SINGAPORE - Students at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) can now take a minor subject from a different discipline under a pilot programme, to expand their knowledge base and widen their job prospects.
About 1,000 current second-year students will benefit from the Personalised Learning Pathway pilot rolled out last month, said the polytechnic in a statement on Monday (May 3).
The minors can be undertaken through four pathways: professional skills, entrepreneurship, global readiness and social leadership.
Students can choose from 10 minors in areas such as data analytics, Internet of things, foreign languages and global readiness skills.
Each minor will require the completion of three learning units. Each learning unit ranges from 45 to 60 hours over a semester.
At the end of their three-year diploma programme, students will be awarded a minor certificate on top of their diploma.
The pilot is expected to be fully rolled out in the 2023 academic year for all full-time diploma students at NP.
By then, all new intakes of NP students will have to complete at least one learning unit from the programme as a minimum graduating requirement.
In a speech at a NP graduation ceremony on Monday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said the new pilot programme will help to strengthen students' career resilience to pivot more easily to new growth sectors and enable students to seize new opportunities in the future economy.
NP principal and chief executive officer Clarence Ti said the future workplace will be more complex and diverse, and every student has his or her own aspirations.
He said the polytechnic hopes that the new programme will give students an edge in the future economy as they chase their dreams.
Said Mr Ti: "It will open doors to more career or academic opportunities for them, as well as strengthen their personal and career resilience."
The pilot has allowed 18-year-old Randahl Ng to pursue his interest in community service and volunteer work on top of his diploma in business studies.
Under the social leadership pathway, he will be taking units on connecting with communities and leadership development.
"I feel that this would help me when I join the business world in future and need to encounter different communities of people," said Randahl, who is keen to start his own cafe or be a coffee bean supplier in future.
For Mr Jonaven Koh, 19, who is studying real estate business, the new pilot gives him a chance to pick up entrepreneurship skills.
He is currently running a business selling flavoured artisanal ice cubes with some former classmates from the Institute of Technical Education.
He plans to take the accelerator programme and incubation learning units to help him grow the business further, and reduce the number of trial-and-error processes he has to go through.
He added that the minor would complement his diploma in real estate business, which would allow him to pick up knowledge on business laws and property management -knowledge which he would need to run his business in future.
Mr Wong also spoke on how the Covid-19 pandemic had affected this batch of graduating students, many of whom will be looking for jobs.
He said the global economy will eventually recover and present many exciting opportunities in areas such as sustainability, automation and digitalisation, including the increased use of cloud computing and artificial intelligence solutions.
"I am confident that for all our students, your training in NP has prepared you well to ride the wave of change and to seize these emerging opportunities," said Mr Wong.
Last year, NP introduced the Career Jumpstart package for graduating students that allows them to take two free continuing education and training courses offered by NP. It also provides them access to a directory of jobs and opportunities to work with start-ups.
Mr Wong said that this package would also be available to the 2021 graduating cohort.
He encouraged the students to pursue their passions as well as give back to society.
"As you start planning ahead for your future, also remember to give back to the community, and to serve others who are in need. Keep a constant lookout for ways you can make a positive difference to those around you," he said.