SINGAPORE - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has set up a new college to make its courses available to more working adults in Singapore.
Called the College of Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE ), the new school will work with the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) to develop courses for working adults, including professionals, managers and executives (PMEs).
Under the partnership announced by NTU on Sunday (May 1) the new college will offer 28 undergraduate-level courses for part-time study starting this August. Classes will be held at NTU or in NTUC premises around the city.
This is the first time that NTUC is partnering an institute of higher learning, said NTUC secretary-general Chan Chun Sing, who added that the labour movement hopes to work with more of these institutes to offer a wider range of courses to workers.
"With strong support from the Government, this collaboration will encourage more working people to embrace continuous lifelong learning as the economy transforms," he said.
The three-month long courses will be offered in key growth sectors including data analytics, digital electronics, nanomaterials, molecular genetics and enterprise and innovation. Selected in consultation with employers and industry, the courses are drawn from NTU's undergraduate degree programmes.
Students taking the courses will be given academic credits, which can be accumulated to qualify for a specialist certificate or degree.
NTU said besides the credit-bearing courses, the new college will also offer personal development and enrichment courses in areas ranging from creative thinking to financial management.
NTU and NTUC are identifying more courses to meet the needs of groups such as business owners and senior executives of small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as freelancers and the self-employed.
The public can use their SkillsFuture credits from the Government to offset course fees. Those who are NTUC members will enjoy an additional course fee subsidy of up to $250 per year under the Union Training Assistance Programme.
An NTUC member who is a Singaporean PME above 40 years old, for example, need to pay only around $100 for a course with a fee of $1,350, after deducting union and SkillsFuture subsidies.
To support this initiative, NTUC said its Education and Training Fund will be boosted by $200 million. It will raise $50 million, with the Government providing a 1:3 matching grant of up to $150 million.
NTUC will also collaborate with suitable institutes of higher learning to bring relevant courses to all working people looking to upgrade their skills.
NTU provost Freddy Boey said his university was proud to contribute towards Singapore's huge effort in SkillsFuture to ensure that workers here can compete globally.
"Our PMEs can now leverage on NTU's deep expertise in established and emerging technologies. We want more Singaporeans to benefit from the world-class education that we already provide," he said.
The courses offered by the new college will be taught both online and offline, using the flipped classroom pedagogy where students access and study course material online, before meeting their classmates and professors for discussions in person.
Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU's Senior Associate Provost (Undergraduate Education), said NTU has ambitious plans to redesign 1,500 of its undergraduate courses for online delivery using the flipped classroom pedagogy by 2020.
The courses will be made available progressively to Singaporean workers.