Forum: Secondary school students have opportunities to learn about polytechnic curriculum and campus life

We thank Dr Bryan Lim Wei Yang for his letter, “Time to restructure polytechnic curriculum to attract more students” (Feb 14).

The junior college and polytechnic tracks are two different post-secondary pathways, catering to students with different learning preferences and interests. The junior college track is a two-year pathway preparing students for university through the A-level exam or the International Baccalaureate diploma and develops students’ 21st-century competencies.

Separately, the three-year polytechnic diploma programme is a work-ready qualification, catering to students who prefer more hands-on practice-based learning. The diploma programme includes mandatory internships or work attachments ranging from six weeks to six months, which help prepare students to gain employment after graduation and pursue further upgrading and reskilling in future.

In secondary school, the education and career guidance counsellors guide the students to better understand their interests and strengths and encourage them to explore the various post-secondary pathways. Students are also encouraged to explore online resources such as the Ministry of Education (MOE) website and the MySkillsFuture portal.

In addition, there are opportunities for students to learn more about polytechnics while still in secondary school. The applied learning modules at the polytechnics provide early exposure for secondary school students to experience polytechnic modules and campus life.

This programme includes customised workshops, field trips, group projects and interactions with industry practitioners, which let students explore their interests and better understand the skill sets needed for different careers over three or four days.

The polytechnics provide flexibility in their curriculum to cater to students with different profiles. Students who are clear about their areas of interest may apply for specific courses.

Students who want to explore more choices before deciding can apply for polytechnic via the common entry programmes, which give students exposure in a broad sector before they decide on a particular diploma to specialise in.

Students can also pursue greater depth or breadth through advanced electives or minor programmes, depending on their interests.

MOE and the polytechnics will continue to review and enhance the polytechnic curricula to cater to student interests and industry needs.

Jan Chua
Coordinating Divisional Director
Higher Education Group
Ministry of Education

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