POLYTECHNIC graduates taking part in a new apprenticeship scheme will be able to go on to study for degrees at SIM University (UniSIM), the main university here for working adults.
They can take the degree courses on a part-time basis and stand to receive credit exemptions based on their work experience and further qualifications.
UniSIM is working with polytechnics and industry partners to draw up degree pathways for those in the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced yesterday at UniSIM's 10th anniversary celebrations.
Under the programme, which starts this month, polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates undergo 12-month to 18-month apprenticeships and earn industry-recognised qualifications at the end.
Mr Tharman, who chairs the SkillsFuture Council, also announced that UniSIM will be setting up a website to offer professional development as well as general interest courses to the public from next year.
UniSIM is also looking into learning analytics to study how working adults learn best, so as to customise and adapt learning paths for students in future.
Calling UniSIM "a leader in the field of lifelong learning", Mr Tharman said its strengths lie in its open admissions policy for its part-time degree courses, its modularised curriculum, emphasis on applied learning and its blended learning approach using online and campus learning.
He told UniSIM officials and alumni: "Build on your strengths and play a major role in Singapore, not just in our education system but also in developing our society and its people."
UniSIM president Cheong Hee Kiat, who gave more details on the online courses for the public, said 20 to 30 courses will be offered next year.
Most will be work-related courses, but there are some general interest ones in areas such as art and music appreciation. He said some of the basic courses will be offered free, but the public has to pay for the advanced and credit-bearing courses.
UniSIM is looking into supplementing online learning with face-to-face classroom sessions to help participants complete the courses, he added.
Earlier this week, The Straits Times reported that from July, UniSIM will offer 186 modular, bite-sized courses to working adults under the SkillsFuture initiative to encourage Singaporeans to develop specialised skills.
Fees for each course range from $600 to $1,300, but with subsidies from the Government, students will pay less than half the amounts.
They can use their SkillsFuture Credits - the training grants that all Singaporeans aged 25 and above will receive from next year - to offset the remaining fees.
UniSIM, set up in 2005 to offer part-time degree courses to working adults, now has 14,000 enrolled in more than 50 degree courses. Last year, it admitted 217 school-leavers into its first three full-time degree programmes.