Saturday, May 4, 2013

Polys Are Jewels, Real or Bluff?

Polys are now different from before. Years ago when porn meant smuggling in Penthouse magazines from overseas instead of just surfing for it on your LTE phone, polys were meant for those who could not make it into JCs. Polys were for those who cannot make it academically and were to be drafted into the technical skills-based blue-collared workforce. JC was the path into local universities and that was it.

Nowadays, the demographics of poly students is more varied. More of the O level students if they know what industry they want to end up in life, chose to go into polys. So as to get a head start on the practical aspects of their preferred industry, even though they could make it into a branded JC. Polys were also how less stellar students hedged their career crossroads, they get a diploma first and if they really cut it academically, can then go to university overseas if they have papamama scholarhsip. They can even get into the local unis if they are top what, 10% in their cohort, despite NUS saying that this quota is an urban legend. Disadvantaged compared to JC students still. How many president scholars are from polys BTW?

The new LKC medicine school in NTU is interviewing prospective students from polys and JCs. How many do you think would be from polys? In NUS, how many poly grads are admitted into law and medicine school? In fact, how many poly grads apply for and are enrolled in NTU and NUS compared to JC students? Nonetheless, the new Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore University of Technology and Design seems like it would be much more open to poly grads than JC kids, so there's that too.

Polys are more relevant as a stepping stone tertiary education system with the 2 technical unis in the horizon. They still roll out grads with applied and ready skills for the industries. The grads however don't get paid as much as uni grads, although as tertiary grads they are paid better than A level and vocational ITE grads. BTW that's why poly kids such suck it up about their lack of transport concession as tertiary students stop comparing with JC students about cheaper bus or train fares. Back to the topic, with entry pay as the yardstick, polys grads are important, but they are not as valued as much as uni grads by employers. Polys are jewels in the education system, yes, but...

Polytechnics a ‘jewel’ in Singapore’s education system: PM
By Saifulbahri Ismail

SINGAPORE — While some polytechnic graduates may see their time at the institutions as the basis from which to upgrade themselves educationally and in their careers, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said they need not see a degree as the only avenue up, as he affirmed the role of polytechnics yesterday.

Speaking at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s (NP) 50th anniversary dinner, Mr Lee called polytechnics a “jewel” in Singapore’s education system that offer a “first-rate” tertiary education for their students.

“They are high quality, practice-oriented technical training for jobs. They lay a solid academic foundation, especially in technical subjects in Maths and Science, for those who go on to further their studies,” Mr Lee said.

Those who choose to get a degree should not do so just to gain a paper qualification, but because of their interest in the subject and relevance to their future plans, he said, pointing to the diversity of NP’s Alumni Award winners, which shows that many other “good options” are available, such as working for a few years or starting a business.

These options allow graduates to gain experience and understand themselves better, and such life lessons will complement their education and help them go further in life, he added.

Mr Lee also reiterated the need to prepare students for the future as it makes a critical transition “amid a fast-changing and uncertain world”, and said the Government will continue to strengthen the polytechnic sector to ensure it continues to produce graduates with a wide range of skills.

In addition, he commended NP for developing in tandem with Singapore’s progress, first by offering diploma programmes in response to demand from industry as Singapore’s economy took off, and then expanding its role with a focus on hands-on, industry-oriented training, into a “vibrant” tertiary educational institution.

NP yesterday launched its fourth Strategic Plan, which aims to forge a closer nexus with industry.

As part of new initiatives, polytechnic students will form multidisciplinary teams while on attachments.

Ms Jeanne Liew, Registrar and Senior Director at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, said: “It could be, for example, engineering and business students coming together because engineering problems today may not just be engineering problems, it could be things like the business model, it could be marketing, it could be also the design of the product.”

NP will also introduce more overseas programmes to broaden students’ perspectives.

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