Experiential learning is the way forward

The Ministry of Education's (MOE) decision to reduce the number of examinations in schools is heartening (Fewer exams, more time for joy in learning?; Oct 11).

This move signals important changes in the education system, which I believe will benefit future generations of students to come.

Indeed, there has been a gradual shift away from textbook learning towards experiential learning, emphasising the importance of acquiring skills outside the classroom. Such experiential learning is also encouraged across all levels of education.

At the tertiary level, students are gaining industry-relevant experience through internships. Although these work attachments may be short, they add great value to a student's experience.

As a professional who helps job-seekers find roles in the hospitality industry through a career site, I have observed that one common question employers ask is whether a student has completed an internship in a relevant field.

In a customer-oriented industry like hospitality, internships are extremely crucial for any aspiring hospitality professional to learn the ropes and apply what he has learnt in the classroom to real-life situations. Moreover, internships improve the problem-solving skills of aspiring professionals and help them to adapt to different situations and environments.

Beyond the educational and career aspects, students can truly gain a more global experience through an overseas internship.

Being away from home for the first time is a true test of their ability to look after themselves.

Moreover, working in a foreign country helps students gain an understanding of different cultural practices and keeps them open to new experiences.

Danny Li

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 16, 2018, with the headline 'Experiential learning is the way forward'. Print Edition | Subscribe