Technical education 'needs to be adaptive'

Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West campus at Choa Chu Kang Grove.
Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West campus at Choa Chu Kang Grove. PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

With a rapidly changing economy, the technical and vocational education and training system needs to be more adaptive and train students to be more resilient, Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Education Services chief executive Bruce Poh said yesterday.

This is because the system contributes to the backbone of Singapore's economy, he said.

A person may have to take on several jobs in his lifetime and has to keep learning throughout life, he added. "The technical and vocational education and training system will grow more and more in the continuing education part, and students have to get used to learning, relearning, unlearning and repeating the cycle."

Mr Poh was speaking on the sidelines of the Temasek Foundation International@10 Asia Skills Leaders Forum at the ITE Headquarters and College Central. He heads ITE Education Services, the consulting arm of ITE, set up to share its expertise with other countries.

Policymakers and leaders from 16 countries attended the four-day forum on technical education and training, which ended yesterday.

"At every stage of development, there are new requirements and new skills needed, so our institutions have to respond accordingly," Mr Poh said.

He said Singapore is a small country and has to rely on its only resource - people - to survive.

A good technical and vocational education and training system is essential to produce a skilled workforce so companies would want to invest here, and local firms also require trained workers, he said.

He said Singapore has achieved "unprecedented success" in developing its technical education system and can share its know-how with other countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2017, with the headline 'Technical education 'needs to be adaptive''. Print Edition | Subscribe