Singapore

Merlion Park

Partner Ministry/Organization Department of Education
Recent Programs Held
2019: Regional Program on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET): The Singapore Experience (May 13-17)

2018: Regional Program on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET): The Singapore Experience (Mar 5-9)

2017: Regional Program on Role of TVET in Social and Economic Development (May 15-19)

2016: Regional Program on Leaders in Technical Vocational Education and Training (May 9-13)

2015: Regional Program on TVET Programme for Principals and Leaders (Apr 13-17)

2014: Regional Program on TVET Program for Principals and Administrators (Feb 24-28)

2012: Regional Program on TVET Program for Principals and Administrators (Dec 3-7)
Address of Embassy/Consulate in Manila No. 505 Rizal Drive
Bonifacio Global City
1634 Taguig City, Philippines

singapore flag

Official Name Republic of Singapore
Land Area 719.1 km2 (277.6 sq mi) (176th)
Population 5,610,000 (113th)
Capital N/A (city-state)
Largest Cities N/A (city-state)
Country Borders Malaysia (north), Indonesia (west)
Religion(s) Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Hinduism
Major Languages English, Malay, Mandarin, Tamil
Demonym Singaporean
National Holidays 9 August 1965 (Separation from the Federation of Malaya)

No. of years of Primary Education 6 years
Major Universities National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Management Development Institute of Singapore, NUS Bussiness School, Singapore University of Business and design.
Primary School Enrollment (Total) 99% (2016, UNESCO)
Tertiary School Enrollment (Total) 83.94% (2016, UNESCO)
Ministry/ Ministries Supervising Education Ministry of Education
Education as % of GDP 2.89% (2013, world bank)
Agency Handling TVET Ministry of education & Institute for Technical Education (ITE)
TVET System of singapore Singapore values vocational and technical skills highly and sees them as crucial to the country’s economic development. It’s five polytechnics were founded in the 1960s. In 1992, the government also created the Institute for Technical Education (ITE), which was intended to revolutionize vocational education and be a world-class example of how vocational and technological skills could be translated to a knowledge-based economy.

Figure 1: Singaporean Education and Training Landscape. Note: figure from Keating, J, Medrich, E, Volkoff V & Perry, J. Comparative Study of Vocational Education and Training Systems. (2002). Australian National Training Authority. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan010348.pdf

The current TVET system in Singapore is considered world-class due to the quality of its programs and its ability to adapt to a fast-changing economy. Singapore’s ITE and polytechnic institutions have strived to remain closely connected with the rapidly growing and changing economy of Singapore. Students have received both theoretical and practice-based learning strategies, which have resulted in world-class graduates.

An NCEE report (2015) states that in 2014, 87% of ITE graduates were hired within their fields within six months of graduation. Polytechnics, on the other hand, now offer around 150 diploma programs and around 40% of the graduates pursue a university degree (NCEE, 2015). In 2013, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appointed an ASPIRE Committee to be in charge of reviewing the ITE system and recommending changes to align the course offerings to meet rapidly evolving industry needs. After accepting the recommendations of the ASPIRE Committee in 2014, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong introduced these with an emphasis on better choices, deeper skills and multiple paths for Singaporeans (Ministry of Education, 2014).

Figure 2. ASPIRE Committee recommendation


Figure 2: ASPIRE Committee Recommendation. Note: Figure from Sreenivas, N & Sharmaine, L. (November, 2015). Background Paper for the TVET Conference Supporting AEC- Integration through Inclusive and Labour Market Oriented TVET. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: file:///C:/Users/slin%E2%80%98s/Downloads/Background%20Paper%20Work-Process%20Oriented%20TVET.pdf

In order to help students make better education and career choices, more sources of guidance will be provided at schools, polytechnic institutes, and ITE. Deeper skills will be developed by strengthening education and training in TVET institutions. The business community will be more involved in this regard by cooperating with the respective TVET institutions to enhance the quality of education and the sector-relevance of graduates.
Qualification Framework ITE’s founders brought in leaders with a broad vision and staff committed to caring for students. They completely revamped the curriculum and workforce certification system; developed courses in new industries; and consolidated existing technical campuses into three mega-campuses with a sophisticated technology base and close ties to international corporations.

Formal education in Singapore begins at age seven when a child enters six years of primary schooling, after which the child proceeds to another four (Express stream) or five years (‘normal academic’ or ‘normal technical’) of secondary schooling, depending on the student’s academic inclinations. After secondary school and armed with GCE ‘O’ Level certification, about 25% of the 52,000 students in each post-secondary school cohort will take the academic route to the university by enrolling in two-year Junior Colleges where they will graduate with a GCE ‘A’ Level. An estimated 40% will be admitted into one of five polytechnics for a diploma in which academic learning is complemented with practical training, while 10% will enter the labor market or other institutions. The remaining 25% of this cohort (or 13,000 students) will enroll in ITE for two or more years where they will receive various permutations of the National ITE Certificate or NITEC, depending on entry requirements.

The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ)

The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) is a national credentialing system. It trains, develops, assesses and recognizes individuals for the key competencies that companies look for in potential employees.

Based on standards developed by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and various industry partners, WSQ ensures workers acquire skills needed by employers at the workplace. With clear progression pathways, workers can also use WSQ to upgrade their skills and advance in their careers. The quality of WSQ is assured by WDA, from the development of competency standards, accreditation of training providers to the award of its qualifications. WSQ is based on national standards developed by WDA in collaboration with various industries comprising industry sectoral frameworks which serve to:
  • Professionalize the industry, particularly where recognition of Continuing Education and Training (CET) qualifications are lacking
  • Improve labor mobility allowing companies in growing industries to easily recruit workers with the necessary skills whilst improving opportunities for workers to enter these industries
The WSQ system is designed to be a practical, accessible and affordable launching pad for individuals to take charge of their own careers and advancement.

WSQ frameworks develop skills in two different aspects: foundational and industry-specific. Foundational skills comprise a range of skills, knowledge, and attributes that help every individual improve his/her employability. These skills enable workers to better adapt to new job demands and a changing work environment. Foundational skills are portable across all industries. The different types of competencies can be seen in Figure 2.6. The Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) industry frameworks cover skills that equip individuals with the know-how to perform specific jobs.

Figure.3 Types of Competencies in the WSQ Framework, Singapore Note. Figure from APEC. (2014). ANSSR: Enhancing the Quality and Relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for Current and Future Industry Needs-Phase 1. Economic Committee. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: https://www.apec.org/Publications/2014/07/ANSSR-Enhancing-the-Quality-and-Relevance-of-Technical-and-Vocational-Education-and-Training-TVET-fo

There are 35 Singapore Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) frameworks, which are all recognized by the industries. The different levels of WSQ qualifications are as follows:
Levels of NVQS For Polytechnic:

The Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) is a diploma-specific foundation program conducted by the polytechnics over two academic semesters for students who have completed Secondary 4N(A). Students who successfully complete the PFP may progress directly into the first year of their respective polytechnic diploma courses. The Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP) is a through-train pathway to polytechnics via ITE, for students who have completed Secondary 4N(A). DPP students who successfully complete a two-year Higher Nitec program at ITE and attain the required qualifying Grade Point Average (GPA) scores are guaranteed a place in a polytechnic diploma course mapped to their Higher Nitec course.

For ITE:

The enroll requirement for ITE:
    Nitec courses – GCE N- or O-Level graduates who meet course-specific entry requirements.
    Higher Nitec courses – Selected N(A)- Level graduates under the DPP, and O-Level and Nitec graduates who meet course-specific entry requirements.

Certification:

ITE provides six main levels of certification:
  • Master National ITE Certificate (Master Nitec)
  • Higher National ITE Certificate (Higher Nitec)
  • National ITE Certificate (Nitec)
  • Work Learn Technical Diploma (WLTD) (From 2017)
  • Specialist Nitec (Marine)
  • Technical Engineer Diploma (TED) (from 2017)

There are also other skills certifications through part-time apprenticeship courses conducted jointly by ITE and industrial companies. In addition, trade associations have been set up for workers to raise their quality of work, which in turn benefits industries as a whole. The Creative Craftsman Apprenticeship Programme was launched to develop a pool of skilled local carpenters for the Singapore furniture industry.

There are two basic levels of qualifications under the National ITE Certificate (NITEC) system of certification. Depending on their achievements in schools, aptitudes, and interests, students may enroll at the NITEC or Higher NITEC mainly two-year courses in Schools of Engineering, Business & Services, Electronics & InfoCommunications Technology, Applied & Health Sciences, Hospitality, and Design & Media.
TVET Financing Legislation on TVET promotion through the establishment of a “TVET Fund” or tax levy has been successful in Singapore. The Skills Development Fund (SDF) of Singapore has practically served as a regional model for the sustainable financing of TVET. Singapore uses their respective Fund to direct skills development in specific sectors, usually the nation’s priority sectors. In the case of Singapore, Skills Development Fund (SDF) provided more grants to the employers in ICT sector during the nation’s transition towards a knowledge-driven economy. In Singapore, a Skills Development Fund is resourced by a 1% levy on the monthly remuneration of lower-wage workers (2009). The Skills Development Fund uses a reimbursement mechanism, but does not limit the amount of incentives that a company can obtain to their levy contribution. The uniqueness about this financing mechanism is that contributing enterprises have their own individual account rather than putting their levies into a consolidated fund. Private sector engagement in the decision-making process and the governing body is a contributing factor to the success of such funds.

Under the administration of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), the Fund provides various incentive schemes to companies to upgrade the skills of their employees. The money of the SDF may be applied for providing financial assistance by grants, loans for promotion, development, and upgrading of skills and expertise of persons preparing to join/rejoin the workforce or persons in the workforce.

References

  • APEC. (2014). ANSSR: Enhancing the Quality and Relevance of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for Current and Future Industry Needs-Phase 1. Economic Committee. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: https://www.apec.org/Publications/2014/07/ANSSR-Enhancing-the-Quality-and-Relevance-of-Technical-and-Vocational-Education-and-Training-TVET-fo
  • Keating, J, Medrich, E, Volkoff V & Perry, J. Comparative Study of Vocational Education and Training Systems. (2002). Australian National Training Authority. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/apcity/unpan010348.pdf
  • Post-Secondary Education: Pursuing pathways that fit your interests, abilities and passions. (October, 2018.). Ministry of Education Singapore. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: https://www.moe.gov.sg/docs/default-source/document/education/post-secondary/files/post-secondary-brochure.pdf
  • Singapore: Education and Literacy. (n.d.). UNESCO. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: http://uis.unesco.org/en/country/sg
  • Singapore: Career and Technical Education.(n.d.). National Center on Education and the Economy. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: http://ncee.org/what-we-do/center-on-international-education-benchmarking/top-performing-countries/singapore-overview-2/singapore-career-and-technical-education/
  • Sreenivas, N & Sharmaine, L. (November, 2015). Background Paper for the TVET Conference Supporting AEC- Integration through Inclusive and Labour Market Oriented TVET. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: https://www.regional-tvet-conference-laos.org/kontext/controllers/document.php/59.8/5/5ba3e5.pdf
  • Terence, C. (July 26, 2014). Vocational education in Singapore: meritocracy and hidden narratives. Retrieved May 20, 2019 form: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/blogs.ntu.edu.sg/dist/3/1418/files/2016/12/3.-Vocational-education-in-Singapore-meritocracy-and-hidden-narratives-263yun5.pdf
GDP (billions) $296, 642 billion (Nominal: 40th, 2016 est.)
GDP Per Capita $52,888 (nominal; 2016)
Currency Singaporean Dollar (SGD) = 100 cents
Major Exports Machinery and Equipment, Electronics and Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals
Major Imports Machinery and Equipment, Mineral Fuels, Chemicals, Foodstuffs, Consumer Goods
Major Industries Financial Services, Electronics, Chemicals, Oil Drilling Equipment, Petroleum Refining, Rubber Processing and Products, Processed Food and Beverages
Major Export Partners Malaysia 12.2%, China 11.8%, Hong Kong 11.2%, Indonesia 9.9%, United States 5.8%, Japan 4.3%, South Korea 4.1%, Canada 3.7% (2013 est.)
Major Import Partners China 11.7%, Malaysia 10.9%, United States 10.4%, South Korea 6.4%, Japan 5.5%, Indonesia 5.2%, United Arab Emirates 4.4% (2013 est.)
Foreign Exchange Reserves $251.6 Billion
Inflation 1.0%
Gini Coefficient 46.4% (2015)
Competitiveness Rank 2nd
Ease of Doing Business Rank 2nd (out of 190)
Employment Rate 98.0% (2016, est.)
Unemployment Rate 2.0% (2016, est.)

tony-tanTony Tan (http://www.businesstimes.com.sg)

Type of Government Unitary dominant-party parliamentary republic
Head of State Tony Tan (President)
Head of Government Lee Hsien Loong (Prime Minister)
Legislating Body/Bodies Singapore Parliament

singaporeansImage from http://www.businesstimes.com.sg

Time zone UTC +8:00
Human Development Index 0.912 (very high, 11th out of 180)
Literacy Rate 96.8% (men, 98.7%; women, 95.1%)
% of people with internet access 82.10% (4,600,670)
Life Expectancy 83.10 years (Males: 80.0, Females: 86.1)
Drives on the Left
Calling code +65
ISO 3166 code SG
Internet TLD .sg