SINGAPORE: ’A’ and ’O’ Level exam provider Cambridge Assessment’s Asia Pacific headquarters will officially open in Singapore on Friday.
Known as Cambridge Assessment Singapore, or CAS, its office at North Bridge Road will be staffed by a team of 15 and will focus on supporting the 2,000 international schools in Singapore and the region that provide education leading to Cambridge qualifications.
"We believe that by establishing a regional office here in Singapore, we will be able to bring a real change to the support that we’ve always offered to our schools," said Ben Schmidt, regional director of Cambridge International Examinations, Asia Pacific.
The group aims to leverage on Singapore’s status as an educational hub and support regional educators teaching subjects leading to qualifications like the Cambridge GCE ’A’ and ’O’ levels, saying that they hope to build a "community of Cambridge schools".
Despite being one of the few countries in the region which provide a mainstream education that lead to Cambridge qualifications, Singapore schools would not be the focus of CAS.
"The Ministry (of Education in Singapore) provides excellent support for government schools and for teachers in government schools, it’s the envy of teachers all over the world," said Ann Puntis who is chief executive of Cambridge International Examinations as well as chairperson of CAS.
"But in some of the countries in the region, teachers might be working in small schools, they might feel unsupported bringing those teachers within a vibrant educational community is very much the mission of this organisation," she said, adding that CAS would focus on delivering support in areas such as teachers’ professional development and pedagogy.
In addition, the not—for—profit organisation has also announced plans to host its annual Cambridge Schools Conference in Singapore next year.
"We intend to host educational debates that span the entire educational community, that will involve teachers in the classroom, that will involve school leaders, but also academics in education, of which we have some of the best minds in our universities here; policy makers, curriculum developers," said Mr Schmidt.
Previous conferences have been held in Cambridge, UK and attract educators from around the world, though CAS expects attendance numbers of the Singapore conference to far exceed that of the previous years.
The organisation will receive some S$7 million in grants over the next three years from Cambridge University.
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