SINGAPORE: The basic premise of a polytechnic education may not have changed over the years, but it is still relevant in providing a practice-oriented education of a high standard.
Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said this at the launch of Ngee Ann Polytechnic's 50th anniversary celebrations.
Twenty five years ago, a time capsule was sealed by the then Senior Minister of State for Education, the late Dr Tay Eng Soon, at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
On Thursday, the time capsule was unearthed under what Education Minister, Heng Swee Keat, described as "a vastly different higher education landscape".
In sealing a new time-capsule of his own, Mr Heng said that polytechnics have a critical role – evident in the way the government is on track to raise the number of each Primary One cohort attending polytechnics to 45 per cent in two years, up from the current 43 per cent.
In particular, Mr Heng said the government would continue to strengthen the pathways to a polytechnic education.
He cited two pathways that came into effect this year- the Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) and the Direct-Entry-Scheme-to-Polytechnic Programme (DPP).
The PFP allows the top 10 per cent of Secondary Four Normal (Academic) students to a preparatory year in polytechnics before entering diploma courses.
This compared to going on to Secondary Five.
For the DPP, the top 30 per cent of the stream's cohort may take the Higher Nitec course at ITEs instead of entering Secondary Five.
From there, they can progress to related polytechnic courses.
Mr Heng said: "In doing this, we are creating multiple pathways for Singaporeans to achieve success in school, and ultimately at work, and allowing each Singaporean a better chance to be the best he or she can be."
He also encouraged polytechnics to continue to evolve – by enhancing their curriculum and programmes.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s principal, Chia Mia Chiang said: "One great thing about polytechnic education is that there is a lot of flexibility to do customisation. We all do the same thing, which is you provide the base, to get everyone ready for industry and work, at the same time, for those who aspire to do other things, how then do you layer it, and how do you get them ready in the best possible way."
Some Ngee Ann Polytechnic students too had their thoughts on how a polytechnic education could continue to evolve.
Final year student at the School of Film and Media Studies, Natasha Kleinman said: “Something for the future could be making us as recognised as a Junior College student, because right now, for local universities, they still take into consideration our 'O' Level results as well as our GPA. I feel that a GPA result is recognisable enough for a polytechnic student to get into a local university. I think just perhaps that recognition.”
The Polytechnic is going all out to celebrate its Golden Jubilee, with musical events and anniversary dinners. But the public can also go back in time at this massive, year-long exhibition that details the Polytechnic's course over the last 50 years. - CNA/ck
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