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Update on Stakeholder Engagements Conducted as Part of the Review of Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education

Published Date: 11 July 2021 03:00 PM

News Press Releases

1. Chaired by Second Minister for Education, Dr Maliki Osman, the Review of Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education was set up to study how to better support the diverse and unique strengths and aspirations of students and graduates from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) and the polytechnics. This is to ensure that they are equipped with relevant skills to remain resilient and thrive in the future economy.

Engagement Findings

2. Since January 2021, and through the course of over 40 engagement sessions, the Review has consulted around 1,200 stakeholders, including students, alumni, educators, parents and employers. Key themes centred around more flexibility of pathways to support diverse learner profiles, building capacity for longer term career resilience, investing in life skills, and more integrated support for students with higher needs.

3. A summary of the views and suggestions raised by stakeholders is in the table below. They are important stakeholder input into the Review process, and will be deliberated on and studied, before the recommendations are finalised in the coming year.

Table 1: Summary of views and suggestions raised during the engagement process

More flexibility of pathways to support diverse learner profiles

  • Students could be better enabled to pace their progress according to their learning needs and styles. Suggestions were raised on how to strengthen flexibility of ITE and polytechnic pathways, to better support diverse learner profiles.
  • While secondary school students are provided with adequate support to make informed decisions about their post-secondary pathways, some students may require additional support and guidance to ascertain their strengths and interests during their studies in ITE and the polytechnics. Suggestions were made to strengthen students' understanding of industry, extending beyond existing education and career guidance (ECG) efforts, internships and attachments.
  • Students could be better enabled and supported to pursue their passions and interests outside of the classroom. An example would be to support students who wish to embark on entrepreneurship or start-up ventures, with early exposure to industry.

Building capacity for longer-term career resilience

  • Stakeholders agreed on the importance to strike a balance between near-term job-readiness upon graduation and longer-term career resilience, in order to thrive amidst industry transformations.
  • Courses and curricula must remain industry-relevant and prepare students well for jobs in the future economy. Students should be given sufficient broad-based skills exposure to be adaptable, and at the same time be well positioned to pivot and seize new opportunities in emerging growth areas or adjacent sectors, over the course of their careers.
  • Given the increasing pace of industry transformation, students' career pathways might be less linear than in the past. There was broad consensus that ECG should be refreshed to better support students in navigating the evolving job landscape and seizing emerging opportunities in adjacent fields.

Investing in life skills

  • Feedback from industry, students and educators affirmed the importance of the curricula striking a good balance between preparing students for the workplace and life outside of the workplace.
  • Some examples of life skills that resonated well across stakeholder groups included mental resilience and self-management, communications and collaborative skills, and cross-cultural collaboration as these skills have relevance across jobs and disciplines.
  • To help students better appreciate the relevance of these skillsets, stakeholders suggested that the teaching of life skills could be better integrated into the course curricula.

More integrated support for students with higher needs

  • More holistic and seamless support can be provided for students with higher needs and/or from challenging backgrounds, who could benefit from more personalised engagement. There is room to strengthen coordination across different parties in the student support ecosystem, including government agencies, community groups, parents and institutions' staff.
  • Institutions' staff are critical touchpoints in this effort and should be equipped with the necessary training to provide support effectively, and in a timely and sensitive manner.

4. These ideas helped to shape the enhanced three-year curricular structure in ITE, leading directly to a Higher Nitec certification. Under this enhancement, students will be exposed to two industry attachment stints to strengthen their workplace capabilities. The enhanced curricular structure also provides flexibility as some students with the abilities and aptitude will be able to attain a Higher Nitec certification in a shorter duration of two years. Other recommendations will be released progressively.