International Symposium 1998 TOP
Country Reports

A Country Report on Multimedia in Singapore
Dr. Denise Li Meng Goh

Singapore is a small nation located in South-East Asia. The island is found at the southern tip of the Malaysian Peninsula, between Malaysia and Indonesia. It has a total area of 632.6 sq km and is a focal point for south-east Asian sea routes. Singapore's only resource is her people. Hence, investment in her people has always been a top priority.It has also been the key to our survival, progress and development.
Over the past decade, Singapore has conscientiously prepared herself for the new challenges in the information age. A substantial national information technology (IT) capability has been developed. As such, a positive environment exists for the private and public sectors to collaborate in exploiting IT for national competitive advantage. "The World Competitiveness Report" has, in recent years, placed Singapore among the top nations in the world in terms of strategic exploitation of IT by companies, computer literacy of workers and telecommunications infrastructure.
The "IT 2000 Vision of An Intelligent Island" was a plan formulated in August 1991 and covers the eleven major economic sectors of Singapore:
Construction and Real Estate
Education and Training
Financial Services
IT Industry
Media, Publishing and Information
Retail, Wholesale and Distribution Tourist and Leisure Services
IT 2000 is our master plan for transforming Singapore into an Intelligent Island. In our vision, some 15 years from now, Singapore will be amongst the first few in the world with an advanced nation wide information infrastructure. It will interconnect computers in virtually every home, office, school, and factory. The computer will evolve into an information appliance, a means of communication and an access to services. Singaporeans will be able to tap into vast reservoirs of electronically stored information and services to improve their business, working lives, recreational and leisure activities.
Text, sound, pictures, video, documents, designs and other forms of media can be transferred and shared through Singapore ONE (One Network for Everyone). Singapore ONE is a 21st-century utility and the first of its kind in the world. It is a high-speed fibre-optic network with each fibre optic strand having the capacity of 150,000 phone lines. This network will connect every home, office and business on a single platform i.e. One Network for Everyone.
The Singapore government is investing S$2 billion(* US$1.33 billion) in IT 2000. The education system is but one of the sectors that will benefit greatly. Multimedia based education is viewed here as the key to nurturing a child to his/her fullest potential. Multimedia incorporates seeing, hearing and experiencing into the learning process.
It will enhance the development of thinking, learning and computer skills. Schools are currently being fitted with the necessary hardware. Teachers are being sent for IT education and receive government subsidy to buy computers. Educational CD-ROMs with tutorial support via the Internet are available so that the child can learn at his/her own pace, at school or at home.
Multimedia access has also created problems for our young. The freedom on the web has also become a double-edged sword, exposing our children to the wonders of vast information and also to potentially undesirable material. Singapore has implemented certain safe guards in an attempt to protect our young. It remains to be seen if these checks will be effective.
The master plan for IT, especially in education, is integral to producing a workforce that will excel in the21st century. It is a major and heavy investment but one that is worthwhile for our people is our future.
Copyright (c) 1998, Denise Li Meng Goh, all rights reserved.
Permission to reprint on Child Research Net