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Enhanced Flexibility, Industry Readiness and Support for Polytechnic and ITE Students

Published Date: 07 January 2022 10:00 AM

News Press Releases

Industry and community partners invited to collaborate on work experience opportunities for students

1 Second Minister for Education, Dr Maliki Osman, led a Review on Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education to study how to better support the diverse needs and aspirations of students and graduates from the polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) while ensuring they are equipped with relevant skills to remain resilient and thrive in the future economy. The Review's recommendations cover three areas:

  1. Enhancing students' career readiness and resilience for the future economy;
  2. Recognising diversity and providing more flexibility and opportunities for all; and
  3. Building stronger and more integrated support systems for all students.

2 Besides members of the Review Committee (see Annex B), over 2,000 stakeholders were consulted through physical and online engagement sessions, and the engagement findings1 helped to shape the Review's recommendations. The polytechnics and ITE will progressively implement the recommendations from Academic Year (AY) 2022.

Enhancing Students' Career Readiness and Resilience for the Future Economy

Recommendation 1: Enhance ITE's curricular structure

3 As announced in April 20212, ITE's existing Nitec and Higher Nitec programmes will be streamlined into a three-year ITE education pathway. Students under the enhanced ITE curricular structure will go through a three-year curriculum leading directly to a Higher Nitec qualification. The first phase of implementation of the enhanced curricular structure will start with eight courses from the AY 2022 intake.

Recommendation 2: Expand opportunities for deeper industry exposure

4 Industry exposure is a key feature of applied education. Under ITE's enhanced curricular structure, students will be exposed to two linked industry attachments (IA) – a three-month IA in Year 2 and a six-month IA in Year 3, with the latter building on the learning outcomes and workplace competencies of the former. ITE will also engage employers to play a more active role in training students by appointing experienced workplace mentors. The polytechnics will explore options for students to take on additional industry exposure opportunities beyond the compulsory third-year internship. These include job shadowing and short job stints prior to Year 3 or during the vacation periods.

5 The polytechnics and ITE recognise the importance of strong industry partnerships and will continue to engage industry partners to curate quality workplace exposure opportunities for students. We welcome industry partners to offer more opportunities for our polytechnic and ITE students at: https://go.gov.sg/call-to-action-partners.

Recommendation 3: Strengthen LifeSkills competency development

6 Through a revised LifeSkills curriculum, polytechnics and ITE will better equip students with skills and competencies to help them navigate work and life (see Annex A). This curriculum develops competencies such as critical thinking, communication and engagement skills, as well as self-awareness and mental resilience. It also seeks to broaden students' perspectives on local and international issues in a globalised and interconnected world.

Recognising Diversity and Providing More Flexibility and Opportunities for All

7 We have continued to increase the flexibility and diversity in our applied education pathways, to provide opportunities for students to succeed, and allow them to discover and pursue their interests. ITE students today can look forward to a range of upgrading opportunities through ITE's Work-Study Diploma and Technical Diploma offerings. The polytechnics have also expanded Common Entry Programmes (CEPs)3 to give more students time to explore their interests in a course cluster before choosing to specialise in a specific diploma programme.

Recommendation 4: Provide additional flexibility for polytechnic students in their curriculum

8 Beyond multiple pathways, flexibility within the curriculum will cater to diverse learner profiles. Currently, the polytechnic curriculum is anchored around a three-year diploma programme, designed to provide students with the required industry relevant skills. The polytechnics will explore having a more flexible curriculum for selected students who would benefit from spreading out their learning over more than three years, such as more time to build a stronger academic foundation, or flexibility to pursue other interests, such as sports competitions or entrepreneurship activities. In addition, the polytechnics will continue to provide students with opportunities to stretch themselves, such as through the provision of more advanced electives or minor programmes.

Building Stronger and More Integrated Support Systems for All Students

9 In recognition of the growing and more complex needs of our students, as we enhance curricula and introduce more flexibility in educational pathways, the ecosystem of support also needs to be strengthened.

Recommendation 5: Strengthen student support measures for students with higher needs

10 The polytechnics and ITE have continued to develop and enhance their student support systems, ranging from the provision of financial aid to counselling services. To ensure students with complex needs can receive the necessary support in a more timely and effective manner, the polytechnics and ITE will study how to enhance coordination of care and support for these students, both internally across academic staff, counsellors and financial aid offices, and externally with community partners.

11 The polytechnics and ITE will also enhance pastoral care support for students by enhancing training for Personal Tutors (PTs) so that PTs will be better equipped to identify early signs of distress and provide timely support. Further, institutions will explore the provision of more dedicated time for PTs to check in with students.

12 The polytechnics and ITE welcome community partners who wish to contribute to the holistic ecosystem of support for students by partnering or volunteering with the institutions. Community partners may indicate their interest at: https://go.gov.sg/call-to-action-partners.

Recommendation 6: Enhance Post-Graduation Career Guidance

13 Education and Career Guidance (ECG) will be enhanced to support students as they enter the workforce or pursue further studies. The polytechnics and ITE will improve outreach to graduates who would benefit from additional support in their transition, including those who have completed National Service, to provide advice on jobs and upgrading opportunities that are suited to their strengths and interests.

  1. https://go.gov.sg/egmt11jul

  2. https://go.gov.sg/itecs30apr

  3. Announced at the Committee of Supply 2021, CEP offerings at the polytechnics were expanded to include the Arts, Design & Media and Sciences clusters. More details: https://go.gov.sg/cepcos21