Where are the app developers from RI & other elite schools?

In Political governance on 24/04/2013 at 5:27 am

In the last few days, education seems to be a hot topic if one goes by the reports in our local media: all part of the NatCon. I’m sure the Media Bahru will soon be putting its spin on the issues reported by Media Tua.

Well I’ll raise here an issue that doesn’t seem to fit in with a sub narrative that our elite schools are (or not) producing the kind of S’poreans we need.

In the UK, where private schools are the elite schools, students from the elite schools are producing world-class apps

… interviewed Nick 13 months ago … he came from a successful, wealthy family who had opted to give him a private education.

A day after Nick started counting his millions [Yahoo! bot his app which summaries news articles], an email dropped in my inbox about another teenaged developer.

Schoolboy Tom Humphrey has launched an app designed to help language learning by combining dictionary definitions with digital translation tools. He also happens to go to Eton College. [UK’s most elite school. Costs about S$60,000 a year in fees]

Meanwhile teenager Nina Dewani, who was interviewed by the BBC last month after designing a password-prompting app, attends a private school in St Albans.

It could be a coincidence, but these young people join a long line of tech entrepreneurs who attended private schools and found fame for their creations.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee went to an independent school, as did Bill Gates (although he later dropped out of Harvard to set up a software company), while child prodigy Mark Zuckerberg had a tutor who helped him start writing software.

Well, where are the world-class app developers from our elite schools? Let alone tech entrepreneurs.

Or is apps development reserved for this school: School of Science and Technology aims to nurture students to be innovative.

A student there “is pitching his business idea of an app which helps busy working parents remember their baby’s feeding schedule.”

Sports School students represent S’pore in ping-pomg, and SST students pitch uses of to-be-developed apps. Err who develops the apps? Poly students? Technical Institutes’ students?

My serious point is that if the students of our elite schools are not doing cutting-edge things that their counterparts in the West are doing, there must be something seriously wrong with the education system? A topic worthy of NatCon: “Where are the app developers from RI & other elite schools?”?

BTW, any comments about “exam factories” will be spammed. Taz a dumb comment to a complex and serious issue. In the UK and US, the elite private schools get more than their fair share of students into elite unis. In fact, critics complain they take away places from students from state schools.

  1. It is not an easy task. You first have to change the social norm. Encourage Individualism, creativity, curiosity, risk taking. Don’t prevent people from questioning and challenging status quo. Get rid of Respect for Authority, and I don’t mean Rule-of-Law, and that will go a long way. Defamation lawsuits are evil in this respect. Empower individuals. Tolerate some disorders and stop being a high priest. There are just too many to list here.

    Of course, the easy way out is to migrate to these great countries at birth. Now you are free from the suffocating social shackles and expectations.

  2. Case in point – “Singapore cartoonist arrested for alleged sedition”

    Imagine a child growing up in a very “strict” family. Do you think he can be creative in his other endeavors?

    This “frivolous” lawsuit business in Singapore has got to stop. No other country (mis)uses the Judiciary to the extent that Singapore does.

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