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Collaboration Between Government And Academia That Strengthens Singapore's Infocomm Capability

23 August 2008 - Address By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore As Guest Of Honour At The NUS School Of Computing (SoC) 10th Anniversary Fund Raising Gala Dinner At The Hilton Hotel Singapore, Grand Ballroom

Address By RADM(NS) Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer, Infocomm Development Authority Of Singapore As Guest Of Honour At The NUS School Of Computing (SoC) 10th Anniversary Fund Raising Gala Dinner On Saturday, 23 August 2008, 7.00pm, At The Hilton Hotel Singapore, Grand Ballroom

Professor Ooi Beng Chin, Dean, NUS School of Computing,
Professor Tan Eng Chye, Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost, NUS,
Professor Lai Choy Heng, Vice Provost (Academic Personnel), NUS
Deans and Directors, NUS,
Management, Staff, Students, Alumni & Well Wishers of NUS School of Computing,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening.


1. I am very pleased to be here this evening to join you in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the NUS School of Computing or SoC and in honouring the faculty, alumni and students who have contributed to your school in one way or another.

2. While I may not be a member of the school alumni, I can certainly appreciate the sense of achievement and pride that members of SoC and its predecessor - the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science or DISCS1   must have, in witnessing their evolution and growth over the years.

Common Infocomm Journey

3. It is heartening to note that SoC and IDA have been collaborating to strengthen Singapore’s infocomm development from as early as the 1980s when the first IT masterplan was rolled out. Back then, IDA’s predecessor, the National Computer Board or NCB, was formed to spearhead and realise the Government’s vision to computerise Singapore’s economy and its civil service sector. Soon after, around 1982, DISCS was established in NUS to nurture the computing talent needed to drive this national computerisation plan.

4. SoC and IDA have since grown from strength to strength. You would know that DISCS matured from a department and became a full-fledged faculty, the SoC of today in 1998. In some ways similarly, NCB merged with the Telecommunication Authority of Singapore to form IDA in 1999, to better leverage on the convergence of information technology and telecommunications for Singapore’s economic development.

Partnership Between IDA And SoC To Meet Infocomm Manpower Needs

5. Over the years, the infocomm sector has grown. In 2007 alone, the infocomm industry recorded a double-digit growth of almost 14 per cent to achieve S$52 billion in revenues2. Singapore’s infocomm talent pool also increased by some nine per cent in the past year to reach a record high of 130,000 employed infocomm professionals3 in 2007.

6. As the infocomm sector powers ahead, Singapore will increasingly need to have a sustainable pool of infocomm manpower to drive its growth. And as infocomm continues to transform the way we live, learn, work and play, it will also drive the transformation of our economic sectors and enhance Singapore’s overall economic competitiveness.

7. SoC plays a key role in nurturing our infocomm talent. Today, its well-balanced curriculum provides our students with not only good fundamental infocomm skills but equally important industry-relevant knowledge as well. These industry-ready infocomm graduates can then quickly adapt their skills to apply their knowledge and capabilities effectively in the companies they work for.

8. Certainly, a good way to produce such industry-ready graduates is in partnering with industry players, and SoC has been doing that. It has partnered IBM to introduce the Service Science, Management and Engineering or SSME specialisation module for SoC students. The SSME is a new discipline which aims at developing infocomm professionals who are not only technically competent but possess wide domain sector knowledge and a strong service orientation.

9. SoC has also been partnering IDA to enhance the capabilities of their graduates, such as in IDA’s recently introduced Enhanced Learning in Infocomm Technology or ELITe programme. Through ELITe, we hope to open the door for university undergraduates to gain insights into infocomm policies, develop industry-relevant skills, attend soft skills and domain knowledge courses, manage projects as well as undergo internships in well-established companies. I strongly encourage the undergraduates here at SoC to actively pursue the ELITe programme to accelerate their own development.

NUS-SoC Fund-Raising Efforts And Spirit Are Commendable

10. Today, as SoC turns 10, I understand that industry professionals who were once students at DISCS or SoC have come out strongly to support their alma mater’s fund-raising efforts and its other student development initiatives. A good example of this is the commendable effort of one of the NUS alumni, Mr Lim Joo Hock. Mr Lim has made a gift of $250,000, in honour of his father, to support a new scholarship, called the Lim Hong Chin Memorial Scholarship, for NUS computing students. This generous gesture will certainly contribute to SoC’s efforts in fulfilling its aspirations as an excellent centre of higher learning.


11. On this note, I wish the NUS School of Computing a happy 10th anniversary and many more decades of proud success in nurturing Singapore’s infocomm talent. Thank you.


1 Department of Information Systems and Computer Science or DISC was set up in 1982/3 within the Faculty of Science in NUS

2 IDA Annual Survey on Infocomm Industry 2007

IDA Annual Survey on Infocomm Manpower 2007