Is it better to be a Master Craftsman or a University Graduate?


Audience to be seated by 6:50pm

Register at this link or click on the poster.


6.50pm: All to be seated in Tembusu College Multi-purpose Hall

7.00pm: Assoc Prof Gregory Clancey, Master of Tembusu College, will introduce the Tembusu Forum

7.05pm: Prof Tommy Koh, Rector of Tembusu College, will introduce the topic and speakers

7.15pm: Prof Law Song Seng

7.30pm: Prof Vineeta Sinha

7.45pm: HE Dr Michael Witter

8.00pm: Question & Answer session with students

9.00pm: End of forum

Brief Biography of Speakers:

Professor Law Song Seng was the founding Director and Chief Executive Officer (1992–2007) of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) in Singapore. Dubbed as “Mr ITE”, his visionary leadership and team have been instrumental in the transformation of ITE. Dr Law continues to share this remarkable Singapore story in vocational and technical education with the international community.

Prof Law previously served as Senior Advisor to the Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam (2013-2014); Senior Advisor and Chairman & CEO of ITE Education Services Pte Ltd (2007–2012); Director & CEO of Vocational & Industrial Training Board (1981–1992); Lecturer, Associate Professor and Head of Industrial & Systems Engineering at the National University of Singapore (1973–1983); Visiting Lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand (1980); Manufacturing Development Engineer with the Ford Motor Company in the United States (1972–1973); and Assistant Lecturer in the Singapore Polytechnic (1968–1973).

Author of the recently published book, A Breakthrough in Vocational and Technical Education: The Singapore Story (World Scientific, 2015), Prof Law is an Advisor to Temasek Foundation and a Member of the Education Sub-Commission in the Singapore National Commission for UNESCO.

A Colombo Plan Scholar, he graduated with First Class Honours in Mechanical Engineering from University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1968, and MSc (1971) and PhD (1972) from University of Wisconsin, USA, under a Ford Foundation Scholarship. He is the recipient of several awards: The National Day Public Administration Medal (Gold)(1984), Education Award (1994) by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Singapore Foundation, Center on Education and Training (1997) Distinguished Service Award, Ohio State University, USA, Medal of Commendation (2001) by National Trades Union Congress and Public Administration Medal (Gold)(Bar)(2006) in recognition of his national and international contributions in vocational and technical education.

For the forum, Prof Law will share how the "breakthrough" in ITE has helped to make vocational and technical education a more attractive and socially accepted pathway in our educational system.

Professor Vineeta Sinha is currently Head of Department at the South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore, and is also with the Department of Sociology. She is the Co-Editor of the Asian Journal of Social Science and the Brill Monograph Series, Social Sciences in Asia, and an elected Executive Committee Member of the International Sociological Association.

Prof Sinha has written comprehensively on Hindu religiosity in the diaspora, with particular emphasis on Singapore and Malaysia. More recently, herwork has focused on exploring forms of Hindu religiosity in the diaspora, the intersections of religion and commodification processes, the interface of religion and materiality to making sense of religion-state relations. Prof Sinha’spublications include: A New God in the Diaspora? Muneeswaran Worship in Contemporary Singapore (Singapore University Press & Nordic Institute of Asian Studies 2005), Religion and Commodification: Merchandising Diasporic Hinduism (Routledge, 2011) and Religion State Encounters in Hindu Domains: From the Straits Settlements to Singapore (Springer, 2011).

Prof Sinhaobtained her M.Soc. Sci from the National University of Singapore and an M.A and Ph.D in Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University. For the forum, she will speak in favour of a university education.

HE Dr Michael Witter


For the forum, Ambassador Witter will share with us Germany’s experience in vocational and academic education.


The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.