A special report on the future of the state国家未来的特别报告Go East, young bureaucrat向东方学习做官吧！
Emerging Asia can teach the West a lot about government
WHEN people talk about Singapore’s education miracle, they normally think of rows of clever young mathematicians. The hair-design and beauty-therapy training centres at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) are rather different. The walls are covered with pouting models, L’Oréal adverts and television screens. There is a fully fitted-out spa and a hairdressing salon. It all seems rather more “Sex and the City” than Asian values, though the manicurists, pedicurists, cosmetologists and hairdressers toil diligently.
谈起新加坡非凡的教育时，浮现在人们脑海里的是成堆聪明年轻的数学家。而工艺教育学院（Institute of Technical Education, ITE）的发型设计和美容理疗培训中心却与所想大相径庭。中心的墙上到处是嘟着嘴的模特、欧莱雅的广告和电视。中心还有一个装备齐全的SPA馆和美发沙龙。整个的风格看似更像《欲望都市》里的场景，与亚洲品味格格不入，尽管里面的美甲师、足疗师、美容师、理发师可是在勤勤恳恳、辛辛苦苦地干活。
Asked whether he wants to go to university, the holy grail of most Asian families, a young barber called Noel replies that he would rather open a hairdressing salon. Mei Lien wants to set up her own beauty salon; Shuner would like to work in hotels abroad.
Until recently ITE—dubbed “It’s The End” by ambitious middle-class parents—was the dark side of Singaporean education. The city state streams pupils rigorously and is unashamedly elitist: one school claims to send more students to Ivy League universities than any other secondary school in the world. But such a system also produces losers—and many of the bottom third who do not make it to university come to ITE.
在不久之前，工艺教育学院的缩写ITE还被望子成龙的中产阶级家长嘲讽为是“It's The End”（到此为止）的缩写，被视为新加坡教育不光彩的一面。这个城邦国家严格地将学生三六九等分，毫不掩饰其对精英的崇拜：有一所学校号称比世界上其他任意一所中学向常青籘联盟高校输送的学生都多。但是这样一个体制也会生产出失败者——很多排名倒数几名不能上大学的就去了工艺教育学院。
Since the 1990s the government has worked hard to change ITE’s image. It has not only spent a lot of money on new facilities and better teachers but also put a great deal of thought into it, scouring the West for best practice in vocational training. And it has encouraged students who are used to failure to take pride in their work. That has involved discipline (a list displays the names of class-shirkers) but also fun outside the classroom: ITE has sports teams and concerts just like any university.