overseas visitors to understand the development of teacher education in Singapore, particularly how the key foundations were laid to help us achieve where we are today".

The centre is scheduled to open by August next year .

Educators said that the new centre will cater to people who are interested in Singapore's teacher training methods, made famous by the Republic's performance in global mathematics and science rankings.

It is aimed at overseas visitors who want to study the teacher education model here, as well as trainee teachers.

The centre is likely to also feature staff research and student projects, and to pay tribute to education pioneers such as retired educators. When contacted, a spokesman for the NIE said that it is waiting for concepts and ideas from vendors, and that the planning of the learning centre is in a preliminary stage.

The NIE's predecessor, the Teachers' Training College, was set up in 1950 to conduct certificate courses in education for non- graduates. It later prepared graduate students for diplomas and postgraduate degrees in education.

The NIE was formed in 1991 as an institute of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) although it was located in Bukit Timah. In December 2000, it moved to the NTU's Jurong campus.

Over the years, Singapore's education and teacher training models have been studied by countries all over the world.

Educators said that the new centre will cater to people who are interested in Singapore's teacher training methods, made famous by the Republic's performance in global mathematics and science rankings.

Since the mid-2000s, the NIE has received more requests from countries to share its expertise in teacher training.

It has been training foreign school principals and teachers who come here for seminars and presentations and visit schools.

Adjunct professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy S. Gopinathan, former dean of the NIE's school of education, said: "Many of them want to know how a small island can do so well in teaching students to a level that they outshine those of other countries. NIE does a lot of high-quality education research that other people are beginning to notice."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2015, with the headline 'NIE learning centre for foreign visitors in the works'. Print Edition | Subscribe