Cong Rong, Deputy CIO / Deputy Director (Schools, Infrastructure), Information Technology Branch, GovTech, Singapore

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech 2018 Special Report.

How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I was given the opportunity to lead the Schools Infrastructure team under the IT Branch of the Ministry of Education to provide ICT infrastructure and support for 33,000 teachers and 430,000 students over 350 schools (including primary, secondary and junior colleges) in Singapore.

We have implemented the Schools Standard ICT Operating Environment (SSOE) Programme which consolidates the provision and management of ICT infrastructure and services including network, desktops and messaging. It also provides ICT support for all schools for effective teaching and learning anytime and anywhere, achieve operational and cost efficiency, with reduced administrative effort for schools and enhanced security and governance by design, as well as enabling an enterprise view of data for deeper insights.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2018?

Leading the team and working with schools closely to migrate to the new SSOE 2 environment has been the most exciting project in 2018 by transiting schools to a connected ICT ecosystem for learning anytime and anywhere.

SSOE 2 supports every learning moment beyond classrooms with brand new ICT infrastructure and school-wide wireless network. School users have also been provided with a wider range of devices to support T&L, including hybrid 2-in-1 devices for teachers to facilitate efficient lesson conduct and planning.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2018, what would it be?

The definition of completion is not merely about the completion of rollout of the infrastructure, devices and services; it is about the whole customer journey, about whether our users actively use the infrastructure and services provided to achieve better business outcome. Therefore, it is very important to apply design thinking and customer journey mapping even in the infrastructure implementation, as well as incorporating constant user engagement/ feedback gathering and data collection/analytics to adjust the approach for deployment, change management and communications in an agile manner.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2019?

I am particularly interested in data analytics to enable enterprise view of data for deeper insights and continuous enhancement of the infrastructure/services rolled out, as well as biometric login for learning devices using facial recognition to further enhance the digital experience for students and teachers.

What are your priorities for 2019?

For 2019, I will continue to focus on providing robust and scalable ICT infrastructure to support the redefined learning experience for schools and classroom of the future, as well as further standardisation and centralisation of ICT infrastructure, application and support to allow schools to be more focused on Teaching and Learning. With the use of technology such as AI, IoT, data analytics and cloud adoption, the ICT Infrastructure operations and monitoring will be further automated and optimised.

What is one skill that has helped you the most throughout the course of your career?

I would say it is how to stay balanced in all aspects in this ever-changing world with ups and downs, and I am still learning the skill through constant adjustment and reminders to myself to focus on priorities and toil through difficulties.

Coffee, yoga, music... what powers you through your day?

Coffee is definitely a must to start the day right! What powers me through the day is the strong bonding with my team and close collaboration among the team members with the common belief that we are doing something meaningful to mould the future of our nation.