Thursday, April 29, 2010

China Considers Singapore as First Choice for Overseas Cadre Training

During the last weekend when visiting People's Republic of China Politburo Member cum CPC (Communist Party of China) Central Committee Secretary General and Central Committee Organization Department Minister Li Yuanchao was at National University of Singapore (NUS) Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy to preside over the opening ceremony of the Senior Master Degree of Public Administration and Management course, Li said: "We see Singapore as our first choice for our leading cadres' overseas training.
This is because Singapore and China have good relations, this is also because Singapore is willing to truly help the development of China and assist China in the training of our leading cadres. Moreover, Singapore's development experience can serve as a special reference to China also." Li Yuanchao's remark indeed carried with it a very positive meaning and outlook for the future development between Singapore and China.

Leadership Training and Exchange
In the past few years, Singapore and China have put strong emphasis on the importance of leadership training and exchange. For a long time, Singapore has engaged in the provision of the training of leading cadres in China. Nevertheless in his capacity as China's Central Committee Organization Department Minister, Li Yuanchao has now made it a point to confirm that Singapore's development experience could serve as a special reference for China.

Such confirmation has also highlighted that, this "special" development is also one of the special relationship between Singapore and China. Some people might think that when there is a world of difference between Singapore's small size and China's broad and complex landscape, it is impossible for China to make a special reference to Singapore in term of Singapore's development experience.

National Needs and International Situation
The fact is that, as a world recognized city-state, the formation of Singapore's political system, the establishment of Singapore's development and economic model, and the improvement of them have always gone through the process of in-depth review in response to national need and international situation. The experience of Singapore's People's Action Party that has been functioned as the ruling party from the time Singapore was established until present day is a rare example in the international arena. In the process of development, what Singapore has shown to the world is that this process is maintained and established using its own unique system that suits its own country.

When Singapore faces all kinds of challenges, Singapore will continue to go through the process of self-discovery and self-innovation. Chinese leaders see and understand Singapore's uniqueness. This is called "China knows Singapore." In the same token, Singapore leaders also see and understand the structure and development of China's uniqueness and have never held back its desire in wanting to share Singapore's experience with China. This is what we call "Singapore knows China." It is this type of unique relationship between the two countries that, besides the two countries sharing the deep rooted culture, economy, and a sense of regional security, Singapore and China also share this additional layer of unique relationship. This unique relationship between the two countries has also allowed Singapore and China to have another pipeline to understand and to dialogue with each other.

Bilateral Exchange Programs
China's Central Organization Department has already sent more than 1000 senior level cadres to Singapore for training. Over the past years, more than 30,000 Chinese cadres from other parts of China have also come to Singapore to receive short-term training through the bilateral exchange programs. Before the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the National University of Singapore (NUS) 's School of Management jointly launch the Senior Master Degree of Public Administration and Management, back in 1998, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has already founded the Master Degree of Management Economics popularly referred by the Chinese officials as the "Mayor Class." These two graduate management degree courses have trained and nurtured close to 1,000 senior and mid-level Chinese Government officials.

In fact, NTU's 's involvement in helping to train China's young leading cadres can even be traced to much earlier period in 1992 when the university provided short term training courses for the Chinese government officials. In 2009, the NTU converted the office responsible for the setting up of the Chinese oriented "Mayor Class" as the NTU Graduate School of Public Administration. It is obvious that it is NTU's intention to upgrade and enhance the standard of this branded master degree in order to provide even more professional and perfect curriculum for its master degree courses catered for the need of the Chinese young leaders.

Where is Problem?
Li Yuanchao's clear affirmation of Singapore as China's overseas training base for its leading cadres does not mean that these two national universities in Singapore can take for granted that this is their role and achievement. Whether it is the NTU Graduate School of Public Administration, or the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS, both universities should continue to work together to maintain and create Singapore as the golden brand name.
As always, these two national universities in Singapore should sincerely in wanting to help train China's leading cadres in good faith. Between the two compatible universities, having a degree of competition is a good thing. As Li Yuanchao said, under the overall leadership training program for China's hundreds of millions cadres, tens and thousands of them would be sent for overseas training. As such, for the "Mayor Class" conducted by the two national universities to attract enough students and staff is not a problem.

The problem is that if there is a higher demand for the "Mayor Class", these two universities must have enough good faulty members to shoulder this type of unique public administration and management courses. This will require not only the university authorities to come out with long-term plan and to invest in sufficient resources to carry out these special courses, from overall perspectives, it will also need Singapore authorities to take relevant consideration and appropriate plan.

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