Parliamentary Replies

March 01, 2018

Reviewing Polytechnic course offerings

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Dr Lim Wee Kiak, Sembawang GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) (a) how frequently does the Ministry review the courses offered by the polytechnics so as to stay relevant to the needs of industries; (b) what are the two least popular courses; and (c) how many courses have been cancelled last year because of a lack of student interest.

Response

1. The polytechnics strive to ensure that their courses are relevant to the needs of industry. Every year, they review the range of their diploma course offerings, and make changes to drop or start new courses. In addition, every 3 years or so, they do an in-depth review of the curriculum of each course. For courses in sectors such as Information Technology (IT), the curriculum is reviewed more frequently given the fast changing nature of the industry.

2. Popularity of a course can be measured in different ways – such as ratio of applications to places, or the aggregate score of the last student posted to the course. Popularity of courses change from year to year, so I rather not disclose which are the two least popular ones this year. It is also a disservice to students currently in these courses.

3. In 2017, 7 full-time courses were retired, partly due to a lack of interest from students, and partly to re-position them in order to meet the needs of industry better.

4. I will address this issue further at the upcoming Committee of Supply debates.