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22 August 20

Collaborating with Specialised Foreign Institutions


1.           MOE and the local polytechnics are exploring how the polytechnics can link up with specialised foreign institutions to offer degree courses in niche areas of an applied and practice-oriented nature. Such collaborations will provide opportunities for Singaporeans with special talents in these areas to go as far as they can. It will contribute to the diverse pool of highly trained manpower needed to meet new economic opportunities. The Prime Minister announced this initiative at the 2005 National Day Rally.

2.           These degree programmes would be offered in the name of the specialised foreign institutions, but can be offered locally in collaboration with the polytechnics.  They will have an applied and practice orientation which differentiates them from degree programmes in NUS and NTU, in the Science and Technology, Services or Creative fields.

3.           Over the years, Singapore’s polytechnic sector has played a significant role in producing quality manpower in the technical and professional areas to meet the needs of our economy.  Our polytechnics are excellent teaching institutions offering diploma programmes that are well regarded in the employment market, and will remain so.  Moving forward, they must continue to enhance the quality of education and the opportunities they provide students, while supporting a more diverse, knowledge-based economy.

4.           MOE believes that our polytechnics can deepen their capabilities to provide quality education with an applied focus beyond diploma level, in selective areas of applied learning.  In the tertiary sector of many countries, the presence of specialised institutions offering degree programmes with an applied and practice orientation has produced distinct groups of highly-skilled people who are in great demand by industry. These specialised institutions typically provide ample opportunities for students to undertake authentic industrial projects under the supervision of faculty members who are practising professionals and experts in their respective fields.

5.          A few examples of such specialised institutions are described below. They are not intended as a list of institutions that the local polytechnics will tie up with, but as examples of the type of institutions offering degrees of a practice-oriented nature that are highly valued in the market. 

a.         DigiPen Institute of Technology (USA) which specialises in 3D animation and computing, emphasises the development of their students’ abilities to be ready for the highest demand of the market, moving beyond just providing well rounded, academic foundations.  Students hone their skills on producing actual games and animations based on strict schedules and aimed at equipping them with the practices and habits that ensure successful professional careers.  Graduates of DigiPen are animators and game developers that are the benchmarks of the industry. 


b.         The University of Arts London (UK) is made up of five internationally renowned colleges that focus on art, design, fashion, communication and performing arts.  The University offers a wide range of academic and professional programmes, from certificates and short courses to undergraduate degree programmes in specialist areas.  Strong ties are maintained with industry through consultancy and contract research services, student placement and internship programmes. 


c.         The Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences at the University of Melbourne (Australia) is part of the Faculty of Science and offers a 5-year course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Optometry, as well as a Bachelor of Science with a major in Vision Sciences.  The Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences is one of the world’s leading schools of optometry with excellent reputation in teaching and research.  It is co-located with a large public clinic, which provides students with the opportunity for practical experience and exposure. 


d.         The Maritime Institute Willem Barentsz (Netherlands) is a world renowned nautical college well-equipped with simulator facilities, laboratories, and training vessel which caters to top-quality maritime education and training.  Life at the Institute closely simulates that of shipboard practice, where students are prepared for the demands of the modern shipping industry.  Students are also given opportunities within their time of study to go out to sea for six months in their third year for their practical experience. 


e.         Culinary Institute of America (USA) allows students to acquire substantial practical experience in the course of learning through participation in industry-related seminars and working in many on-campus restaurants.  The Institute employs more than 130 chef-instructors and other faculty members representing 16 countries, many of whom are industry leaders who are winners of the Culinary World Cup or Gold Medal at the Culinary Olympics where the elite of cooks from all over the world meet and compete, akin to the Olympic Games[1].  Many of them are also published authors of textbooks and cookbooks. 


f.          University of Nevada, Las Vegas (USA) has focused internship and mentor programmes to prepare students to enter the growing global hospitality and leisure services industry.  Students can work in the university's Hospitality Research and Development Centre to gain hands-on experience in market research, facility layout and design, tourism development, executive development and other planning and operations of a resort or hotel business.  Students can also travel and explore the global aspects of the industry, as well as benefit from faculty members and practising professionals who are the leading authorities in their areas of expertise.


[1] The Culinary World Cup, held in Luxembourg every four years, takes place during the five-day International Trade Fair for Gastronomy. The international culinary event - similar in prestige to the international Culinary Olympics held in Germany every four years - invites more than 900 chefs from about 28 counties of Europe, Africa, America, Asia and Australia to compete as teams for the Culinary World Cup for civilian chefs. Like the athletic Olympics with the official contests and rankings in sports that precede the games every four years, the culinary "cup" competitions gather the elite of cooks from all over the world to meet and compete for the Culinary World Cup. The hundreds of chefs cook as national and regional teams, teams from well-known hotels and restaurants, and teams from hotel high-schools.


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