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Adjournment motion on culture of accountability at Institutes of Higher Learning

30:06 Min

Get students and staff on the governing boards of Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). Make sure that these institutions consider the views from student petitions above a set number of signatures. These are among several proposals from MP Leon Perera to encourage a culture of accountability and give students and staff greater ownership over their institution and a better student experience. In his adjournment motion in Parliament on Monday (Nov 28), Mr Perera said IHL management, as with the management of any organisation, may have "blind spots" to what students and staff need. He pointed out that some students feel that they are treated as "economic digits", with IHL decisions made based on the return on investment. There is also the perception of top-down decision-making, he said. He said giving them a say and ownership will also help to ensure that they become "self-aware, self-actualised and socially engaged citizens". In economic terms, this could mean strong alumni engagement which may translate to better fundraising capacity downstream and make IHLs more attractive to students and faculty, he said. It could be part of the IHLs' competitive advantage and collectively contribute to the national competitive advantage, he added. In response, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said he agrees with the notion of promoting accountability and that Singapore's institutions have room to improve. He stressed that accountability by the leadership must meet the interests of different stakeholders, not just to a certain group of students. Accountability must mean a fair consideration of the holistic demands across the diversity of students, student groups and across different generations. "That is accountability. That is the concept of stewardship," he said. 

Get students and staff on the governing boards of Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). Make sure that these institutions consider the views from student petitions above a set number of signatures. These are among several proposals from MP Leon Perera to encourage a culture of accountability and give students and staff greater ownership over their institution and a better student experience. In his adjournment motion in Parliament on Monday (Nov 28), Mr Perera said IHL management, as with the management of any organisation, may have "blind spots" to what students and staff need. He pointed out that some students feel that they are treated as "economic digits", with IHL decisions made based on the return on investment. There is also the perception of top-down decision-making, he said. He said giving them a say and ownership will also help to ensure that they become "self-aware, self-actualised and socially engaged citizens". In economic terms, this could mean strong alumni engagement which may translate to better fundraising capacity downstream and make IHLs more attractive to students and faculty, he said. It could be part of the IHLs' competitive advantage and collectively contribute to the national competitive advantage, he added. In response, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing said he agrees with the notion of promoting accountability and that Singapore's institutions have room to improve. He stressed that accountability by the leadership must meet the interests of different stakeholders, not just to a certain group of students. Accountability must mean a fair consideration of the holistic demands across the diversity of students, student groups and across different generations. "That is accountability. That is the concept of stewardship," he said. 

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