SINGAPORE- The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) has launched two new degree programmes in speech and language therapy, and digital communications and integrated media.
Both will start in September this year. The speech therapy undergraduate programme is the first of its kind here.
SIT said on Tuesday (Jan 7) there is an increasing demand for speech therapists in Singapore, for children who require early intervention, as well as older adults who have had health issues such as a stroke.
Currently, the National University of Singapore is the only institution offering a master's programme in speech therapy, and local students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree have to turn to countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.
Fees for such programmes in universities in these two countries generally start from $100,000, while SIT's programme will cost close to $37,000.
Ms Melissa Chua, head of speech therapy at Sengkang General Hospital, said: "It has been demonstrated that children and adults with feeding or swallowing and communication difficulties benefit from early speech therapy assessment and intervention."
To meet the demands of an ageing population and the trend children diagnosed with developmental issues such as autism, the pipeline of locally trained speech therapists must increase, she added.
The new four-year speech therapy programme was developed in consultation with therapists from Singapore's three major health clusters - the National University Health System, Singapore Health Services and National Healthcare Group- as well as Ministry of Social and Family Development-funded therapy hubs and social service agencies.
Private practitioners were also consulted.
Students in the programme will undergo 30 weeks of clinical practice with various public and private healthcare institutions during their study.
"By integrating theory and practice, the programme will ensure that graduates will be industry-ready," said SIT.
The other undergraduate programme on digital communications and integrated media was also launched in response to industry demand, the university said.
It has a highly digital focus, which is what sets it apart from similar programmes in the other universities and private education institutions here, it added.
It aims to train students in digital Web analytics, integrated media management and digital media production .
Graduates from the programme will be able to work in fields including advertising, media, corporate communications and public relations.
Mr Howie Lau, chief industry development officer at the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said such course offerings will help nurture a pipeline of industry-ready media professionals.
"Talent is at the heart of Singapore's digital transformation. With the convergence of tech and media, it is important that our media professionals possess the relevant digital skills and new mindsets to meet the needs of the industry," he said.
SIT's admissions period for the upcoming academic year is from Jan 10 to March 19. Interested students can apply via SIT's website (SingaporeTech.edu.sg).
The university's open house will be held at the Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre from Jan 11 to 12.