Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of Education

New diploma to help ITE grads take on larger roles

Graduands at the ITE Graduation 2016 ceremony.
Graduands at the ITE Graduation 2016 ceremony.PHOTO: ST FILE

A new diploma to help Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates in technical trades to upgrade their skills and take on larger job roles will be rolled out soon.

The technical diploma, which will be awarded by ITE, is offered as a new pathway under the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn programme, which encourages fresh polytechnic and ITE graduates to work and gain qualifications at the same time.

Under the Earn and Learn programme, an ITE graduate gets a diploma and a polytechnic graduate receives an advanced or specialist diploma. It is part of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) push to make students' transition between study and work as seamless as possible.

For a start, the ITE technical diploma will be introduced in sectors such as security system engineering, rehabilitation therapy, offshore and marine engineering, mechanical and electrical services, and design and supervision. These sectors were identified based on industry demand as well as the presence of strong apprenticeship partners.

MOE said this technical diploma "will be apprenticeship-based and thus in a mode of learning best suited for the strengths of ITE students, to gain mastery in technical trades". More details will be provided later.

Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung said yesterday that the "ethos of 'learning by doing' actually has been the strongest at ITE", a result of its tradition of vocational education and its highly practical curriculum. "With this new pathway, ITE students need not see polytechnics as their only path for progression. They can advance through skills mastery and practice, by staying with ITE," he said.

Currently, under Earn and Learn, ITE graduates are already able to work towards a part-time polytechnic diploma in the air transport, hotel and public transport sectors. These are offered by Temasek Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic respectively.

Over 500 polytechnic and ITE graduates took part in Earn and Learn last year. This is higher than the 400 placements targeted for the year.

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 08, 2017, with the headline 'New diploma to help ITE grads take on larger roles'. Print Edition | Subscribe