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Nurturing talent: Different strokes for different folks

Key is to figure out what works best for each student

Published on Aug 26, 2014 7:59 AM
The Aspire panel's recommendations that Institute of Technical Education (above) and polytechnic students work and further their qualifications are not meant to dissuade them from pursuing degrees. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

Two years ago, the Government announced an expansion of university places to give 40 per cent of each school cohort a shot at university education right here at home by 2020.

It translates to 16,000 places yearly and the additional spots will be provided mainly by the Singapore Institute of Technology and SIM University which will have a more applied, practice-oriented focus and produce a different type of graduate.

Parents and students no doubt cheered the move, and the promise of a better future for young Singaporeans. But now with the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (Aspire) committee recommending pathways in which Institute of Technical Education and polytechnic students can work and further their qualifications, some parents and students are left confused. "Why this flip-flop?" asked businessman Terence Koh who has two sons studying engineering in the polytechnic.

"I was very happy that the Government was providing more places for polytechnic students and a more applied pathway that is suited for poly students like my sons. But now it looks like they are saying a degree path is not for them.

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Background story

Not all talents are best nurtured by immediately heading for a diploma or degree. There are many who would benefit from going out to work for a few years to hone their skills and understand the demands of the career they are interested in.