Committee of Supply debate

Tertiary: More can gain entry based on aptitude

The Education and Manpower ministries yesterday outlined a range of new measures to prepare students and workers for a more challenging economic landscape. We look at the key changes.

Students at Nanyang Polytechnic during its course and career exhibition on Jan 5, 2016.
Students at Nanyang Polytechnic during its course and career exhibition on Jan 5, 2016. ST PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN

More will be done to match students' interests with their course of study.

Up to 12.5 per cent of the polytechnic intake, starting with next year's cohort, will be admitted via the new Early Admissions Exercise (EAE). It will allow students to get a conditional place in a diploma course, even before they sit the O levels.

The EAE will assess students' suitability for admission on the basis of their aptitude, talents and interests in the courses they are applying for. This could include interviews, aptitude tests and portfolios.

About one-third of polytechnic courses, such as those in health sciences, design and media, can also take up to half their students based on aptitude, a rise from 30 per cent.

From next year, up to 10 per cent of Institute of Technical Education students who advance to the polytechnics yearly will also be admitted through a similar EAE system.

Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, from next year as well, will admit up to 15 per cent of their annual intake under the Discretionary Admissions Scheme (DAS) - an increase from 10 per cent currently.

Applicants who do not meet the cut-off point for a course, but who demonstrate aptitude for the course and possess a minimum level of academic competence to cope, may be considered under the DAS.

Calvin Yang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 09, 2016, with the headline 'Tertiary: More can gain entry based on aptitude'. Print Edition | Subscribe