SINGAPORE — The number of courses in autonomous universities and polytechnics supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the SkillsFuture Singapore agency has grown from some 2,200 to about 2,600 between 2015 and 2016, and this trend is expected to continue.

Revealing the figures in Parliament on Tuesday (July 4), Dr Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Education, said that the courses are based in areas of science, technology engineering, mathematics, as well as information and communication technology.

This translates to some 90,000 training places in 2015 and 105,000 last year.

“We expect this number to be ramped up significantly in the coming years. This will be one of the major changes in our education landscape in the near future,” he said.

Dr Faishal was responding to a question posed by Mr Cedric Foo, Member of Parliament (MP) for Pioneer constituency, on whether Singapore’s institutions of higher learning would be able to offer more courses in modular form that are relevant to the needs of the future economy.

Mr Patrick Tay, MP of West Coast GRC, also asked whether those who already have a degree from a Singapore university would be able to pursue a second degree in a field of study that may be more relevant and in demand — given the Government’s push for workers to re-train and learn new skills.

Dr Faishal said that anyone who wishes to pursue a second undergraduate degree programme at the autonomous universities can do so. However, the individual will not be able to receive tuition subsidies if he or she has already received government subsidies or sponsorship for the first degree.

“This is because budget and resources are limited, and we have to prioritise government subsidies for those pursuing their first degree,” Dr Faishal said.

There are many opportunities to improve skills through non-degree courses, he added, and these are subsidised and opened to all Singaporeans.

Highlighting that lifelong learning is part of the core mission of institutes of higher learning here under the SkillsFuture movement, he said that last year, the autonomous universities offered 29,500 training places supported by the MOE and SkillsFuture Singapore.

Subsidies of up to 90 per cent are given to Singaporeans for these courses, which generally come in short modules and are “tightly coupled with industry needs”, he added. Some modules can also be stacked up to a full qualification over time, whether it be for an advance diploma or a graduate certificate.

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Article by Toh Ee Ming
Source: TODAY© Mediacorp Press Limited.