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Speech by Senior Minister of State for Law and Education, Indranee Rajah at the Singapore Geospatial Challenge Awards Ceremony 2013

Posted in Speeches


1.    Hi everyone, after listening to the presentation on Geospatial Information Systems and Technology (GIST), and then reflecting on what you were asked to do today – going around to the check points, planning your strategy on how to win this game, and also the video you saw just now – I would like you to think for a moment why SLA and MOE are doing this and putting you out in the hot sun.


2.    If you just pause to think about it, what we’re doing is to build Future Singapore. We’re getting you ready for Future Singapore. We’re building Future Singapore because you are going to use this technology. But technology in the hands of people who can’t think, don’t think, and don’t know how to use it is useless. So the idea was to make every one of you think about it, use your critical thinking to strategise, know the application, have fun with your friends and bond. All of those things are strengths which you will need for Future Singapore. That’s what today’s exercise today is all about, as much as it is about fun, getting out of school and seeing places. I hope you will bear this lesson in mind because when people say to you that school is all about working very hard and rote learning, it really isn’t, based on what I saw today. So you can tell them that you’re really doing things where you have to apply your mind.


3.    Coming back to some of the things I learnt about GIST, I really didn’t know much about it until today. But it includes things like live traffic condition updates and more recently, monitoring dengue clusters. At a global level, GIST is also used to more effectively manage issues such as climate change and disaster response. These examples of GIST applications are just the tip of the iceberg. If you and I stretch our imagination further, the potential uses of GIST are limitless.


4.    Through this Challenge, now known as the Singapore Geospatial Challenge, SLA aims to encourage innovative uses of geospatial technology by young people such as yourselves. Supported by the United Nations Initiative on Global Geospatial Information Management and MOE, the Challenge now includes Secondary school students, in addition to Pre-University students.


5.    This year, I gathered that more than 350 students from close to 40 schools participated in the Challenge, which features a new innovative format to better meet the needs and interests of students like yourselves. Instead of preparing projects like in previous years, this year’s Challenge was much more innovative and different.


6.    To underscore the importance of GIST, the Government will be introducing the Singapore Geospatial Scholarship, the first of its kind in Singapore. The Scholarship, which will be jointly conferred by several public agencies, will help meet the increasing demand for geospatial professionals for the industry. So we’re thinking ahead, looking at the kind of jobs that are going to be necessary and equipping you for this. SLA will share more details on the scholarship at a later date.


7.    I hope you have discovered useful things about GIST through this Challenge, and I encourage you to share what you learnt with your friends and family members.


8.    In closing, let me thank:


  • ESRI Singapore
  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Microsoft Singapore
  • Starhub
  • Nokia
  • NHB, NParks, PMB, MOE, as well as principals and teachers who supported this effort.


9.    Thank you very much.

Last updated on 05 Aug 2013