19 January 2023 – Minister of State Gan Siow Huang recently officiated at the launch of the Centre for Nurturing Computing Excellence (CeNCE), a learning space established in February 2022 by the NUS School of Computing (NUS Computing) to develop core computing competencies among both pre-university and university students.
Since 1992, the NUS School of Computing led by Associate Professor Tan Sun Teck has been instrumental in selecting and training students to represent Singapore in the International Olympiad in Informatics competitions such as the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), the Asia-Pacific Informatics Olympiad (APIO), the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) and the European Girl Olympiad in Informatics (EGOI). To date, the teams have achieved exemplary results every year and are now placed 17th position in the medal tally with 15 Gold, 41 Silver and 40 Bronze. This is a noteworthy accomplishment for a small population like Singapore’s, compared to heavyweights like China, Russia and the United States who are ranked in the top three positions.
In October 2022, Singapore made history when Jamie Lim Jia Sin, a student from NUS High School became the first Singaporean female student to win a gold medal in the European Girls’ Olympiad in Informatics (EGOI) 2022 competition held in Antalya, Turkey. At the CeNCE launch, NUS Computing was pleased to award the EGOI gold medallist Jamie Lim, an NUS Merit Scholarship and admission to NUS Computing when she completes her studies at NUS High School.
Said Professor Tan Kian Lee, Dean of NUS School of Computing, “We congratulate Jamie for her remarkable achievement, and hope she will be an inspiration and role model for more female students to take up the challenge of becoming programming experts and pursuing studies in computer science.”
He added, “We have seen a steady rise in our student intake for computing studies in the last five years. However, we note a growing gender imbalance in the favour of male students. There is also a computational skills gap among pre-university students. Through CeNCE, we hope to make computing studies more pervasive and accessible among secondary and Pre-University, and ultimately bridge the gender gap.”
In her speech, Minister of State Gan Siow Huang said, “In the education space, we pay great attention to how we can best equip our students to embrace a digital future. Fundamentals are important. For example, the “Code for Fun” enrichment program gives primary and secondary school students the opportunity to learn computational thinking.”
She added, “At Primary level, students can experience coding and learn about basic concepts of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence. At the secondary level, students can tinker with micro-controllers and sensors that demonstrate the capabilities of AI, facial recognition as well as IOT connectivity. Computing is available as an elective subject at the ‘O’ and ‘A’ Levels for students who are keen to further pursue their interests.”
She emphasized that government agencies, industry, and academia need to work together to strengthen the ecosystem and nurture students skilled in computing and other STEM disciplines.
Said Minister of State Gan Siow Huang, “I’m happy that CeNCE has been created, and is generating talent, including female talent in computing. I hope that Jamie’s achievements will spur more women to have the confidence and the gumption to take on computing. I really encourage Singaporeans to go deeper in this field, not just because the job opportunities are great, salaries are attractive, and career prospects are good but also because of the purpose of computing in helping to transform society, improve lives and save lives.”
Congratulating the team at NUS on the Launch of CeNCE, she said that the centre was another big leap forward for Singapore in building a pipeline of homegrown computing talent and raising the bar for computing education in Singapore. She expressed her strong belief that Singapore can develop more keen and capable students from a diversity of backgrounds to become technological pathfinders and innovators.
In closing, the Dean took the opportunity to thank industry partners namely Huawei, Micron, Tezos and SIMCC for their generous sponsorships, donations, and expertise in supporting this initiative. He also thanked Associate Professor Tan Sun Teck and his CeNCE team including Dr Daren Ler, Dr Steven Halim, Mr Lai Zit Seng and Ms Vivian Tan for their hard work and commitment in training IOI participants and in fostering a pool of homegrown computing talent.
For more information, please visit https://cence.comp.nus.edu.sg/