Who's who: Speakers and moderator

Come listen to a robust debate on the degrees-versus-skills issue at The Straits Times Education Forum, presented by the Singapore Management University, on March 17.

Motion for the debate: You don’t need a degree to succeed in life

Speakers for the motion: Andreas Schleicher and Ng Cher Pong

Speakers against the motion: Professor Arnoud De Meyer and Associate Professor Goh Yihan


Andreas Schleicher
Director for Education and Skills
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Andreas Schleicher is Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As a key member of the OECD’s Senior Management team, he supports the Secretary-General’s strategy to produce analysis and policy advice that advances economic growth and social progress. In addition to policy and country reviews, he oversees the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the OECD Survey of Adult Skills (PIAAC), the OECD Skills Strategy, the OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS), and the development and analysis of benchmarks on the performance of education systems (INES).

Before joining the OECD, Mr. Schleicher was Director for Analysis at the International Association for Educational Achievement (IEA). He studied Physics in Germany and received a degree in Mathematics and Statistics in Australia. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the “Theodor Heuss” prize, awarded in the name of the first president of the Federal Republic of Germany for “exemplary democratic engagement”. He holds an honorary Professorship at the University of Heidelberg.

Professor Arnoud De Meyer
Singapore Management University

Professor De Meyer is the fourth President of Singapore Management University. Previously, he was Director of Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge where he was Professor of Management Studies and Fellow of Jesus College. He was associated for 23 years with INSEAD where he held various senior academic and administrative positions, including founding Dean of INSEAD’s Asia Campus in Singapore.

Professor De Meyer has a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering, MBA and PhD in Management from the University of Ghent in Belgium. He also pursued his studies as a visiting scholar at the Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). He serves on several boards including the Human Capital Leadership Institute, National Research Foundation, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce, Singapore Symphonia Company Limited and Temasek Management Services. He is an external director of Dassault Systèmes SA (France), Chair of the Strategic Advisory Committee of VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (Belgium) as well as Chair of the EQUIS Accreditation Board.

Ng Cher Pong
Chief Executive
SkillsFuture Singapore

Mr Ng Cher Pong is the Chief Executive of the newly-created SkillsFuture Singapore since 3 October 2016 and also concurrently holds the appointment as Deputy Secretary (SkillsFuture) in the Ministry of Education. He is responsible for driving the implementation of the national skills strategy known as SkillsFuture, in order to enhance the employability and competitiveness of Singapore’s workforce.

Mr Ng joined the Administrative Service of the Singapore Civil Service in 1996. He had served in various capacities across many Ministries and government agencies such as the Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Education and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency. He also serves on various Boards such as the Singapore Technologies Kinetics Ltd, SkillsFuture Singapore, Learning Gateway Ltd, Workforce Singapore, the Employment and Employability Institute.

Mr Ng graduated from the University of Cambridge, UK with a First Class Honours Degree in Electrical Engineering. He obtained his Master in Business Administration (Distinction) from INSEAD, France in 2003 and subsequently participated in the Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School in 2015.

Goh Yihan
Dean, School of Law
Singapore Management University

Associate Professor Goh Yihan is the Dean of the School of Law, Singapore Management University. His research focuses primarily on the law of contract and torts, with a secondary interest in the principles of statutory interpretation and the legal process. In recognition of his invaluable contributions to the development and advancement of Singapore law, he became the youngest recipient of the pentennial Singapore Academy of Law Singapore Law Merit Award in 2013. Apart from his academic activities, Yihan is also active in the Singapore legal profession.

Amongst his appointments, he is a board member of the Singapore Institute of Legal Education and the Singapore Judicial College. He has been appointed amicus curiae before the Singapore Court of Appeal and the Singapore High Court. He is also a Visiting Academic at Rajah & Tann Singapore LLP and a Professorial Fellow at the AGC Academy. He is periodically consulted by law firms in his areas of expertise, and has appeared as instructed counsel and an expert witness. Before entering academia, Yihan was an Assistant Registrar, the Senior Justices’ Law Clerk and a Justices’ Law Clerk between 2006 and 2008 at the Singapore Supreme Court.


Patrick Daniel 
Consultant, Singapore Press Holdings

Patrick has had a career spanning three decades with the Singapore Press Holdings. He joined in October 1986 from the Singapore Government’s Administrative Service where his last position was Director in the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
He was Deputy CEO of SPH from July 2016 to August 2017, responsible for the English/Malay/Tamil Media Group (EMTM), Integrated Marketing Division and several corporate services.

Patrick was Editor-in-Chief of the English & Malay Newspapers Division from January 2007 to June 2016, which later became the EMTM Group, incorporating both the print and digital operations, as well as business adjacencies. He was Managing Editor of the division from September 2002, and Editor of The Business Times from May 1992.

Now as a Consultant for SPH, Patrick chairs four SPH subsidiaries – SPH Magazines, ShareInvestor, SPH Data Services and SPH Pacom/SPH Golf. He continues to serve on the board of the Singapore University of Technology and Design. He is President of the Singapore Press Club.

Patrick graduated from University College, Oxford in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Engineering Sciences and Economics. He also has a Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.