SINGAPORE: The National University of Singapore (NUS) has launched a new school to promote lifelong learning among working adults in Singapore.
The S$12 million School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (SCALE), officially launched on Friday (Jun 17) by Acting Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, will offer undergraduate certificate and graduate diploma courses, Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes as well as short courses and executive programmes.
In the future, long lectures could be broken down into multiple short videos of 15 minutes. Working professionals can then watch them, as and when they have pockets of free time.
The school currently offers four Bachelor's degree programmes and 10 certificate programmes, all on a part-time basis. It hopes to eventually offer at least 10 Bachelor's degree programmes and 30 certificate programmes, as well as short Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) courses.
Said Professor Wei Kwok Kee, the dean of SCALE: "At this moment, we have all the engineering degree programmes. Next year, we are going to have computing programmes - that includes software engineering, cyber security and business analytics.
"In future, we are going to have social work and so on. Now we are also offering short-term courses for working adults. The purpose is to allow these people to acquire skills in a short term possible period."
COURSES ALIGNED TO MARKET DEMAND
All programmes will be designed by NUS faculties and schools, and in close consultation with the National Trades Union Congress, the Employment and Employability Institute, the Singapore Workforce Development Agency and employers to ensure the courses are aligned to market demand and industry needs, NUS said.
"A centre must have channels to reach out to learners who will benefit from skills upgrading and learning," said Mr Ong. "It must also work with industries and employers to provide more career choices. This, to me, is the most difficult to fulfil because an institute of higher learning would typically see its primary role as ensuring strength in research and course delivery rather than assuring that its graduates have enough career possibilities to choose from."
Student admission will take into account work experience and prior learning, and will not be based solely on academic background, the university added.
“This is an important new direction for NUS which will also actively support the national SkillsFuture movement,” NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said.
“SCALE will offer differentiated opportunities for adult learners to acquire new knowledge and skills from NUS, help Singapore companies and industries stay competitive with industry-relevant professional development, and support national manpower needs.”
Mr Ong also said that all five autonomous universities will be setting up centres dedicated to lifelong learning. NUS is the first to do so.
The centres will be part of a network of national SkillsFuture centres, helping workers to master areas of expertise and prepare for the future.