MOE's plans to increase AU IDT intake

Published Date: 26 July 2021 07:00 PM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song, Aljunied GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (a) how many Singaporean students have applied for computer science degrees in each autonomous university in each of the last 10 years; (b) of these, how many have been offered admission in each year and each university; (c) why has the number of local graduates holding computer science degrees been insufficient to meet demand in the local IT sector; and (d) what plans have been considered to increase the intake of computer science students to meet industry demand for tech talent.

Response

1. The Ministry of Education works closely with the Ministry of Manpower and economic agencies to plan the supply of degree places across different course clusters every year. The Ministry takes into account their inputs on industry demand and national manpower needs across different sectors, as well as students' interests and aspirations.

2. Given the rise in industry demand for tech talent, we have increased the number of places in Information & Digital Technologies (IDT) degree courses over the past ten years. Today, on average across the AUs, about half of the applications received are offered a place. A single applicant may put in multiple application across the AUs.

3. The number of local IDT undergraduate places rose four-fold from 800 in 2010 to 3,100 in 2020. As a proportion of all AU places, the number of IDT undergraduate places increased from 7% in 2010 to 17% in 2020. The breakdown of the 2020 IDT intake of 3,100 places across the AUs was: 1,200 in National University of Singapore (NUS), 600 in Nanyang Technological University (NTU), about 500 each in Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), and about 100 each in Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS).

4. Apart from students in IDT courses, some undergraduates in other AU courses, for example engineering, also take up tech jobs when they graduate. According to Graduate Employment Surveys conducted by the AUs in the last five years, about half of the fresh graduates employed in tech jobs did not major in IDT, and they take up roles such as Software Engineer and Data Analyst. This is because the AUs have been facilitating students from various disciplines to take on IDT-related minors or second majors.

5. Our industry needs cannot be met by fresh graduates alone. Even as we grow the number of IDT places overall, and encourage more students to take on second majors or minors in IDT, we have to balance this with the manpower needs of other sectors, given our shrinking birth cohorts and limited graduate supply. To supplement this, MOE and sector agencies are ramping up Continuing Education and Training (CET) pathways significantly. This includes expanding TechSkills Accelerator (TeSA) programmes under IMDA, which has placed over 8,000 Singaporeans into tech jobs since its inception in 2016.

6. MOE will continue to work closely with economic agencies and the AUs to further strengthen the local talent pipeline for tech jobs in the Singapore economy.

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