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Singapore aims to put 12% of students through work-study pathway by 2030

Singapore aims to put 12% of students through work-study pathway by 2030

President Halimah Yacob watches a demonstration of robots at automation company ABB-Stotz based in Heidelberg, Germany on Dec 12, 2019. (Photo: MCI)

HEIDELBERG, Baden-Wurttemberg: Singapore is aiming for 12 per cent of every student cohort to undergo the "work-study pathway" by 2030.

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced this on Thursday (Dec 12), during a site visit to automation company ABB-Stotz in Heidelberg, Germany.

He said the "work-study pathway" is Singapore's version of “dual education”, a system commonly practised in Germany that combines vocational training in school with apprenticeships in a company, lasting about three years.

The work-study pathway is expected to provide students in Singapore with on-the-job training and classes aimed at helping them ease into workplaces from school.

Mr Ong said: “People sometimes have the wrong idea that such a system is rigid and inflexible.

“I think, to the contrary, that the mastery of skills, and especially the basic core competencies, is what makes somebody adaptable in the face of changes.”

He called it the “back to basics” approach and added that qualities such as artistry will be hard for computers and artificial intelligence to replicate. 

About 3 per cent of each cohort currently undergoes some form of work-study programmes, including degrees.

Institute of Technical Education (ITE) students are offered 24 courses in work-study diploma programmes, and four Singapore universities offer SkillsFuture work-study degree programmes.


Mr Ong is currently accompanying President Halimah Yacob on her state visit to Germany.

At ABB Stotz, he signed a joint declaration between the education ministries of the two countries. 

It is an extension of a 1991 agreement to collaborate in new fields such as digitalisation, geriatrics and teacher training.

President Halimah Yacob witnessed the signing of two agreements related to education at ABB-Stotz based in Heidelberg, Germany on Dec 12, 2019. (Photo: MCI)

Another agreement was signed by the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and Germany’s Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Mannheim, to develop staff and student exchange programmes.

At the signing, Mr Ong said: “Partnerships like this are invaluable to Singapore in the reform of our education system in preparation of a new future.”

Mdm Halimah also visited tech company Continental AG, where she saw a demonstration of different tech products such as robots and driverless vehicles.

In the evening, she attended a banquet hosted by Volker Bouffier, the Minister-President of the Federal State of Hesse.

Trade between Singapore and Hesse reached S$1.2 billion (€868 million) last year.

Source: CNA/ic(hm)


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