Industry readiness of our graduates

Published Date: 04 July 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Chua Chu Kang GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) in light of our universities attaining high global rankings (a) whether employers from industries have found our graduates to be more industry ready; and (b) whether the level of satisfaction among students on the quality of teaching have also improved over the past five years.

Response

1. I agree with the Member that it is important for our Autonomous Universities (AUs) to teach their students well, to ensure that their graduates are industry-ready. The AUs pay close attention to teaching quality and industry outcomes.

2. On teaching quality, our AUs administer regular surveys to collect timely feedback. Data from these surveys are used to review curriculum and evaluate the teaching contributions of faculty members. Student feedback on teaching has been consistently positive across the AUs. A key factor for consideration in the appraisal of faculty members is their teaching performance.

3. In addition, in the area of curriculum design, the AUs constantly engage and collaborate with industry partners to keep their course content relevant. Compulsory internship and industry project components within the curriculum give students opportunities to strike a balance between theory and practice, academic knowledge and skills, and enhance their work readiness.

4. As for industry outcomes, the best affirmation is the employability of graduates. That is also why the AUs conduct annual Graduate Employment Surveys. Over the past five years, the surveys have reflected good employment outcomes of our local graduates, with around nine in ten university graduates in the labour force securing jobs within six months after completing their final examinations. Their gross median salaries have also increased over the years.

5. Global rankings do take some of these considerations into account. For example, the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings surveys the universities’ reputation amongst employers. The Times Higher Education rankings surveys academics evaluation of teaching quality. These are useful, but we need to be clear that they are neither adequate nor fully reflective of the priorities of AUs and the full economic and social mission of the AUs.

5. Hence, MOE’s longstanding position is that global rankings is only a reference. There are many important aspects of a university education, including teaching quality, industry relevance, employment outcome, and development of innovation and enterprise, that are not well captured in global ranking methodologies. Members of the house can be assured that MOE will look way beyond international rankings to ensure that teaching quality and work readiness remain high.

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