Polytechnics and ITE review committee leaving for study trip to Switzerland, Germany

A group of members from the committee tasked with a holistic review of polytechnics and the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will leave for a week-long study trip to Europe on Monday.

Led by Senior Minister of State for Education and Law, Ms Indranee Rajah, the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review (Aspire) committee delegation will visit public agencies and educational institutions in Germany and Switzerland to familiarise themselves with the model of applied study there.

They will also observe how students are provided guidance in their educational and career pathways, as well as visit companies to understand how they partner educational institutions through internships and training for students.

Ms Indranee, while speaking at the first Aspire townhall meeting last month, said the review is aimed at drawing up a plan to increase the number and range of employment opportunities for these students. It will also ensure there is a match between the skills and qualifications that students attain and the jobs which are in demand by industry.

She had also highlighted the case of Germany, which has managed to keep youth unemployment at bay. Key to the country's success, she added, has been a dual learning system, where students on the vocational track receive job training in companies while pursuing courses in vocational schools.

This form of applied learning, which integrates work and study, focuses on developing capabilities that are needed for jobs in industry, she added. The applied learning pathway that the review team has in mind goes beyond the short internships that polytechnic students undertake.

The delegation for this visit - the Aspire committee's first overseas study trip - will comprise members from both the public and private sectors, as well as officials from the Ministry of Education.