Parliamentary Replies

August 13, 2012

Caps on foreign student numbers at polytechnics

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Baey Yam Keng, Tampines GRC


To ask the Minister for Education (a) whether there are any caps on the number or proportion of foreign students in (i) each of our polytechnics, and (ii) each course within a polytechnic; (b) if so, what are these caps currently; and (c) how is the Ministry meeting the rising aspirations of Singaporeans pursuing a diploma education.


International Student Caps at the Polytechnics

There is a 10% cap on the number of international students in each of our polytechnics. These places for international students are over and above those reserved for local students. International students are subject to more stringent entry criteria than Singaporeans.

There is a smaller proportion of international students in diploma courses that are more popular among Singaporeans, and the converse is true for diploma courses that are relatively less popular among Singaporeans.

International students at our polytechnics allow our local students to develop cross-cultural skills that are important in today’s globalised economy. Having gone through our rigorous polytechnic system and are better assimilated to our Singapore culture and context, they also augment the skilled manpower in our key economic sectors, such as manufacturing, healthcare and technology.

Providing More Opportunities for Post-Secondary Progression

Currently, about 43% of each Primary One cohort attend our polytechnics, and we are growing capacity in our system to cater to about 45% of the cohort by 2015. More opportunities are also provided for ITE upgraders to progress to our polytechnics. We expect about one in four ITE graduates to proceed to a diploma by 2015.

From 2013, MOE will offer two new progression pathways for Sec 4 Normal (Academic) students to access polytechnic education.

  • A one-year Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) conducted by the polytechnics prior to entering the diploma course;

  • An enhanced “through-train” ITE to Polytechnic scheme where N(A) students can proceed on to polytechnic after ITE.