Singapore on par with Uganda (sic)

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An article by Teh Shi Ning in the Business Times – extract follows.

THE Republic’s prowess in math and science may not turn its students into the innovators and entrepreneurs needed to drive the economy in the long-run, says the Singapore Competitiveness Report 2009. While Singapore has established its tertiary and research institutions, and patenting and publication intensity has grown, entrepreneurship remains low and local rather than export-focused.

The current competitive strengths are more in line with a ‘high-skilled, investment-driven model’, rather than the ‘innovation-driven economy’. Singapore needs to reconsider its position among the host of economies hoping to be innovation nations. It does well on many global innovation rankings – but better on ‘those that focus more on general business environment conditions than on specific economic returns on innovation’. In fact, Singapore’s profile of relative strengths and weaknesses are more similar to economies like Armenia, Peru and Uganda, the report says. Hong Kong, too, showed itself to be stronger than Singapore on innovation performance vis-a-vis innovation inputs.

The report raises ‘a concern that Singapore focuses too much on the type of repetitive memorization of knowledge that generates high performance on standardized tests.’ But the authors’ main issue was with the overly ‘science-leaning’ nature of the innovation system. ‘There is a need to mentally break free from the US model, from wanting to replicate what Silicon Valley or Boston does,’ said Christian Ketels who says Singapore has not the depth nor breadth of funding from venture capital or large corporations to generate breakthrough technologies and products quickly enough.

Go to The Business Times. Source: PDE News

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