The Center for Mathematical Modeling (CMM) received last Wednesday, November 26, the visit of the Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, who traveled to Chile with the propose of expanding bilateral relations in education and trade.
Accompanied by the Minister of Foreing Affairs, George Yeo, Minister of Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, among others, the highest authority of the city-state, held a meeting with the director of the Center for Mathematical Modeling, Jaime San Martín, and associate researchers from the Center, Servet Martínez and Patricio Felmer.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister internalizes on projects undertaken by the CMM in the industrial sector and those aimed at improving the quality of education in our country. In addition, he was particularly interested in knowing the scope of a future cooperation agreement between the Center and the National Institute of Education (NIE) of Singapore.
Learning from the best
In mid-October, Prof. Felmer travelled to Singapore to hold meetings with members of the NIE to establish an academic relationship of collaboration, which would result in the exchange of students, visiting of scientists and participation in projects.
For the faculty, the high level in education that has reached Singapore is "very enlightening". Felmer explains that forty years ago, the lack of education in Singapur was serious, but first they began to make changes to expand basic education to all people and then continue with the secondary. However, quality problems persisted. "The authorities searched for the causes of the stalemate and found poorly motivated teachers, with uninteresting salaries and low social respect," he explained.
In 1991, it was established in Singapore the National Institute of Education and five years later, the authorities decided to make a qualitative leap, which consisted, among others, to equalize the salaries of teachers with those of lawyers and engineers. "They believed what they were capable of," said Felmer.
Consulted by the visit otf the Prime Minister to the Center, the academic added: "This visit to the CMM is extremely interesting. He is a mathematician and that is why he was interested to know the mathematics that we do here, which responds to the needs of the industry and also because here we do education."
The delegation, composed of about twenty people, also toured the laboratories of the center of Mathematical Modeling to learn in detail some projects that are done by the CMM. The Foreign Minister of Singapore, George Yeo, also wanted to discuss his views on the Prime Minister's visit to the center. "I am pleasantly surprised that he (Prime Minister) has shown interest in collaborating in a field that is very specialized for me. Normally I expect this to be between European countries or with the United States, but this is between two small countries as distant as Chile and Singapore, it is surprising to me, " he explained.
The cooperation agreement between the National Institute of Education and the Center for Mathematical Modeling could be signed in January 2009 when the director of the Department of Mathematics and Mathematics Education from that institution visit the CMM.