Many Paths, New Possibilities – Ready For A New World Together: Supporting Aspirations, Developing Lifelong Learners

Published Date: 05 March 2018 12:00 AM

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 MOE will further develop and nurture the passions and interests of our students through broadening pathways that recognise their diverse aptitudes and strengths. By enabling our students to experience the joy of learning and providing them opportunities for learning by doing, MOE will support them in their pursuit of lifelong learning, and prepare them for a dynamic future, together.


Expansion of Polytechnic Foundation Programme

2. The Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) was introduced in 2013 as an alternative to the Secondary 5 year for students in the Normal (Academic) course. Selected students can choose to spend the year at one of the polytechnics instead. The first graduating cohort of PFP has done very well. The average academic performance achieved by this PFP cohort was found to be better than their peer groups in the polytechnics. Over 35% of PFP students scored a Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 and above, an achievement which is usually attained by only 25% of each polytechnic cohort.

3. MOE will expand the programme from 2019, to benefit more students. The top 15% of the Secondary 4N(A) cohort, will be able to apply for the PFP, up from the current top 10%. The programme’s eligibility requirement will be relaxed from the current ELMAB3 ≤ 111 to 12. With this change, the number of students accepted into the programme every year will increase from about 1,200 today to 1,500.

More Common Entry Programmes in polytechnics, and streamlining the number of polytechnic courses

4. Singapore’s five polytechnics currently offer about 230 diploma courses, with Common Entry Programmes (CEPs) offered in certain broadly defined disciplines such as Engineering and Business. CEPs provide students with the opportunity to learn foundational skills, and be exposed to different specialisations within their chosen discipline, before they decide on one that suits their interests and strengths at the end of their first or second semesters. See Annex A for an illustration of the CEP.

5. In line with the broad Education and Career Guidance (ECG) efforts to better support students in making informed decisions about their pathways, the polytechnics will introduce more CEPs in the Business, and Information & Digital Technologies (IDT) clusters. This will account for about 30% of intakes in those clusters from Academic Year (AY) 2019 onwards.

6. In tandem with the introduction of more foundational skills through CEPs, the polytechnics will also streamline the number of courses they offer. By simplifying course offerings and avoiding over-specificity, the polytechnics will better prepare students to be more versatile in the face of fast-changing sectoral needs. MOE will work with the polytechnics to reduce the number of courses by around 20% over the next two to three years.

Aptitude-Based Admission in ITE

7. Given the more hands-on and vocational nature of ITE courses, ITE will review its admission system to place greater emphasis on the assessment of students’ skills and demonstrated aptitude. Today, there is already an aptitude-based component for admission into ITE. For example, students applying to selected Nitec courses via the Joint Intake Exercise (JIE) are assessed for course-specific aptitudes as part of the selection process. As part of the larger shift in ITE’s admission philosophy to better recognise skills and aptitude, ITE will expand aptitude-based assessment to more courses in the JIE, as a start. This will be implemented in phases from AY2019, starting with selected Nitec courses in Business, Hospitality, and Information and Communications Technology.

8. Concurrently, MOE will build greater flexibility into the ITE Early Admissions Exercise (EAE). ITE EAE is the admission pathway for students who are clear about their interest and strengths, and wish to secure a conditional offer in an ITE course of their choice, prior to the release of their final Nitec, GCE N- or O-Level examination results. Currently, each ITE course can take in up to 30-50% of its intake via EAE. From AY2019, MOE will lift this cap to give ITE more latitude to select and admit students under EAE. The total proportion of students that ITE can take in under EAE will remain at 15%.


Increased Role of the Institutes of Higher Learning in Delivering Continuing Education and Training

9. MOE will expand reskilling and upskilling opportunities, through industry-relevant and bite-sized modular courses. With the introduction of the SkillsFuture Series late last year, the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have taken the lead to offer such modular courses in emerging and critical areas such as data analytics and cyber security. There are currently around 800 courses, and over 4,900 individuals have signed up for them as at February 2018.

10. MOE has also reviewed its funding for full-qualification Postgraduate degree by Coursework (PGC) programmes, which include Master’s Degrees and Graduate Diplomas. For the majority of PGCs that MOE currently funds, International Students will not be subsidised, while Permanent Residents will see a reduction in subsidies. Singapore Citizens will receive the same level of support as before. These changes will be effective from AY2019.

11. The savings of $25 million per year from the review of these PGC subsidies will be channelled towards the expansion of modular courses at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

12. As part of this review and to further support lifelong learning and encourage the deepening of industry-relevant skills, the Autonomous Universities (AUs) are also expanding the range of micro-credentials. These micro-credentials are awarded to provide recognition of an individual’s learning achievements in a focused, industry-relevant niche, without the need to undertake a full degree programme. The AUs will progressively roll these out in the coming years.

  1. ELMAB3 ≤ 11 refers to raw aggregate score of 11 points or better for English, Mathematics, and best 3 subjects. Additional subject specific criteria may apply. For more details, visit

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