Offering skill-based diplomas

Published Date: 11 May 2021 06:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Wan Rizal, Jalan Besar GRC


To ask the Minister for Education with regard to the drop in polytechnic graduates employed within six months of graduation amid COVID-19 job market disruptions, whether the Ministry will consider to re-evaluate the current offerings of specialised diplomas and instead put greater emphasis on diplomas that offer broad skills that can be generalised across other disciplines.


1. The polytechnics review their course offerings regularly to ensure their courses are relevant to the needs of industry. This includes merging and streamlining courses over the recent years, to provide graduates with more breadth, versatility and career options. Over the past few years, the polytechnics have also introduced Common Entry Programmes (CEPs) to allow students to pick up broad skills from a cluster of disciplines, before subsequently specialising.

2. There is still a role for some specialised diplomas, especially those that equip students with the necessary skills to join specific vocations or professions. Examples are the Nursing and Early Childhood Education courses, both of which enjoy strong industry demand.

3. Nevertheless, we recognise the need for all polytechnic students to be equipped with a broader set of life skills regardless of the courses they are enrolled in. This is why the polytechnics offer common modules in areas like communication and design thinking, and also provide opportunities for multidisciplinary learning. For example, all Year Three students in Ngee Ann Polytechnic work on projects in multidisciplinary teams with peers from at least two other academic schools. This helps students better appreciate the connections between different disciplines and their application to real-world contexts and problems. The polytechnics have also introduced new electives for students to equip them in cross-sector skills, such as data analytics and data visualisation.

4. Our institutions will continue to refresh their curriculum and course offerings, to equip all graduates with the skills and attitudes needed to succeed in the future workplace. This is an area of emphasis in our ongoing review of applied education and pathways.

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