NTU's Mayors' Class receives record number of high-level Chinese officials
A testimony to the value and effectiveness of NTU’s postgraduate programme in managerial economics and public administration
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) receives a record number of 39 high-level Chinese officials from the Central Organisation Government among the new intake for its Master of Science in Managerial Economics and Master of Public Administration programmes this year, making it the cohort with the most number of senior officials the university has admitted since the programmes’ inception in 1998 and 2005 respectively.
These 39 officials include mainly mayors, chief and divisional directors of government departments from the Central Organisation Government, Central government agencies, and provincial governments.
The Master of Science in Managerial Economics (MME) and Master of Public Administration (MPA) are dubbed the Mayors’ Class as its students are often earmarked to be mayors in China, where participants are middle and high-level Chinese officials.
More than forty per cent of the intake for the MPA programme this year is made up of senior officials. This is almost twice the average number of senior officials that the programme has received over the last few years. There are a total of 78 participants for the MPA this year, while 30 participants are taking the MME.
The surge in the number of senior officials reflects the confidence of the China government of Singapore’s efficiency in public administration and policy, and also testimony to the quality and effectiveness of NTU programmes in these areas.
In addition to classroom learning, institutional visits and study trips, these 108 participants will also attend a two-day and one-night outdoor experiential learning course at Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) as part of their one-year Master programme. The team-building course at Pulau Ubin is customised to provide a platform for the Chinese officials to enhance their comradeship, team synergy, leadership and communication skills through team-based activities and challenges.
“The aim of the OBS course is to develop our participants holistically, not just on the hard skills, but on the soft skills as well. By organising this course right at the start of the Master programme as part of their orientation, we hope that the activities will build the students’ resilience, endurance and confidence, and also help to develop teamwork and strengthen bonds among the participants. This is also an important activity for the participants to realign their role from senior government officials to post-graduate students,” says Dr Wu Wei, Director of Nanyang Centre for Public Administration which runs the Mayors’ Class programmes.
With the focus on practicability, NTU has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Renhuai City, Guizhou Province, China, early this year for the Class of 2011 to “adopt” the Maotai village in Renhuai. The initiative allows the students to apply some of the best practices that they have learnt from Singapore and share with the Maotai grassroot leaders economic development and environmental management techniques.
The Mayors’ Class participants, who are chosen through a rigorous selection process, represent the cream of China’s public sector from the central government such as the Central Organisation Department and the Ministry of Education, as well as local governments of Guangdong, Guizhou, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Jilin, Liaoning, Shanxi, Sichuan, and Tianjin.
More than 1,000 local and national government leaders from China have graduated from the Mayors’ Class. Many were promoted shortly after graduation and are now vice governors, party secretaries of municipalities and mayors. The breadth of the alumni base has not only helped to build a significant network of NTU ambassadors in China, it also strengthens NTU’s excellence in the “New Silk Road” by forging better understanding between China and Singapore and opening up more avenues for collaboration.
The New Silk Road is one of the five Peaks of Excellence that NTU has unveiled under its five-year strategic plan to become a great global university by 2015. The aim is to position NTU as a vital knowledge hub that combines the best of the East and the West. The other Peaks of Excellence include Sustainable Earth, New Media, Future Healthcare, and Innovation Asia.
Eight local sponsors will be offering scholarships to Mayors’ Class students who have demonstrated excellent leadership ability. The sponsors include CapitaLand Ltd, Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) and Wilmar International Limited. The scholarships are a clear recognition of the quality of the programmes that NTU is offering and the strong support NTU enjoys from industry partners.
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Ms Nasrath Hassan
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