SINGAPORE - Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students who find it difficult to cope with a shorter runway can take a lighter load and more time to complete their courses, said Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman.
ITE will also identify students who need more support early based on their class participation, engagement levels and assessment performance, he added.
He said: "Once these students are identified, ITE will provide them with targeted support in a timely manner. ITE lecturers will provide them with appropriate learning scaffolds, additional coaching as well as social and other forms of support."
Dr Maliki was responding on Monday (July 26) to questions in Parliament from Dr Wan Rizal Wan Zakariah (Jalan Besar GRC), who had asked how the Ministry of Education (MOE) will help students who find it difficult to cope with a new three-year ITE curriculum for the Higher Nitec course.
He also asked what plans MOE has to provide students with support and academic coaching.
In April, MOE said ITE students will have their route to advanced certification cut from four years to three starting next year, with 16 courses.
Students go straight to Higher Nitec courses under the new curriculum structure and finish in three years. Now, the course takes four years - two years at Nitec, then another two years at Higher Nitec.
About 2,000 students are expected to enrol in the 16 courses next year.
MOE also said 80 per cent of all courses offered by ITE are expected to shift to the new three-year Higher Nitec framework by 2024, and all courses will shift by 2026.
The move is part of an ongoing review of ITE and polytechnic education led by Dr Maliki that began in January this year.
Dr Maliki, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, said ITE will beef up industry attachments in its courses and raise their quality.
He said that in spite of ITE's best efforts, there may still be some students who are unable to complete the three-year pathway.
"ITE will encourage these students to take up the second industry attachment in the third year to deepen their workplace learning," he added.
For students who wish to leave ITE before finishing their Higher Nitec certification, Dr Maliki said they will still be able to leave school with a Nitec qualification and a transcript of the modules they have already completed, with the goal of having them return to finish the higher certification at a later date.
"ITE will also provide job placement support to help them with the transition to work, as well as customised education and career guidance," he added.