SMU Professors Champion Education and Inclusion for a Fairer Future at Women's Forum Singapore 2024

By the SMU Corporate Communications team

The Women’s Forum Singapore 2024 was organised in partnership with Singapore Management University (SMU) and held on 19 & 20 June 2024. The leading international platform for advancing women's leadership and fostering positive societal change gathered diverse voices to explore critical issues and drive meaningful impact. SMU President, Professor Lily Kong and Vice President (Partnerships and Engagement) Professor Sun Sun Lim, actively contributed their insights and expertise to crucial discussions on education and the future of work.

Aligned with the theme of “Tech as a vector of inclusion”, Prof Kong, in her opening remarks, highlighted the importance of democratising learning for all – by providing equitable access to technology and broadband access, complemented by initiatives to enhance digital literacy. She emphasised the need to update “software” that hinders inclusivity by perpetuating cultural biases or rigid societal structures.

Prof Kong also spoke about the importance of transforming educational paradigms. She said, “In education, achieving greater gender inclusivity necessitates a fundamental re-design of the curriculum. Traditional models, once centered on knowledge acquisition, must be upgraded into frameworks that place premium on critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability.”

Prof Kong sharing her views on how technology impacts both pedagogical and andragogical approaches to education

During the panel discussion titled "Harnessing the Potential of Technology to Educate for Change."; Prof Kong spoke, alongside Inge Kerkloh-Devif, Senior Executive Director of the HEC Paris Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute and Co-Site Lead Executive of the Creative Destruction Lab Paris, HEC Paris; and Yueh Mei Liu, Co-Founder & CEO, HeyHi Pte Ltd. Together, they explored the transformative power of Education Technology (EdTech) in making education more inclusive, efficient, and collaborative. EdTech's ability to democratise access to learning holds immense potential for empowering individuals and fostering a more equitable society.

SMU President, Professor Lily Kong sharing insights during panel discussion

Prof Kong shared her views on how technology impacts both pedagogical and andragogical approaches to education. She emphasised the need for educators to go beyond teaching digital skills and technological applications to cultivating students’ critical ability to scrutinise and direct technology’s broader social impact. This requires an interdisciplinary approach, integrating perspectives from politics, economics, and social sciences, which is central to SMU’s educational philosophy. In highlighting SMU’s intentionality of using technology to create more personalised, interactive and experiential experiences for students, she reminded the audience that technology should not be used as an end in itself. Instead, it should be harnessed as a tool to create value for society and humanity at large.

The emphasis on technology's role in education reflects SMU's ongoing commitment to creating a more just and inclusive educational landscape through relevant initiatives.

Prof Lim also played a key role, moderating the panel titled "Navigating a Fairer Future of Work for All”. Prof Lim was joined by Feon Ang, Managing Director, APAC, LinkedIn;  Helen Duce, CEO, Include Consulting PTE ; Ian Lee, Group Executive Committee Member; President, Geographic Regions; President, Adecco Asia Pacific, Adecco Group APAC Pte Ltd; and Ulrike Wieduwilt, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates Singapore Pte Ltd; where they explored the critical role of diversity in fostering innovation and driving economic growth.

Prof Lim Sun Sun moderating the panel titled "Navigating a Fairer Future of Work  for All”

Prof Lim shared, “Technology can help to make workplaces more inclusive by democratising access to skills. But the organisation must celebrate and valorise diversity, equitability, and inclusion before introducing technological tools and solutions.”

Prof Lim Sun Sun moderating the panel titled "Navigating a Fairer Future of Work  for All”

Diversity of thought and experience breeds creativity, leading to solutions that better address the needs of a complex and evolving workforce. By promoting gender equality and inclusivity within organisations, companies unlock a wealth of potential and pave the way for a more prosperous future.

Convening over 500 diverse leaders and experts from public and private sectors, the Women's Forum Singapore 2024 championed education as a driver of inclusion. The forum focused on the interplay between technology and education, exploring its impact on critical areas like climate change, healthcare, the future of work, entrepreneurship, feminist diplomacy, and financial empowerment for women.

This event served as a platform for meaningful discussions aimed at shaping a future where education fosters empowered individuals and diverse, thriving workplaces – a vision fully embraced by SMU.