Parliamentary Replies

September 03, 2019

Support for students in polytechnics and ITE, especially those from lower income backgrounds, to participate in overseas programmes

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Saktiandi Supaat, Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education with regard to giving our ITE and polytechnic students more regional exposure under the Global Education Programme (a) whether there will be more funding resources to support overseas internship opportunities; (b) whether there is concrete and strategic support for regional interaction and exchanges in the cultural, arts and sports fields; and (c) how effective is the opportunity fund in supporting students from low-income families.

Response

1. The Global Education Programme at ITE offers students a wide range of opportunities for overseas exposure, including internships, student exchanges, community services and cultural enrichment. Our polytechnics also have similar programmes.

2. The polytechnics and ITE fund these programmes with support from MOE and other government agencies, providing subsidies for airfare, accommodation and other out-of-pocket costs that students incur. It is also common for polytechnics and ITE to tap on funds raised from donors.

3. Singaporean students from lower income households can also tap on the MOE Opportunity Fund for additional assistance and funding. In 2018, about 3,500 polytechnic and ITE students benefitted from the Opportunity Fund for overseas exposure trips. This is an increase of about 33% from two years ago.

4. In addition, MOE and other government agencies also provide support and funding that encourage our students to venture into the region for longer overseas internships. These include the Enterprise Singapore’s Young Talent Programme which will soon be subsumed under the upcoming Global Ready Talent Programme, and MOE’s Global Innovation Alliance Innovators Academy programme, which targets internships in overseas start-ups.

5. As for culture, sports and arts, students do participate in overseas arts performances, friendly matches and other sports competitions with their counterparts in the region. The students typically take part in such activities as part of their co-curricular activities.

6. The level of funding support has been adequate to help our polytechnic and ITE students take up overseas exposure programmes. Today, about half of our polytechnic students and more than a quarter of our ITE students have participated in overseas exposure trips. If the member is aware of any particular case that needs help, please let us know and we will certainly follow up with the students or the students may want to approach the management of the ITE or polytechnic campus.