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AEF Advocates


Looking at world class education: Shanghai and Singapore

by User Not Found | Nov 29, 2017



Helen Jamieson, Executive Principal, Corinda State High School, Queensland


China and Singapore are recognised as world leaders in education and they achieve top results in international PISA tests. I was fortunate to join a group of Principals from Queensland to visit both countries and learn about their education system, teacher training and accreditation, Principal preparation and their strong focus on general capabilities like problem solving and creative thinking.

Over 10 days I gained an understanding of the driving forces for educational improvement in Shanghai and Singapore. I was able to identify similarities with what we are all focused on here in Australia – especially in the sorts of capabilities our students need to thrive in the world. One thing we all agreed on was that our students need to develop global awareness to be successful in the world today.

As I visited schools, universities, training centres and corporate research and development laboratories, I gained an insight into the sort of future China and Singapore are preparing their students for. This had a big impact on me as my school – Corinda State High School - has a strategic priority to be ‘Actively Global’.

At Corinda we recognise the need to ensure our students are globally competitive and that includes being Asia literate. To achieve this we will have to implement a range of strategies to enable all students to embrace this priority. While learning about the schools we visited, I developed a vision for opening the minds of my teaching staff - I really want them to be able to experience what I did on this study tour.

Being immersed in Singapore and Shanghai schools allowed me to appreciate the strong educational narrative behind each school. As I identified similarities with our Australian schools, I developed a concept for how our classrooms could connect and collaborate with each other. This is an important strategy as not all students can afford to participate in international study tours.

What struck me was how much both these countries value education and are committed to exposing their students to the world around them. This challenged me and I continue to look at how I can influence my school community to fully embrace this line of thinking. Both countries highlighted that parents are very supportive of their children travelling abroad to learn about the world. In Australia we are hesitant to take students abroad at such a young age.

I want my staff to understand the strong education culture in Singapore and Shanghai so that they can effectively embed Asia literate strategies and expose our students to the same commitment. I’ve shared my learning from this study tour with my staff over a series of weeks, slowly releasing information, keeping it on the table. As a result, I have had a lot of interest in Corinda participating in AEF’s Australia-Asia BRIDGE School Partnerships Program and we are currently planning an ‘Arts’ staff study tour to Asia.

For my staff to fully embrace Asia literate strategies, they need to learn it, then live it. The opportunities for students will then flow.

I find myself continually recalling experiences as I go about my daily work at Corinda - there is so much to learn by ‘living it’. The insights I gained have assisted me to strategize how we will continue to develop our Actively Global priorities.

Helen Jamieson, Executive Principal, Corinda State High School, Queensland

If you would like to submit an education blog to the Asia Education Foundation, please contact Natasha Redden on or call (03) 8344 3569.


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