SINGAPORE - Students and teachers at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will have more exchange and training programmes with their peers in the German state of Baden-Württemberg when a long-standing agreement between them was renewed for the sixth time.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed on Monday (June 27) at the ITE headquarters in Ang Mo Kio by Second Minister for Education (MOE) Maliki Osman and Minister for Education, Youth & Sports in Baden-Württemberg, Ms Theresa Schopper.
First signed in 1991, the MOU paved the way for staff and students on both sides to share information, expertise, and best practices in various aspects of vocational education and training, as well as conduct joint courses, seminars, workshops and learning exchanges or projects.
They may also cooperate in mutual areas of interest in the field of vocational education and training.
Dr Maliki said at the signing ceremony: "Both countries invest heavily in education to provide the best opportunities for individuals to develop their strengths and abilities in pre-employment training, and deepen their skills throughout their careers through continuing education and training.
"Beyond curriculum insights, ITE has also learnt from the staff development approaches of the Germans and has developed their lecturers to provide coaching, guidance and support to their fellow teaching staff."
Ms Schopper said: "This has been a successful relationship...Vocational training is the backbone of (Germany's) success in the small- and medium-sized enterprises, and through this relationship, we are bringing this to Singapore as well.
"(Students will then) be really well prepared for the enterprises and working spaces, as they are learning a lot of skills to prepare themselves for the future."
At the same ceremony, a supplemental MOU under the umbrella agreement was also renewed for the sixth time between ITE and its colleges, and academy and colleges of Baden-Württemberg.
The supplemental MOU has led to the development of two technical engineer diplomas (TEDs) in machine technology and automotive engineering.
These two courses have benefited more than 700 ITE graduates to date. According to ITE's annual graduate employment survey, nine in 10 of TED graduates are employed within six months of graduation, with salaries comparable to those of polytechnic graduates.
Under the supplemental MOU, four new institutions have been included in the partnership.
They are the ITE Academy, Centre for School Quality and Teacher Education, Kaufmännische Schule 1 in Stuttgart and Helen-Keller-Schule in Weinheim.
Baden-Württemberg, located in south-west Germany, is home to more than 8,000 manufacturing enterprises including car companies such as Porsche and component maker Bosch.
Twin brothers Mohamed Haziq and Mohamed Taufiq, 21, are in their second year of a TED in machine technology.
They told The Straits Times: "This course is very holistic and we are able to pick up more skills related to the industry.
"We learnt more about automation, production technology, production management, business management and design, and we hope to continually improve our skill sets to seek employment in this industry in the future."