“It’s not about having all the answers but about asking the right questions.”

42 The Network
4 min readMar 27, 2024


In spite of his extensive experience spear-heading a wide range of different educational programs in Singapore, Koh Chye Soon was taken aback when he discovered 42 and almost instantly fell in love with it. From the school’s pedagogy to the core values, every aspect of 42 resonated deeply with him. Now, as the head of 42 Singapore, he ambitions to transform education in his home country.

Hi Chye Soon, could you share a bit about your background and what attracted you to 42?

For the past 20 years, I’ve been diving into all sorts of educational projects, from non-profit programs to startup ventures. When the opportunity arose to launch 42 Singapore, I was thrilled by the challenge! What drew me in even more was 42’s mission to be different and inclusive. I have seen plenty of educational models in my time, but nothing quite like this. The idea of inclusivity, where you choose with your eyes closed and your heart open, really spoke to me. It’s such a vital part of education. That’s what ultimately got me on board with 42.

What do you like the most about your position as Director of 42 Singapore?

Being at the helm of the campus is like being in tune with the heartbeat of the operation; every decision carries its weight of consequences. For instance, taking a soft stance on plagiarism can compromise both the technical expertise and the reputation of the school.

Our aim is to uphold the core values of 42: openness & inclusivity, excellence in tech, an unwavering commitment to innovation, and ethics. However, navigating the demands of partners, industry expectations, and the global 42 community can be challenging. It’s a bit of a push-pull dynamic: while I enjoy standing by our values, there are moments when students may not appreciate my firmness. Nevertheless, ensuring integrity and fidelity to our principles is non-negotiable.

Which of the 42 values holds the greatest significance for you?

The 42 value which resonates the most with me is “Openness.” Opportunities often abound, yet remain unseen by many. There’s a Chinese proverb that says “高手在民间”, which basically means that talents are just beside you but you may not know them. In essence, 42 serves as one of the means to unearth these hidden gems.

Before you recognize a diamond, you must acknowledge it as carbon. They are identical chemically, but physically different; it’s all about perspective. 42 embodies this openness by approaching students with a non-judgmental mindset. Rather than assessing qualifications, we ask the essential questions: What vision do you have for your life? Are you prepared to commit and persevere? If you don’t know coding, are you willing to learn? If uncertainty arises, will you seek guidance? If setbacks occur, do you possess the resilience to rise again?

We embrace individuals from all walks of life in our pursuit to discover exceptional talent. This ethos is not merely about inclusivity; it’s a beacon of hope, signaling that everyone deserves a chance. This philosophy deeply resonates with me.

What is your vision for the future of education?

I don’t believe that robots will take over the world, but I firmly believe that education plays a crucial role in nurturing human creativity. 42 serves as an excellent avenue for achieving just that. By fostering inclusivity and providing a supportive environment, it empowers individuals to unlock their potential and pursue their aspirations with determination. While I may not be around to witness it in the next hundred years, I am confident that human ingenuity is what will keep the next generations alive.

42 is really fascinating in that way. Training is not just about getting diplomas, it’s about acquiring skills. Nowadays, we talk a lot about ChatGPT: it’s not about having all the answers, but about asking the right questions. I think 42 has done so well over the last 10 years because it’s always innovating to be ahead of the game.

Why would you say your campus is one of the best 42 campus worldwide?

I may be a bit biased (Yes, I am biased…smile!), but I could easily list 10 reasons why 42 Singapore stands out as one of the top campuses. One compelling reason is that it feels like home. Our campus is a safe place where you can express yourself freely, whether it’s shedding tears or venting frustrations, without fear of judgement.

To us, 42 Singapore is more than just a campus, it’s home.



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