Utilities Seek Fresh Talent for Smart Grids

Michael Houghton for The New York Times
The high-voltage laboratory at Ohio State University is one of just a few in the country.
GRANVILLE, Ohio — Speaking to a classroom of seventh and eighth graders at the middle school here, Lisa Magnuson shared a popular dictum from the power industry: if Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, could see how his technology had evolved over the last century, how would he react?
A blog about energy and the environment.
Michael Houghton for The New York Times
Students learning about energy consumption from Debby Yerkes of the Ohio Energy Project.
“He’d be amazed,” offered one student, mentioning that his cellphone can play music, display movies and send text messages.
And if Thomas Edison, the pioneer of power distribution, were to return?
“He’d probably go, ‘Wow, everything is still the same,’ ” said Ms. Magnuson, the director of marketing for Silver Spring Networks, which produces hardware and software to make the electric grid as smart as the phone network.
To pull off the modernization, Ms. Magnuson and others are trying to persuade this generation of fidgety teenagers to put their creativity to work in the power industry once they graduate. “We want to help make utilities cool again,” she said.
The power companies desperately need a jolt of youthful energy. The industry and the creaky distribution system it manages are on the cusp of a major technological overhaul just as about half of electric utility employees are expected to retire in the next 5 to 10 years.
At the same time, the federal government and utilities are spending billions of dollars to upgrade the electric grid with intelligent digital technology so they can vary a customer’s price for power based on the time of day and more seamlessly integrate electricity from a variety of sources like wind and solar.
The upgrade would give the power generation and distribution network the sort of nervous system it has lacked since Edison first conceived it in the late 19th century. By some estimates, the smart grid could help reduce electricity use by more than 4 percent a year by 2030 and save $20 billion a year for utilities and their customers.
To push along the transformation, educators and government officials, often in partnership with utilities, are drawing up smart grid curriculums for elementary classrooms, vocational schools and university laboratories. In addition to educating youngsters about electricity, the goal is to lure some of the technologically inclined away from Silicon Valley and toward a profession that, in the popular mind, long ago became the province of Homer Simpson drones.
Last spring, the energy secretary, Steven Chu, awarded $100 million in stimulus money to 54 training programs in the smart grid aimed at high school and college students around the country. “Building and operating smart grid infrastructure will put tens of thousands of Americans to work,” Mr. Chu said at the time. “Today’s investment will help ensure that we have the work force in place to meet this need.”
The Energy Department estimated that some 30,000 workers would be trained because of the grants, which range from $87,000 for the Preparing Occupations for Lineman Education, or Pole, program at the Austin Community College District to $5 million to Florida Power & Light to develop its Gateway to Power Program, which aims to bring industry and academia together to develop power system and smart grid education.
And just as Reddy Kilowatt, a cartoon character created by a utility company, was used to promote the benefits of nuclear power to previous generations of students, the electric industry aims to use the new curriculums to promote its vision of the future.
“How will the smart grid change your life or your future career?” students are asked in one of the six lessons that Silver Spring Networks, based in California, helped to develop, and which were part of a pilot program this month in Ohio and in Oakland, Calif. “Write a journal entry in which you imagine how life or work will change after the smart grid is ready to go.”
Part of the coursework is aimed at preparing young consumers for the arrival of dynamic pricing — the ability to vary the price of electricity throughout the day, based on overall demand, rather than charge one rate all day, as is the norm now. Dynamic pricing is an oft-promoted benefit of the smart grid, although it has proved contentious in some of the early markets where it has been proposed, particularly among ratepayers at home during the day, when the electricity cost is higher.
Here in central Ohio, American Electric Power, the big regional utility, was awarded $75 million in stimulus money last year for a $150 million smart-grid pilot project now in development.

Shanghai Schools’ Approach Pushes Students to Top of Tests

Ryan Pyle for The New York Times
Discipline issues are rare at the middle school linked to the Jing’An Teachers’ College in Shanghai. The city is thought to have China’s best schools.
SHANGHAI — In Li Zhen’s ninth-grade mathematics class here last week, the morning drill was geometry. Students at the middle school affiliated with Jing’An Teachers’ College were asked to explain the relative size of geometric shapes by using Euclid’s theorem of parallelograms.
Ryan Pyle for The New York Times
A teacher instructed students in class at the middle school associated with Jing’An Teachers’ College in central Shanghai.
“Who in this class can tell me how to demonstrate two lines are parallel without using a proportional segment?” Ms. Li called out to about 40 students seated in a cramped classroom.
One by one, a series of students at this medium-size public school raised their hands. When Ms. Li called on them, they each stood politely by their desks and usually answered correctly. They returned to their seats only when she told them to sit down.
Educators say this disciplined approach helps explain the announcement this month that5,100 15-year-olds in Shanghai outperformed students from about 65 countries on an international standardized test that measured math, science and reading competency.
American students came in between 15th and 31st place in the three categories. France and Britain also fared poorly.
Experts said comparing scores from countries and cities of different sizes is complicated. They also said that the Shanghai scores were not representative of China, since this fast-growing city of 20 million is relatively affluent. Still, they were impressed by the high scores from students in Shanghai.
The results were seen as another sign of China’s growing competitiveness. The United States rankings are a “wake-up call,” said Arne Duncan, the secretary of education.
Although it was the first time China had taken part in the test, which was administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris, the results bolstered this country’s reputation for producing students with strong math and science skills.
Many educators were also surprised by the city’s strong reading scores, which measured students’ proficiency in their native Chinese.
The Shanghai students performed well, experts say, for the same reason students from other parts of Asia — including South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong — do: Their education systems are steeped in discipline, rote learning and obsessive test preparation.
Public school students in Shanghai often remain at school until 4 p.m., watch very little television and are restricted by Chinese law from working before the age of 16.
“Very rarely do children in other countries receive academic training as intensive as our children do,” said Sun Baohong, an authority on education at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. “So if the test is on math and science, there’s no doubt Chinese students will win the competition.”
But many educators say China’s strength in education is also a weakness. The nation’s education system is too test-oriented, schools here stifle creativity and parental pressures often deprive children of the joys of childhood, they say.
“These are two sides of the same coin: Chinese schools are very good at preparing their students for standardized tests,” Jiang Xueqin, a deputy principal at Peking University High School in Beijing, wrote in an opinion article published in The Wall Street Journal shortly after the test results were announced. “For that reason, they fail to prepare them for higher education and the knowledge economy.”
In an interview, Mr. Jiang said Chinese schools emphasized testing too much, and produced students who lacked curiosity and the ability to think critically or independently.
“It creates very narrow-minded students,” he said. “But what China needs now is entrepreneurs and innovators.”
This is a common complaint in China. Educators say an emphasis on standardized tests is partly to blame for the shortage of innovative start-ups in China. And executives at global companies operating here say they have difficulty finding middle managers who can think creatively and solve problems.
In many ways, the system is a reflection of China’s Confucianist past. Children are expected to honor and respect their parents and teachers.
“Discipline is rarely a problem,” said Ding Yi, vice principal at the middle school affiliated with Jing’An Teachers’ College. “The biggest challenge is a student who chronically fails to do his homework.”
While the quality of schools varies greatly in China (rural schools often lack sufficient money, and dropout rates can be high), schools in major cities typically produce students with strong math and science skills.
Shanghai is believed to have the nation’s best school system, and many students here gain admission to America’s most selective colleges and universities.

Judge Backs Appointment of New Chief for Schools

The appointment of Cathleen P. Black as the next New York City schools chancellor was upheld on Wednesday by a judge in Albany, clearing the way for her to start as scheduled next week.
Justice Gerald W. Connolly of State Supreme Court in Albany dismissed three lawsuits that sought to overturn her appointment, finding in a 25-page ruling that the state education commissioner was within his authority to excuse Ms. Black from the academic credentials normally required for the post.
Justice Connolly wrote that the decision by David M. Steiner, the education commissioner, “fully weighs the qualifications of Ms. Black, including the alleged deficiencies in her background and experience, in light of the unique nature of the district, and reaches a conclusion based on a careful consideration of all the relevant factors.”
In oral arguments last week, lawyers representing some New York City public school parents said that Mr. Steiner was wrong to excuse her lack of a master’s degree and that a compromise to place a strong academic deputy at her side could not legally compensate for her lack of experience in teaching and academics.
The state and city defended the appointment, citing her successful 40-year career in publishing, during which she managed large organizations and budgets, most recently as the chairwoman of Hearst Magazines.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg came under wide criticism for the secretive search that led to her appointment, and for his decision to choose a chancellor without education credentials.
“Cathie has been working hard and is ready to hit the ground running on Monday, her first official day on the job,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement.
The plaintiffs said they were disappointed in the result, and Eric J. Snyder, who brought one of the suits on behalf of his two school-age children, said he planned to appeal.

Illustration by Tamara Shopsin
Your gadgets and computers, your software and sites — they are not working as well as they should. You need to make some tweaks.
But the tech industry has given you the impression that making adjustments is difficult and time-consuming. It is not.
And so below are 10 things to do to improve your technological life. They are easy and (mostly) free. Altogether, they should take about two hours; one involves calling your cable or phone company, so that figure is elastic. If you do them, those two hours will pay off handsomely in both increased free time and diminished anxiety and frustration. You can do it.
GET A SMARTPHONE Why: Because having immediate access to your e-mail, photos, calendars and address books, not to mention vast swaths of the Internet, makes life a little easier.
How: This does not have to be complicated. Upgrade your phone with your existing carrier; later, when you are an advanced beginner, you can start weighing the pluses and minuses of your carrier versus another. Using AT&T? Get a refurbished iPhone 3GS for $29. Verizon? Depending on what’s announced next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, get its version of the iPhone, or a refurbished Droid Incredible for $100. Sprint? Either the LG Optimus S or the Samsung Transform are decent Android phones that cost $50. T-Mobile users can get the free LG Optimus T.
STOP USING INTERNET EXPLORER Why: Because, while the latest version has some real improvements, Internet Explorer is large, bloated with features and an example of old-style Microsoft excess.
How: Switch to either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Both are first-rate, speedy browsers, and both are free. It remains a tight race between the two, but Chrome has had the lead lately in features and performance. Both browsers include useful things like bookmark syncing. That means that your bookmarks folder will be the same on every computer using Chrome or Firefox, and will update if you change anything.
UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS TO THE CLOUD Why: Because you’ll be really sorry if an errant cup of coffee makes its way onto your PC, wiping away years of photographic memories. Creating copies of your digital photos on an online service is a painless way to ensure they’ll be around no matter what happens to your PC. It is also an easy way to share the photos with friends and family.
How: There are many good, free choices. To keep things simple, use Picasa, Google’s service. After your initial upload — which may take a while, so set it up before you go to sleep — you will have a full backup of your photo library. And by inviting people to view it, privately, with passwords, you will not have to e-mail photos anymore. Anytime you have new pictures, upload them to Picasa, send a message to your subscribers, and they can view your gallery at their leisure.
GET MUSIC OFF YOUR COMPUTER Why: Because music bought digitally wants to be freed, not imprisoned in your portable player or laptop. It wants to be sent around the home, filling rooms like good old-fashioned hi-fi.
How: Using iTunes for your digital music? Buy Apple’s Airport Express for $99 and connect it to your stereo. When you play music on your computer, you can stream it to the Express and, therefore, your stereo’s speakers. Have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? Download Apple’s free Remote app and you will be able to control your music from anywhere in the house.
BACK UP YOUR DATA Why: Because photos are not the only important things on your computer. With online backup services, you do not have to buy any equipment; you just install software, which sits on secure servers and runs in the background, regularly updating a mirror image of all your files while you spend time on more important things, like confirming that Ben Gazzara really was the bad guy in “Road House” (he was).
How: Go to Pay $80 a year. Install the software. Sleep easy.
SET UP A FREE FILE-SHARING SERVICE Why: Because while e-mailing yourself files is a perfectly decent workaround, there are easier, more elegant ways to move files around — and they do not cost anything, either.
How: Go to and set up a free account. You will then get an icon that sits on your desktop. Drag and drop files onto that icon, and they are immediately copied to the cloud. The free account gives you up to two gigabytes of disk space; 50- and 100-gigabyte are also available, but they cost $10 or $20 a month.
Set up your account on all your other computers, and they all have the access to the same files. You can set up shared, private and public folders, and apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android mean you can gain access to shared files from anywhere.
GET FREE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE Why: Because attacks on unwitting users are more widespread and tactics are growing more advanced.
How: Windows users should download Avast Free Antivirus. Mac users can downloadiAntiVirus Free Edition. Both applications will provide a basic level of security against a variety of so-called malware. And they cost zero.
GET A BETTER DEAL FROM YOUR CABLE, PHONE AND INTERNET PROVIDER Why: Because it does not take much to get them to give you free (or cheaper) services. These companies are generally indifferent to customer needs, but they are quick to cough up discounts — if you ask.
How: Just call and ask — they will probably give you something. Other tactics: Measure your Internet speed, using; if it is less than what you are paying for, ask for a free upgrade. Or ask to speak to the cancellation department. That usually scares them.
BUY A LOT OF CHARGING CABLES Why: Because you should never have a gadget’s battery die on you, and they are cheap. Smartphone user? Have a charging cable at the office, one in the car, and a couple at home. Laptops? Have enough chargers in the house, so you are not tethered to the den when the power runs low.
How: eBay. Search for what you need with terms like “original” or “oem” (original equipment manufacturer). You will often see accessories for as little as one-tenth their normal retail price. Buy them by the gross.
CALIBRATE YOUR HDTV Why: Because that awesome 1080p plasma or LCD TV you bought has factory settings for color, brightness, contrast and so forth that are likely to be out of whack. They need to be adjusted.
How: Order Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark: Blu-ray Edition, a DVD, for $25. Its regimen of tests and patterns will help you adjust your TV’s settings to more natural levels. After you use it, you may want to fine-tune the TV some more, but you can do so knowing you are getting the most out of your display.

Quality Education is Unfinished Homework for Latin America, says World Bank's VP for the Region

In conjunction with the Ibero-American Summit this month, Pamela Cox, Vice President for Latin American and Caribbean, emphasizes the urgent need to focus on education quality ina recent op-ed that appeared in major news outlets across the region:
If education were simply a matter of attending classes, Latin America and the Caribbean would have already done its homework. Most regional countries have made enormous progress towards achieving universal access to basic education. There is also clear progress at the secondary and tertiary levels.
But more than access, the key goal of education is learning. Making sure that children and youngsters perform according to the requirements of the day is a necessary condition for the advancement of society. In that respect, the region still has some unfinished business. 
This is a critical issue that must surely be a source of concern for the chiefs of state and government gathering in Mar del Plata, Argentina, for the Ibero-American Summit.
 Year after year, Latin American countries show poor academic performance levels in international tests. With the exception of Uruguay, regional countries perform much poorly than expected at their per capita income levels.
In 2006, a handful of countries in the region (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay) participated in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD's) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). All of them ranked among the 20 lowest-performing countries in reading, math and science, well below the average for almost 60 countries.
It is thus evident that improving education must become a priority for politicians, educators and families in the region. Furthermore, it should be so because Latin America is still an unequal region and education is the most important levelling factor in achieving social mobility.
For many years, this simple idea could not permeate through some sectors in society. Both governments and elites were afraid that better-educated workers could affect productivity by increasing labour costs.
Nowadays, it is clear that the issue of competitiveness demands workers with the necessary skills to confront the challenges of the 21st century. An investment that focuses on improving educational opportunities among the poor is justified both in economic and social terms.
Although the gap between rich and poor has narrowed in the last few years, it is still part of the region's reality. While four out of five children in high-income households complete secondary school, only one in five children can accomplish this task among the poorest families.
In order to reduce these inequalities, governments throughout the region have emphasised diverse educational aspects, from early-childhood development programmes to lifelong learning initiatives. The World Bank provides technical and financial support for several of them.
Diverse studies indicate that the most cost-effective human capital investments take place in the first five years of a child's life. Seeking to equalise opportunities for the poorest children, the World Bank and Shakira's ALAS Foundation launched a US$300 million early childhood development initiative in February 2010. More than US$100 million have already been approved for this purpose in Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and Peru.
Most countries assess their pedagogical systems through standardised national tests, but few of them make the results public or use them as diagnostics tools to improve quality. Colombia, which took part in PISA for the first time in 2006, is assessing these results and seeking a national consensus around the necessary educational reforms.
Educational quality must be assessed by its capacity to provide skills relevant to the labour market. Mexico, backed by a US$700-million World Bank project, is reforming its educational system so that secondary schools can easily adopt a more competent national curriculum in at least half of the country's public schools.
In Argentina, the World Bank supports a US$200-million government programme that seeks to consolidate and increase the coverage of training courses, thus improving labour opportunities for low-income adults.
Without these and other efforts, the potential to create equal opportunities for youngsters becomes much more elusive.
In order to achieve a more inclusive education, the Summit's motto, supporting a results-based approach to high-quality education, will be essential. This course of action will contribute to the expansion throughout society of the economic and social advances achieved in the past years.

Pendidikan di Singapura
Ditata seperti Sebuah Orkestra

APA yang diharapkan warga dari sebuah sistem pendidikan? Bagi orang awam
sekalipun pasti tahu bahwa yang dibutuhkan adalah setidaknya kurikulum yang
baik, pengajar yang enak, fasilitas memadai, dan biaya murah, jika bisa.
Lalu selebihnya mungkin adalah lingkungan yang kondusif, daya saing yang
tinggi, serta segala aspek lain yang ada di luar ruang sekolah.

TAMPAKNYA hal itu tersedia di Singapura. Perbandingan sistem pendidikan di
Singapura dengan Indonesia seperti bumi dan langit rasanya. Departemen
Pendidikan Singapura (Ministry of Education) tampaknya lebih banyak bekerja
dan memberi perhatian besar pada pengembangan pendidikan ketimbang
memanfaatkan pendidikan sebagai sumber rezeki bagi oknum atau
pegawai-pegawai departemen itu.

Dari sekolah dasar hingga universitas, misalnya, siswa sudah dipantau dan
diarahkan untuk mendapatkan pendidikan yang cocok untuknya. Jadi, tidak
semua warga layak atau bebas masuk universitas di Singapura. Bagi mereka
yang tidak layak masuk universitas di Singapura, memang bebas memilih kuliah
di luar negeri sesuai dengan kemampuan orangtua, tetapi tidak bebas masuk
universitas di Singapura jika tidak melewati tes tertentu.

Dengan pendapatan per kapita lebih dari 24.000 dollar AS per tahun,
Singapura termasuk paling kaya di dunia. Namun, Singapura tidak
menyamaratakan bahwa semua warga pasti mampu. Biaya sekolah di Singapura
relatif murah. Yang diperlukan adalah biaya di luar uang sekolah seperti
penunjang kelancaran sekolah, transportasi, buku-buku, dan lainnya.

Untuk keluarga yang tidak mampu, pemerintah menyediakan beasiswa jika perlu.
Itu disediakan untuk memastikan bahwa kemiskinan bukan hambatan untuk
mengenyam pendidikan.

Meski mobil bukan persoalan bagi kebanyakan warga di Singapura, untuk
kelancaran transportasi anak-anaknya tersedia berbagai mode transportasi,
mulai dari MRT, dipadu dengan rangkaian bus kota yang memiliki akses ke
semua sekolah. Untuk transportasi ke dan dari Nanyang Technological
University (NTU), misalnya, tersedia berbagai jalur bus yang membelah masuk
ke kompleks universitas di Jurong.

Apa lagi? Ruang kelas, perpustakaan, kantin sekolah, dan tempat bersantai
juga tersedia. Ruang kelas ditata secara bersih dan membuat murid bisa
melihat guru atau dosen dan sebaliknya dosen atau guru bisa memantau semua
anak didiknya. Kelas diperlengkapi dengan peralatan yang memudahkan guru
melakukan presentasi lewat slide yang sudah melekat di setiap ruang sekolah
sehingga tidak perlu repot setiap kali melakukan presentasi. Janganlah segan
makan di kantin-kantin sekolah, jenisnya cukup banyak, relatif sehat, dan
murah lagi.

Akses internet hingga ke ruang-ruang kelas juga tersedia dan gratis hanya
dengan mendaftar untuk mendapatkan ID dari sekolah dan universitas. Hal itu
memang sengaja dilakukan untuk membuat murid memiliki akses yang mudah
mendapatkan informasi. Terkadang bahan pelajaran juga sudah dipajang di
situs internet yang membuat mahasiswa bisa mengakses secara on-line.

Dosen-dosen dan guru di Singapura juga tidak kalah profesionalnya. Dengan
gaji yang tergolong memadai, orang- orang terangsang menjadi guru. Tidak
semua guru berasal dari Singapura sendiri.

Dengan jumlah penduduk yang sedikit, hanya 4 juta jiwa lebih, Singapura
memerlukan pasokan guru. Untuk itu terkadang guru didatangkan dari negara
lain. Untuk level universitas, misalnya, NTU dan National University of
Singapore (NUS) tak segan menawarkan gaji yang tinggi menyamai gaji di
Harvard Business School. "Kami memang harus bersaing dan menawarkan
rangsangan yang lumayan untuk bisa menarik orang-orang yang punya talenta
dunia," demikian dosen di NTU, Ang Poo Wah.

Dosen-dosen di NTU, misalnya, tidak sedikit yang menjadi orang-orang hebat
di negara asalnya dan kemudian direkrut menjadi dosen di Singapura.

Masalahnya, Singapura berniat menjadikan dirinya sebagai pusat pendidikan
berkelas internasional, setelah berhasil menjadikan dirinya sebagai pusat pe
layanan kesehatan terbagus di Asia Tenggara.

Kegiatan di universitas dan di sekolah-sekolah bukan sebatas acara
belajar-mengajar rutin di ruang-ruang kelas. Hampir setiap bulan tampil
pembicara tamu berkaliber internasional membawakan topik-topik baru yang
ditemukan di dunia.

Pemerintah Singapura tidak segan-segan mendatangkan, misalnya, Michael
Porter, Philip Kottler, ahli manajemen terkenal di dunia, serta dosen-dosen
kaliber internasional yang memang mahal tarifnya tetapi Singapura tidak
pelit soal itu.

Jadi, selain mendapatkan ilmu, mahasiswa juga diberi pencerahan dengan
menghadiri seminar-seminar gratis tetapi sangat berkualitas. Jangan
bayangkan presentasi mereka seperti guru-guru atau dosen-dosen yang direkrut
begitu saja untuk jadi pengajar P4 yang membuat ngantuk di negara kita pada
zaman Orde Baru.

Gilanya lagi, sekolah, universitas, dan lembaga pendidikan di Singapura
tidak berhenti melirik perkembangan pendidikan di negara lain. Maka,
muncullah misalnya aliansi antara sekolah bisnis di NTU dan Sloan School of
Management di Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Aliansi seperti itu dibiarkan dirangsang sendiri oleh masing-masing
fakultas. Universitas hanya memberi persetujuan. Otonomi masing-masing
fakultas dibuat sedemikian tinggi dan dibiarkan mampu memikirkan
pengembangan diri sendiri. Soal pendanaan, tampaknya tidak menjadi masalah.
NTU, misalnya, sudah memiliki endowment fund dari pemerintah sebesar 200
juta dollar Singapura.

Maka, tidak heran jika NTU, NUS, dan Singapore Management University dengan
mudah membangun aliansi dengan Harvard University, Wharton School, dan
universitas kelas satu lainnya di AS. Kerja sama internasional pendidikan
juga dilakukan dengan banyak negara. Namun, kemajuan pendidikan di AS
membuat Singapura lebih berkiblat ke AS.

Mahasiswa di Singapura sering kali mendapatkan kesempatan untuk melakukan
studi tur dengan menjelajah dunia. Bagi mahasiswa yang mampu dibiarkan
membayar sendiri, tetapi dengan subsidi universitas. Namun, bagi yang tidak
mampu tersedia beasiswa yang memungkinkan mereka tinggal di hotel, seperti
JW Marriott. Bayangkan, misalnya, selama satu setengah bulan mahasiswa
pascasarjana di Nanyang MBA Fellowship Programme tinggal di apartemen yang
dikelola JW Marriott di Boston.

Jadi, persoalan bukanlah pada fasilitas dan beasiswa. Mahasiswa tinggal
menyediakan waktu dan niat untuk belajar tekun tanpa harus diganggu oleh
ketiadaan biaya.

Bukan hanya itu, Pemerintah Singapura tidak saja bersedia mendidik warganya,
tetapi juga bersedia merekrut calon-calon siswa dan mahasiswa dari negara
tetangga dan dengan beasiswa serta tawaran kesempatan kerja di Singapura.
Karena itu, tidak heran jika ada warga melayu dari Padang hingga Klaten
belajar di Singapura dengan bantuan, termasuk ongkos pesawat pergi pulang
saat liburan.

Singapura sadar akan potensi kekurangan tenaga kerja. Niat Singapura untuk
menawarkan beasiswa bukan sekadar menjadikan mereka sebagai tenaga di
Singapura suatu saat. Bagi mahasiswa yang kembali bekerja di negara asalnya,
setidaknya diharapkan bisa menjadi orang yang kenal dan sayang dengan
Singapura dan bisa menjadi jaringan Singapura di kemudian hari.

Bukan itu saja, dengan mengundang mahasiswa dari luar, Pemerintah Singapura
otomatis membuat warganya terbiasa bergaul secara internasional ketika masih
berada di sekolah. Itu sesuai dengan posisi Singapura sebagai hub regional
sehingga warganya tidak menjadi seperti katak di bawah tempurung.

Bicara soal silabus dan kurikulum, departemen pendidikan di Singapura setiap
kali bekerja untuk melakukan evaluasi. Setiap perkembangan baru selalu
disisipkan pada silabus baru.

Jadi, itulah pendidikan di Singapura, bukan sekadar menyediakan sarana dan
prasarana yang baik, tetapi terus melakukan up-dating dari tahun ke tahun.
Itu semua dilakukan sebagai pengejawantahan visi dan misi pendidikan di

Bukan itu saja, iklim persaingan di antara keluarga dan komunitas di
Singapura menjadi salah satu kunci rahasia sukses pendidikan di Singapura.
Bayangkan, orangtua, rekan, pasangan, atau pacar seperti "memaksa" siswa dan
mahasiswa untuk menjadi juara satu atau tidak sama sekali. Hanya ada satu
orang juara satu. Akan tetapi, dengan prinsip itu, semua orang berlomba
mendapatkan nilai terbaik dan tidak jarang sejumlah besar mahasiswa
sama-sama memiliki nilai A semuanya.

Apa sih kurangnya pendidikan di Singapura? Tidak ada jika dibandingkan
dengan pendidikan di Indonesia, misalnya. Yang mungkin masih kurang adalah
keberanian siswa dan mahasiswa berbicara di ruang kelas dan mempertanyakan
kebenaran sistem dari negara yang tidak begitu bebas. Mahasiswa Singapura
tidak begitu cerewet di kelas seperti masyarakatnya. Inilah yang disadari
oleh PM Lee Hsien Loong (BG Lee). Kebebasan berekspresi secara nasional ala
Singapura ternyata berdampak di kelas-kelas. Maka itu, kini BG Lee
menawarkan paradigma baru, yakni kebebasan bicara.

Soalnya, aneh memang jika di kelas pun mahasiswa harus ramah dan menurut.
Bukankah pendidikan bermaksud mencari kebenaran atas yang salah, termasuk
kediktatoran ala Singapura yang dimulai oleh mantan PM Lee Kuan Yew, yang
melarang oposisi berkoak-koak? (SIMON Saragih)

Các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore

Các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore là những tư vấn viên được tham gia Chương trình đào tạo do Cơ quan Xúc tiến Giáo dục Singapore, thuộc Tổng cục Du Lịch Singapore tổ chức. Chương trình được xây dựng nhằm giúp các tư vấn viên cung cấp thông tin chính xác và thỏa đáng cho các sinh viên, có quốc tế đang có dự định du học ở Singapore.

Các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore đều có chứng nhận "Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore" do Cơ quan Xúc tiến Giáo dục Singapore, thuộc Tổng cục Du lịch Singapore chứng thực. Giấy chứng nhận chỉ có hiệu lực trong một thời hạn cụ thể nhất định.

Mời bạn nhấn chuột vào đây để biết danh sách các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore * ở nước bạn

*Các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore là những người hoạt động độc lập, không làm thuê và không đại diện cho Tổng cục Du lịch Singapore ("STB") dưới bất kỳ hình thức nào. STB sẽ không chịu trách nhiệm và không đại diện cho bất kỳ dịch vụ tư vấn nào, ý kiến hoặc quan điểm nào, thông tin, hướng dẫn hoặc trợ giúp nào, hoặc về chất lượng dịch vụ do các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore cung cấp. Các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore không được ủy quyền thay mặt STB thực hiện hoặc cam kết bất kỳ hứa hẹn nào.

STB không phải là một bên trong bất kỳ cam kết nào giữa bạn vá cac Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore. Các khách hàng sử dụng dịch vụ của các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore do đó tự chịu rủi ro cá nhân và là tự nguyện cá nhân. STB, bao gồm cả ban quản lý và các nhân viên sẽ không chịu trách nhiệm về bất kỳ hành vi hoặc sự thiếu trách nhiệm nào của các Chuyên viên Tư vấn Giáo dục Singapore.