By Zeinab Yusuf Saiwalla
THE Institute of Technical Education (ITE) yesterday unveiled its strategic plan for the next five years.
The blueprint for 2010 to 2014 revealed the institute's focus on developing innovations in technical education.
Such a focus, according to chief executive officer Bruce Poh, 'is necessary to keep up with the changing demands of industry'.
Termed 'ITE Innovate', the roadmap aims to further develop the institute with a focus on four main goals: Innovative ITE education, redefining lifelong learning, strategic connectivity for innovation and capability for innovative excellence.
Among the various strategies to achieve these goals, the institute will be intensifying innovation in teaching and learning by incorporating more new media platforms and extending industry-based learning by enhancing workplace training schemes.
The institute also hopes to reposition the Continuing Education and Training (CET) model by setting up more niche CET centres and providing refresher and upgrading programmes for ITE graduates.
Currently the CET provides courses to members of the public. However, according to Mr Poh, public awareness of these course is not very high and so with this new roadmap, the CET hopes to attract more adult learners who are looking to develop a specific skill, for example, in the culinary, engineering or beauty sectors.
Cited as a 'jewel in Singapore's education system' by then education minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the ITE has come a long way since its initial days of being just an institute of vocational training.
From offering only 30 to 40 courses about 10 years ago, the institute now offers students 84 courses, including one niche diploma, and is in the midst of rolling out more diplomas soon.
Prior to this fourth roadmap, the institute's third wave of growth focused on achieving a global outreach through programmes such as increasing the number of students going on overseas exchanges for internships or for voluntary purposes.
The institute's efforts in providing quality have gained it international recognition such as the Harvard-IBM Innovations Award in Transforming Government awarded by the Ash Institute of the John F Kennedy School of Government, in the US, in 2007.
Despite having grown by leaps and bounds, numerous challenges remain, such as the institute's attrition rate.
Currently, the institute has an attrition rate of about 18 per cent owing to reasons such as students who leave to pursue a private education or to seek employment or some who are just unable to perform in classes.
However, Mr Poh hopes that 'the institute will be able to achieve a stretch target of 90 per cent' of students who successfully complete their education by the end of this new five-year blueprint.
This article was first published in The Business Times.