Forum: Shift towards industry relevance will better prepare arts students for working life

Prospective students at NUS Arts and Social Sciences showcases.
Prospective students at NUS Arts and Social Sciences showcases.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

As a 2017 graduate from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), I see the offering of "industry tracks" as a good shift (Not your father's arts degree, says NUS faculty dean, Dec 9).

While volunteering during the faculty's open house a few years back, I was often asked by prospective students and concerned parents: "Study FASS can find job meh?"

In the first year, some are attracted to FASS because of the buffet of 20 majors it offers.

The flexibility in sampling majors, and to be sufficiently broadly exposed yet academically grounded, is the undeniable appeal of an education at FASS.

Yet, undergraduates approaching their final year may find themselves ill-prepared when questioned about the industry relevance of their chosen field.

Beyond the shift in focus to make students more job-ready and future-ready with internships, industry exposure and mentorship, we must not forget the true value of an education in the arts and social sciences is to critically and constructively challenge issues and continuously strive to change or advance society.

The transition from student to working adult is tough, and I am hopeful this shift will help this generation and future generations of FASS students.

Khoo Yi Feng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 11, 2019, with the headline 'Shift towards industry relevance will better prepare arts students for working life'. Print Edition | Subscribe