SIT alumni get $2k in credits for courses

8,000 former students will be able to enrol in various courses including cyber security

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing (left) said graduation does not mark the end of learning. ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

Alumni from the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) will each receive $2,000 worth of credits which they can use for courses at the university.

The move by SIT will allow its pool of 8,000 former students to enrol in courses offered by its lifelong learning division starting next year.

It is the latest university to open up courses or offer learning credits for its alumni, amid a push for institutes of higher learning to play a greater role in adult education. Others like National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University have also launched similar schemes for their alumni.

SIT president Tan Thiam Soon announced the new initiative yesterday during the university's graduation ceremony at its Dover campus. "While we have helped you open up your career pathways, we believe that the stronger your professional accreditation, the more doors will open for you," he said. "The challenge for those of us already in or getting into the workforce is the willingness to always be students."

The courses could range from one-day masterclasses to short courses over a few weeks. Topics covered include health sciences, cyber security and data analytics.

Registration begins in January next year for courses starting in April. The credits are valid for five years.

SIT's class of 2018 consists of 1,650 graduates, including the first batches from courses such as engineering and nursing.

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing, the guest of honour yesterday, said graduation does not mark the end of learning.

"In the past, to acquire the latest knowledge, one would have to come back to school to take a diploma or to take a degree programme. But today, we need to couple that model of learning with something newer and faster, to meet the needs of the new industry development," he said. "Today, if we take more than one year to complete a learning cycle, that will be way too slow for the new economy. Instead, our model of learning must be in small modules, just-in-time and be stackable."

Professor Tan said SIT's focus is to build a pipeline of talent to meet Singapore's needs, for instance, in developing the transport sector.

SIT's sustainable infrastructure engineering programme is the first in Singapore, he said, to integrate extra professional certification for students even before they start work.

The course, launched in 2014, offers highly specialised training with a focus on railway engineering, and SIT works closely with industry partners such as the Land Transport Authority and SMRT to develop the curriculum. More than 90 per cent of its pioneer batch of 67 graduates are already employed.

Prof Tan said SIT aims to develop graduates who are specialists in their fields, who have a strong theoretical foundation and know how to apply knowledge to solve real-world problems.

To that end, its integrated work study programme lasts between eight and 12 months, longer than typical internships, so that students can take on more significant roles and learn more.

More than 1,300 students from 16 degree programmes have completed such attachments since they started in 2015.

SIT graduate Jennifer Wee said the university's provision of learning credits is a "great initiative" to encourage working professionals to upgrade themselves without being too concerned about finances.

The 26-year-old engineering graduate is keen to go for workshops in electrical power engineering and process safety. "It will be useful in understanding electrical concepts... relevant in my job role as a system assurance engineer," she said.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2018, with the headline SIT alumni get $2k in credits for courses. Subscribe