The 7th Thailand-U.S. Education Roundtable STEM Education: Learning Culture of the 21st Century Workforce

HRH Princess Sirindhorn group photo

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The HEAD Foundation’s Managing Director David Clegg was specially invited to present at the 7th Thailand – US Education Roundtable entitled “STEM Education: Learning Culture of the 21st Century Workforce”, which was held in Thailand from 26 to 27 February 2016. This is the first time that the Foundation has participated in the forum that was founded by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 2001 to promote collaboration between educational policy makers and academics from Thailand and the United States in the areas of science and higher education.

Presided over by Her Royal Highness, the roundtable was attended by top-ranking government officials including Thailand’s Minister of Education, His Excellency General Dapong Ratanasuwan; Thailand’s Minister of Science and Technology, His Excellency Dr Pichet Durongkaveroj; as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, His Excellency Glyn T. Davies. Mr Clegg was one of only two foreign presenters to H.R.H. Princess Sirindhorn and esteemed guests during the joint session.

This edition of the roundtable focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education, with Thai and US academics, educators and policy-makers sharing views on STEM for schools, research and workplaces. The aim of the roundtable was to identify ways in which innovation can be cultivated in students, teachers and workers through STEM.

In his presentation, Mr Clegg proffered that to become more innovative as a society, one must establish a culture of innovation, and understand the complex ecosystem that supports innovation. In addition, a strong grasp of the various contributing factors towards building a culture of innovation is also crucial.

Mr Clegg’s emphasis on the need for a deeper understanding of the new generations (Generations Y and Z) and the imperative to integrate this understanding into all efforts to stimulate more innovativeness in society was particularly well-received by participants.

The roundtable discussion was the first step in the strategic planning and the implementation of programmes throughout Thailand to stimulate STEM education and activity, and ultimately to provide the foundation for a more innovative Thai society.

Mr Clegg’s participation in the roundtable has provided an important platform for The HEAD Foundation to collaborate with key Thai ministries in research and programme development.

“It was a privilege to be in the presence of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirindhorn, one who has contributed profoundly to the uplifting of Thai society and the surrounding region through her benevolent work in education,” said Mr Clegg. “The HEAD Foundation is both humbled and honored to contribute to the meaningful discourse on STEM education as a stimulant to greater innovativeness, and as an agent for meaningful change for Thailand and its citizens.”

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Mr Ho Swee Huat

Mr Ho Swee Huat is the Founder and Managing Director of Abacus Assets Advisors Pte Ltd. Before starting the company, he had an established career in the banking industry, with 20 years of experience in Singapore, Hong Kong and New York.

He was an Independent Director and Chairman of the Audit Committee of CapitaCommercial Trust Management LTD from 2004 to 2013.

He is the current Chairman of Autism Association (Singapore) which he co-founded with a group of parents in 1992. He is also Vice-Chairman of Eden School, a special school for children with autism.

Mr Ho holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a Liberal Arts degree in Economics from Hamilton College, USA.

He has been a member of the Board of the Foundation since its incorporation.