Parliament: Number of continuing education courses on offer to be ramped up in years ahead

Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Interactive and Digital Media launched a new SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) in Digital Media Production.
Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Interactive and Digital Media launched a new SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme (ELP) in Digital Media Production. PHOTO: NANYANG POLYTECHNIC

SINGAPORE - The number of continuing education courses in autonomous universities and polytechnics supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and SkillsFuture Singapore has grown by about 20 per cent between 2015 and 2016, said Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim in Parliament on Tuesday (July 4).

This translates to about 90,000 and 105,000 training places in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Many of these courses are in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), said Dr Faishal.

He was responding to a question from Mr Cedric Foo (Pioneer) on whether Singapore's institutes of higher learning can offer more courses in modular form that are relevant to the future economy.

This number is expected to be ramped up significantly in the coming years, added Dr Faishal, as lifelong learning is part of the core mission of Singapore's institutes of higher learning, and the short modular format of these courses is suitable for working adults.

"This will be one of the major changes in our education landscape in the near future," he said.

People who wish to pursue a second undergraduate degree programme at one of Singapore's autonomous universities are also free to do so, said Dr Faishal, responding to a question from Mr Patrick Tay (West Coast).

However, they will not receive tuition subsidies if they have already received government subsidies or sponsorship for their first degrees. This is because budget and resources are limited, and government subsidies have to be prioritised for those pursuing their first degrees.

Still, there are many non-degree upgrading opportunities that are open to all Singaporeans, and citizens can enjoy subsidies of up to 90 per cent for these. This includes short modular courses at autonomous universities, and Professional Conversion Programmes for mid-career professionals, managers, executives and technicians.