The government in Singapore is a firm backer of creative agencies – from attractive grants to working together to setting up centres of excellence – it has not shied away from broadcasting this fact.
Agencies too are happy. For them, the experience of working with the Singapore government is devoid of the usual hang-ups associated with the civil service, such as being slow or bureaucratic.
So is Singapore creative? Industry watchers believe it is. According to an industry insider, “Singaporeans were more traditional; creativity was not a preferred choice but rather something you pursued if you ‘failed’ to make it in the mainstream. The government is doing its best to push creativity by welcoming cultural, social and political diversity.”
That said, there is work being done to develop the key industries that drive creativity as well as spur innovation, most prominently from startups. And most of it is visible.
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What is Nibiru?Christians claim that the arrival of the planet will mark the apocalypse and could herald Jesus’ return, while other conspiracy theorists believe that it is a rogue planet which has yet to be detected by space officials – or has but they are covering it up to prevent widespread panic.
The mysterious object, otherwise known as Planet X, is allegedly due to enter the solar system in September 23 and will wreak havoc on our galactic neighbourhood.
Paranormal researchers believe Planet X is so large it would be able to counter the sun’s gravitational pull.
It is believed that it is difficult to spot due to the angle in which the huge mass is approaching Earth – towards the South Pole.
Planet X is supposedly heading to EarthAs the planet approaches it is expected to interfere with Earth, pulling it slightly off its axis, which would result in severe earthquakes and storms.
Christians such as David Meade have been analysing biblical texts and astronomical signs, and believe that Planet X will arrive on September 23, and herald the end of days.
Revelation 12:1 says: “A great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun with the moon under her feet and a crown of 12 stars on her head.
“And being with child, she cried out in her travail and was in anguish of delivery.”
Planet X is ‘at the edge of the solar system’
The ‘sign in the sky’ supposedly refers to the eclipse which took place on August 21.
Mr Meade explains: “The great sign of The Woman as described in revelation 12:1-2 forms and lasts for only a few hours. According to computer generated astronomical models, this sign has never before occurred in human history.
Bizarre moment ‘Planet X Nibiru is spotted from Earth
“It will occur once on September 23, 2017. It will never occur again. When it occurs, it places the Earth immediately before the time of the Sixth Seal of Revelation.
“During this time frame on September 23, 2017, the moon appears under the feet of the Constellation Virgo. The Sun appears to precisely clothe Virgo.”
On exam results day, education correspondent Jamie McIvor asks a fundamental and unfashionable question: is it a good thing that more youngsters than ever before stay on at school or go to college and university?
Exam passes are high by historic standards, more youngsters are staying on at school and going to college or university.
Is this a good thing in itself? Or is the education system simply having to adapt to the fact that in the modern world there are fewer good jobs for young people, and that unskilled jobs are disappearing?
It is an interesting philosophical question to contemplate – one quite distinct from the question of ensuring all young people can achieve their potential in education, regardless of wealth or family background.
Where to go for help on exam results day
The suspicion of some has always been that the education system has had to soak up youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed – either because of economic problems or the gradual disappearance of some unskilled jobs.
In the 1970s the school leaving age was raised from 15 to 16 but it took a further 10 years for a qualifications system which had been designed with the more academically-able in mind to evolve.
For many years, youngsters who were not able to study for a full suite of O grades filled their third and fourth year timetables with “non certificate” courses – seen by some as a waste of effort. The boredom these students experienced was blamed by some teachers for indiscipline.
Standard grades were designed to make sure all youngsters could get a meaningful qualification. This underlying ethos has been carried into the current National qualifications.
But in the 1980s it was still unusual for a youngster who was not studying for Highers to stay on until S5. When someone who was not doing Highers stayed on past their statutory leaving age, again the suspicion of some was that the youngster was only at school to “stay off the dole”.
In Scotland the official school leaving age is still 16, but the majority of pupils, regardless of their academic ability, stay on until S6. It is now unusual to leave at the end of S4 and schools would be genuinely concerned if a youngster wanted to leave early without a good reason for doing so.
S4, S5 and S6 are now classed as the “senior phase”. The emphasis is on the qualifications a youngster has at the time they leave – not on what they have achieved by a particular stage.
The number of so-called Neets – youngsters who are not in education, employment or training – is at a very low level by historic standards.
The Scottish government guarantees youngsters who are not in a job a place in education or training. It is often the case that a pupil classed as a Neet has a long back story which helps explains the situation.
If a pupil leaves school before the end of S6 because they have secured an apprenticeship or a place at college or university it would be deemed to be a “positive outcome”; if a youngster simply wanted to leave school for a dead-end job a school might worry this was a failure on their part as the pupil may not have been enjoying their education.
The senior phase is designed to offer a flexible system where any youngster can achieve something of value.
For the most academically-able, the question may be what Highers or Advanced Highers they leave school with. For others, it might be about the number of National 4s and 5s they obtain – even one Higher might represent a big personal achievement.
Colleges have been through a huge shake-up in recent years and now concentrate primarily on full-time courses which lead to a recognised qualification – these are mostly taken by students in their teens or early 20s.
Privately, some in the college system warn that colleges are having to accommodate youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed, as well as those who positively want to be studying a subject. This may be reflected in the drop-out rate for some courses.
So we return to the question: is a school system where it is unusual for a youngster to leave early and a college system which has to find places for those who would otherwise be unemployed achieving something positive in itself?
Or is it merely parking the youth unemployment problem, just like non certificate S4 classes in the 1970s?
Few in the mainstream would seriously argue that educational opportunities should not be as widely available as possible.
But the issue touches on an intriguing question. Once, it was possible to leave school with O grades and get a job with prospects. Not so long ago, many good jobs were available to youngsters with good Highers.
Today, other than modern apprenticeships, most good jobs for young people require a college or university qualification first.
So is the education system having to deal with the practical effect of economic change?
De-industrialisation and automation mean many of the unskilled, entry level jobs once filled by school-leavers no longer exist.
Or are the changes positively helping to provide the workforce the economy needs?
The argument is that Scotland, like every advanced country, needs as skilled a workforce as possible to compete internationally and fulfil its potential.
A skilled workforce does not just mean turning out scientists and surgeons – it means hairdressers and staff for the hospitality industry too.
Once, fewer people in those industries would have received any formal college training and might simply have learned on the job or served a traditional apprenticeship. But the argument is that a proper course and training raises standards and allows the best to shine.
Anecdotally, of course, many of the genuinely unskilled jobs which those with few qualifications may once have done – say stacking shelves in the supermarket – are now done by students or those with college or university qualifications who find themselves “underemployed” .
Indeed, while the number of young people at university is close to a historic high, a significant proportion of graduates do not secure what would be seen as graduate-level jobs even if few would do unskilled work for long.
None of this is to suggest a good education is not of value in itself – even if it does not lead to someone getting a better job than they may have got otherwise.
But perhaps it is interesting to reflect on how in the space of barely 40 years, the time someone routinely spends in education has increased. Once, a basic education ended at 15; now few teenagers are completely out of the system.
If learning how to build wealth is important to you, you’ve come to the right place.
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