Rethinking Education is a forum that aims to critically discuss the state of and assumptions underlying our current education system and consequently highlight how we can better define/ conceptualise education as we progress into the rapidly-changing 21st century. It brings together prominent experts from diverse fields to engage with questions that are often taken for granted in today’s society: What is our society’s current understanding of education? Does education need to be reinvented in light of the ever-changing demands of the working world? What does an education in the 21st Century mean?

This forum does not aim to provide concrete answers to such questions. On the contrary, it seeks to provide varied perspectives and a platform to discuss these pertinent issues, for students, educators and parents alike.

Professor Charles Bailyn (Moderator)

Professor Charles Bailyn is Yale-NUS’ inaugural Dean of Faculty. He is also the A. Bartlett Giamatti Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University.

Professor Bailyn was an undergraduate at Yale (Class of 1981) and did graduate work at Cambridge and Harvard University, receiving his PhD from Harvard in 1987. His PhD thesis on X-ray emitting binary stars received the Trumpler award for best North American PhD thesis in astronomy. After three years as a member of Harvard’s Society of Fellows, he returned to Yale as a faculty member in 1990, and has been there ever since, serving six years as Astronomy department chair (1999-2005), and two stints as Director of Undergraduate Studies totalling 10 years. He was on the steering committee of the Committee on Yale College Education, which carried out a complete review of the Yale College undergraduate curriculum from 2001 to 2003, and he served twice as Chair of the Yale College Teaching & Learning Committee. 

Professor O'Keefe (Speaker)

Paul A. O’Keefe, Ph.D. is a social psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology at YaleNUS College. He is also Director of the Mindsets & Motivation Lab, which focuses on research pertaining to goal pursuit with particular attention to motivational factors, such as interest, implicit self-theories, and self-regulation.

Prof. O’Keefe earned a bachelors degree in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000. After graduation, he joined the Yale University Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise as a research assistant where he worked with Robert J. Sternberg and Elena L. Grigorenko. In 2009, he completed his doctoral training in social psychology at Duke University where he studied under James Y. Shah and Lisa Linnenbrink-Garcia. He then took a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University before being awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellowship, a title he held at Stanford University working with Carol S. Dweck.

Ms. Sumitra Pasupathy (Speaker)


Ms. Sumitra Pasupathy is a senior executive with close to 20 year track record in initiating, managing and leading innovation work globally in the creative and education sector. Most recently, she co-founded an international award winning independent non-profit Playeum, The Children's Centre for Creativity in Singapore to champion children through play and creativity. The organisation has received several international awards including Winning the British Council Lien Foundation "Creativity for Social Change" Award and the Lego Foundation "Pacesetter" from the Play to Learn Challenge. 

Ms. Sumitra Pasupathy is the Country Director of Ashoka Singapore and Malaysia. Ashoka is a global community of 3000 social entrepreneurs (Ashoka Fellows), which include two Nobel Laureates. Sumitra is the social entrepreneur in residence at INSEAD, The British Council Lien Foundation ELEVATE Fellow, RSA Fellow and District Councillor of the South West Community Development Council.

Prior to entering the social impact space, Sumitra has had close to 15 years of professional experience in R&D, product development, business and corporate development (including Mergers & Acquistion) in FMCG and Media sector. Her experiences internationally were with Kraft (UK), Procter & Gamble (Belgium), Bertelsmann AG (Germany, UK, US) and lastly at Random House UK. 

The mother of three boys who are 11,9 and 4 years old; is atrained Chemical Engineer from Cambridge (MEng) with an MBA from INSEAD with several patents and a deep rooted passion for the children, change-making and skills development. 

Dr Mohamad Shamsuri Juhani (Speaker)

Dr Mohamad Shamsuri Juhari received his PhD in Education from the University of Birmingham, UK. Prior to this, he attained his BA and Masters in Applied Sociology from NUS as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from NIE.

Currently, Dr Sham is the Principal of an international school in Malaysia as well as an Associate Lecturer with SIM University. Before taking up his current portfolio, he was Director of the Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs. Dr Sham has spent much of his career in the education service where he amassed more than 15 years of experience teaching students from a variety of backgrounds and academic talents ranging from ‘at-risk’ youths to those in the Gifted Education Programme. Dr Sham’s research interests are focused on the progress and development of minority communities specifically in the field of Emancipatory and Transformatory Education, Critical Thinking and Interfaith Discourse.

Dr Sham is also a member of MDA’s Films Appeal Committee.