Learn for Life - Equipping Ourselves for a Changing World: Multiple Pathways, New Opportunities

Published Date: 03 March 2021 07:00 PM

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The Ministry of Education (MOE) remains committed in ensuring that the education system provides our students with greater flexibility and opportunities to discover and develop their strengths and interests.

Update on Full-Subject-Based Banding Pilot

2. As part of our efforts to provide more flexibility for students to customise their secondary education experience, 28 of our secondary schools have been piloting Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB) since last year. The initial findings from these 28 schools have been encouraging. The reorganisation of form classes into mixed form classes of students from different backgrounds has helped more students forge friendships with their peers across courses, with teachers encouraging more active lesson participation and peer interaction. Under the pilot, students also have the opportunity to take up Humanities subjects at a more demanding level from Secondary 2. We found that these students enjoyed the lessons and were able to progress well in their learning.

3. MOE will continue to draw from the experiences of these pilot schools to better support new schools coming on board. In 2022, about 30 more secondary schools will implement Full SBB. The remaining secondary schools will implement Full SBB over 2023 and 2024. More details on the list of schools will be released later.

Review of Post-Secondary Education Pathways

4. In line with Full SBB, we are also reviewing post-secondary education pathways to increase its porosity, so that students have more opportunities aligned to their strengths and interests. MOE will study if the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) can be expanded to cater to a wider group of learners with different strengths and pace of learning, beyond the current profile of Secondary 4 N(A) students. The expansion of PFP will continue to ensure that students admitted through this programme can cope with the rigour of the post-secondary pathway. More information will be provided in due course.

Review of Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education

5. Our post-secondary pathways in the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) place strong emphasis on applied education to equip our graduates with industry-relevant skills which prepare them for the workforce. Second Minister for Education, Dr Maliki Osman, is leading a review of opportunities and pathways in applied education to better support the diverse and unique strengths and aspirations of polytechnic and ITE students. The review is in recognition of the continued need to prepare graduates to meet the evolving needs of industry and growing diversity of student aspirations. In addition to strengthening institutions' curricular offerings, another area of focus will be to balance immediate-term job readiness and employment with career resilience in the future economy.

6. The review will also study ways to expand community partnerships and programming to better support and uplift students with higher needs so that disadvantaged ITE and polytechnic students will be able to complete their studies and help reach their educational potential.

Enhancing ITE's Curricular Structure

7. One key aspect of the review of polytechnic and ITE education, is to enhance ITE's curricular structure. ITE has served generations of students well by equipping them with deep technical skills relevant to the workforce. We have also progressively expanded upgrading opportunities for ITE graduates, in line with our commitment to provide opportunities for all ITE graduates to upgrade beyond a Nitec qualification over the course of their careers by 2030.

8. We will further streamline the ITE curriculum to allow more students to attain a Higher Nitec qualification within a shorter time to give ITE graduates greater access to upgrading opportunities, while ensuring they remain nimble to meet the needs of industry transformation. More details will be released in the coming months.

Expansion of Common Entry Programmes

9. Our polytechnics will expand the Common Entry Programme (CEP) offerings from the Academic Year 2023 intake to include the Arts, Design & Media and Sciences clusters. This adds to the existing suite of CEPs offered in the Engineering, Business, and Information & Digital Technologies clusters. Student feedback on the existing CEPs have been strong, and they have indicated that the CEPs enable them to better appreciate the demands of each course, and discover their interests and strengths before deciding on their specific diploma course. With the expansion, more students will be able to better benefit from CEPs. See Annex A for an illustration of CEPs.

Strengthening Tertiary Arts Education Pathways

10. Singapore's future economy will be innovation-led, requiring a diverse talent pool comprising not only STEM talent but also creative talent from the arts and humanities. Our tertiary arts education pathways have also produced graduates who contribute in different parts of society and the economy, and have been key in shaping Singapore's creative and cultural sectors.

11. Today, LASALLE College of the Arts (LASALLE) and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) offer specialised arts, design and media education in Singapore at the diploma and degree levels. They are Singapore's homegrown arts institutions with rich history that have made their mark in our creative landscape, and have grown from strength to strength. Today, they award degrees in partnership with renowned universities such as Goldsmiths, the Royal College of Music, and the University of the Arts London.

12. MOE will be taking steps to strengthen tertiary arts education pathways. With the support of MCCY, we will work with LASALLE and NAFA to establish an alliance between both institutions. This will be a new private university of the arts, supported by the Government. Within the alliance, LASALLE and NAFA will remain separate legal entities and distinct colleges offering their own programmes, ensuring their unique heritages continue to be cherished. A new central body will be set up within the alliance, to drive synergies between both colleges and support the awarding of degrees in the name of the new university.

13. The new university will leverage the strengths of both LASALLE and NAFA, to grow partnerships with the cultural sector in Singapore and build on their international networks, offering a stronger value proposition to students and stakeholders. Greater collaboration between both institutions will enhance staff and student experiences, through greater opportunities for cross-institution modules and projects, joint academic collaborations, and industry partnerships and attachments.

14. MOE has appointed a Pro-Tem Committee to work closely with LASALLE and NAFA, to develop the structure and operating model of the future university of the arts. Chaired by Professor Chan Heng Chee, the Pro-Tem Committee includes representatives from LASALLE, NAFA, academia, government agencies and industry. The composition and Terms of Reference of the Pro-Tem Committee can be found in Annex B. The Pro-Tem Committee is expected to complete its work by early 2023. The future university of the arts is expected to be set up within the next three to four years.

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