Posts Tagged ‘Singapore’

CTE in Singapore: Looking to the Future

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Today we continue our joint series on international CTE practice and programs with Education Week’s Global Learning. This is the second part of Heather Singmaster’s interview with Mr. TAN Seng Hua, Dean, ITE Academy in Singapore and one of the architects of Singapore’s CTE/VET system. Be sure to also read Part 1. 

Q: What are the challenges VET/CTE faces? What are some solutions you are looking to implement?

A: There are multiple challenges faced by CTE globally. First, we need to ensure that the training programs are up-to-date and the curriculum is able to address the skilled manpower (workforce) needs of the economy. Working in close partnership with employers to plan and design the CTE curriculum, developing an authentic learning environment, and providing real work and workplace experience to the students are essential approaches adopted by ITE.

Second, we need to understand the profile of CTE students and their learning behavior to better design pedagogic approaches and enrichment activities to bring out their full potential. Pedagogic innovation to make training fun and engaging will further help to develop and retain the interest of students in CTE, given their preference for activity-based learning. To a certain extent, ITE colleges are designed as “Education Wonderlands”, allowing students to acquire relevant skills and knowledge through fun and authentic learning activities.

Q: What is the role of employers/labor/industry in your VET/CTE system? 

A: Partnership with industry is a key strength of Singapore’s CTE system. Over the years, ITE has established a network of industry partners to support its training programmes. These are industry leaders in their respective fields locally and globally, and they support ITE in the setting of skill standards and curriculum design, workplace training and attachment, skills promotion and marketing, employment and engagement of our graduates, sponsorship of students and industry project collaboration, and constructive feedback on both the performance of our student interns/graduates and the improvement needed in our training structure and contents.

The labor movement in Singapore is also very active in promoting the importance of skills acquisition among their members. Many of the union leaders play the role of “skills champions” to encourage their members to acquire new skills and train for deeper skills to improve their career advancement opportunities and enhance their earning power.

Q: What do you think the future of VET/CTE in Singapore looks like?

A: CTE will continue to be a key component of Singapore’s education system in the years ahead. It is a key strength of our education and human resource development structure and a major contributing factor to the success of Singapore’s economic development over the past few decades.

Moving forward, CTE in Singapore would evolve to further engage the employers in the training of the present and future workforce. While the present college-based CTE system has worked well in the past to prepare the youths for the workplace, given the fast changing economy and technology, the skilled manpower needs of the employers have also changed rapidly. To avoid a potential mismatch of the competency of our graduates with the skills demand of the employers amid this shorter product and technology life-cycle, we need to work in close partnership to redesign our curriculum to enable the acquisition of industry-specific and new skills at the workplace.

Q: What advice do you have for other systems attempting to reform their VET/CTE systems? What are some of the policies in Singapore that could assist others in overcoming the challenges they face in VET/CTE?

A: ITE in Singapore has gone through waves of transformation in the past two decades. We have raised the quality and image of CTE in Singapore and gained the acceptance and recognition by employers, parents, students, and the community as a whole that CTE is a viable post-secondary education option that can prepare youth for a rewarding career.  We have developed three world-class campuses, designed to provide authentic learning environment to support the total development of our students. We have also developed an innovative curriculum structure to better prepare our students for the changing work environment in industry, and creative pedagogy to inject fun learning in CTE. Last but not least, we have put in place a strong and effective academic quality assurance system to instill professional pride and discipline among our CTE leaders and staff to continually improve our CTE system and delivery.

The success of ITE in Singapore is a result of system review and staff competency at all levels. There are many useful lessons that could be shared with the global CTE community. At the national level, there are important policy decisions, which must be addressed to position CTE appropriately in relation to the education and economic development of the nation. At the institution level, the philosophy of education and the strategic focus of the management team will determine the quality and relevance of the programs offered, and at the individual level, the passion and commitment to provide innovative solutions and learning activities will contribute to the success of the CTE system in developing and retaining the interest of students.

Our success story has attracted the interest of many countries globally. We have frequent visit requests from the CTE community globally, and many of these visits ended up with requests for assistance to review/enhance their CTE system and development of their CTE leadership and professional competency. Currently, we have CTE consultancy projects in some 25 countries around the world, and they cover a wide spectrum of areas including CTE Infrastructure Planning and Development, CTE Leadership Development, CTE Technology and Pedagogic Development, CTE Assessment and Certification Systems, and CTE Academic Quality Assurance System.

 Follow the ITE and Heather on Twitter.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

By Katie Fitzgerald in News, Resources
Tags: ,

CTE in Singapore: Education Wonderlands – Part 1

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

We are delighted to announce our partnership with Education Week’s Global Learning blog to bring you a monthly profile of international practice in Career Technical Education (CTE) or Vocational Education and Training (VET), which it is called in many countries. To start us off, Heather Singmaster, the Assistant Director of Education with the Asia Society, interviewed Mr. TAN Seng Hua, Dean, ITE Academy in Singapore and one of the architects of Singapore’s CTE/VET system. This interview will be in two parts, so be sure to check back with us on Friday to learn what Mr. Tan sees as challenges facing CTE around the world, and how to overcome them. 

Q: What is the progression of VET/CTE in Singapore? 

A: Structured as post-secondary education options, CTE in Singapore collectively enrolls some 65% of each cohort of students (aged 17 and above), who have completed at least 10 years of academic education, including four years at the secondary school level. Please see the following chart depicting the education system in Singapore. (Editors Note: Or view an interactive chart.)

sg-education-landscape-printsm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on their career interests and national exam results, students with keen interest in technical and vocational education may apply to either a Polytechnic college for a “para-professional/technical specialist” level of training or the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) for “technical skills” training. Those who do well in these programs will be able to progress further within the Singapore education system. For instance, students can progress from ITE colleges to a Polytechnic and eventually to a university.

To prepare these students for CTE options, the curriculum of the secondary schools in Singapore places great focus on English language, mathematics, and sciences. Students are also given opportunities to participate in career guidance activities such as the Experience ITE Programme during their secondary school education. Similarly, secondary school educators are engaged in learning journeys to the CTE colleges to better prepare them for a career and education counseling role in the secondary schools.

Q: What sectors/fields of study does VET encompass? Which are most popular with students?

A: ITE offers a wide range of courses including manufacturing, engineering, info-comm technology, business and services, design and media, applied science, health sciences, and hospitality-related training. These courses are regularly reviewed and new courses are introduced based on the demand for these skills projected by the various sectors of the economy and government economic agencies. As of January 2015, there are more than 100 different courses offered by ITE. Based on recent trends, those related to services and certain niche courses such as aerospace technology appear to be more popular among applicants of full-time ITE courses. For adult learners, their choice of training is largely steered by their job requirements and career aspirations.

Q: How is CTE/VET funded in Singapore?

A: Singapore views CTE as an investment by the government to enhance the competitiveness of the nation. The cost of ITE education is almost fully funded by the government, up to 97%. Students only need to pay a nominal portion of the fees to show their commitment to the training. Needy students from low-income families will be further supported by private funds donated by foundations, employers, the community, and individual donors.

For working adults attending continuing education and training at ITE, their course fees are also heavily subsidized by the government, in addition to sponsorships given by their employers. The main objective is to encourage more working adults to develop a culture of life-long learning and regularly upgrade and update their skills and knowledge to remain relevant in this fast changing world.

Q: What are the major goals of VET/CTE in Singapore?

A: The main goal of CTE in Singapore is to maintain its relevance to the workforce needs of the economy. This is a great challenge as there may be a mismatch between the interests and aspiration of youth and the manpower demand of the employers. Working closely with employers to enhance the career development opportunities in their respective technical sectors, to provide good career counseling, and to make CTE fun and attractive for youth, are key strategies to ensure the success of CTE.

Follow Singapore’s ITE and Asia Society on Twitter.

Seng Hua TAN has spent more than four decades planning and transforming the Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) in Singapore. In his previous appointment as Deputy CEO (Academic) of ITE, Mr. Tan led a major project to revamp all training courses of ITE from single occupation oriented to Career-Cluster Based Curriculum, incorporating work-based and personal life skills learning to prepare ITE students for the fast changing work environment.

Katie Fitzgerald, Communications Associate

By Katie Fitzgerald in News
Tags: ,

 

Series

Archives

1