Three new initiatives open doors for students to excel in what they are passionate about
In a groundbreaking move, Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) is partnering with the Ministry of Education to develop a new School of Science and Technology (SST) in 2010.
Not just for engineers
This Specialised Independent School will offer a four-year programme to capable students with a strong foundation in both academic and applied learning that will lead to the Singapore Cambridge GCE ‘O’ Level examination.
“The SST is not meant to just develop engineers. We could be producing designers, scientists or lawyers. Don’t allow the name ‘School of Science and Technology’ to mislead you,” said Mr Soh Hong Joon, the Vice-Principal of the SST and former Manager of the Automation & Integrated System Centre of Mechanical Engineering Division in NP.
He added, “Students will graduate from this school with a very different outlook. They will be very driven by hands-on and applied learning.”
The polytechnic will develop the SST’s programmes and provide expertise for the SST’s design and operations with its strength in applied learning and extensive links with industry players. This is calculated to add value to the SST students’ education experience and also open their eyes to NP’s dynamic educational landscape.
“Being a partner in setting up the SST is a feather in our cap, and an endorsement of our education model. At NP, we are good at applied learning and in connecting theory to the real world,” said Mr Chia Mia Chiang, Principal of NP.
“We can be trusted to deliver and to help to ensure the success of the venture. It is all a matter of trust and confidence,” he said of the NP’s partnership with MOE.
Another Route to poly
There is no one ‘set’ channel to go by when it comes to achieving this long-term goal.
With the inception of the Direct Polytechnic Admissions (DPA), the polytechnic now has greater flexibility in selecting students.
The polytechnic can now select students without using just examination results.
This certainly has allowed for a wider range of talents to be recognised.
Beginning from the current academic year, NP took in its first batch of 100 DPA students.
Apart from having strong CCA records, special talent as well as teachers’ recommendation from their secondary schools, applicants for the DPA were also interviewed.
Participation in NP’s programmes such as Advance Elective Modules, competitions and enrichment programmes were also a plus.
All DPA students were given a headstart with a mandatory eight-week NP Preparatory Programme (NPP) which gave them multiple credit exemption.
One student admitted via the DPA route who has found extra time to spare because of his exemption from Interdisciplinary Studies (IS) modules is Malcolm Ng, 17, a student from the School of Engineering.
“There’s more time for my CCA because I’ve taken my IS modules during the eight-week programme,” said the Electronics & Computer Engineering student.
Another student who made it to NP via the DPA was Christopher Sujadi who secured his place in the School of Business & Accounting.
The Business Information Technology student said, “I’m more relaxed now than other people who currently have to take three more modules than I have to.” He is glad about the extra time he has to pursue his CCA.
The 18-year-old was exempted from three IS modules and one core foundational module from his course.
He also accummulated second-year IS credits on top of the first-year IS credits from the IS modules after participating in a two-day, three-night adventure camp at Kota Tinggi, Malaysia for the ‘Learning to Lead’ module.
About 97 students admitted into the polytechnic via the DPA attended the NPP before the new academic semester began.
Grooming more talents
An example of how serious NP is in student talent development is the Talent Development Programme (TDP), which was started in 2002.
The TDP aims to develop the students in the programme to their full potential.
It not only offers students who have exceptional capabilities an opportunity to be groomed for leadership positions. It also prepares them for undergraduate scholarship opportunities and careers through structured programmes and overseas trips aimed to produce all-rounded students.
According to Mr Brendon Lam, Talent Development Manager from the Student Development and Alumni Relations office, the TDP was put in place to help students who were already achieving exceptional results to “achieve even more”.
And that seemed to be the aim when the TDP joined hands with National Junior College to send students on a five-day study visit to Bangkok, Thailand, in March this year.
The World Bank Thailand Office, UN Children’s Fund, UN Education, Science and Cultural Organisation and the Population and Community Development Association were all part of the itinerary for the trip.
Said Tan Jun Liang, 18, a second-year Aerospace Technology student, “I thought this was going to be a Community Involvement Programme trip, where we just get to visit places.
“However, I had a chance to see the administrative nature of big organisations such as the World Bank, charity work and had insights into corporate social responsibility,” he said.
Currently, students are placed in the TDP through scholarships and nominations from directors of various academic schools.
“We realise that we have students who are doing so well and have so much potential. If we don’t push them all the way, are we doing justice to the polytechnic or to them?” said Mr Lam.
“As the education in NP improves, the quality of NP graduates will also gradually improve. They come in and they are better trained, and better equipped. In the long run, when these graduates become reputable, as a bearer of a NP diploma, you will also be proud to call it your own,” he added.
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