Remaking Singapore's Career Vocational & Technical Education: Colleges of the Future Master Plan
Institute of Technical Education

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) was restructured as a post-secondary education institution in 1992, to deliver Vocational and Technical Education (VTE) to the lowest 25% of the annual graduating secondary school cohort, based on the General Cambridge Secondary Level Examinations. Operating under the Ministry of Education (MOE), ITE continued to operate from premises used by its low-image predecessor institution, the Vocational and Industrial Training Board, which largely trained primary school leavers. The training facilities did not befit a post-secondary institution charged to train skilled manpower to support the growing economy. With no significant change, other than in name and entry requirements, the image of ITE and its students remained negative and VTE continued to be seen as a ‘poorer cousin’ of general academic education. The previous 10 campuses run by ITE were small, catering to between 1,500 and 2,000 each, and resembled secondary schools, with limited facilities, courses and amenities. This led to low morale and self-esteem among ITE students, who did not fully appreciate that they were receiving ‘relatively good education’. To be seen in context, the investment in other post-secondary and tertiary options was significant – Polytechnics and Universities were endowed with larger and well-equipped campuses. ITE students are typically 17-19 year-old youths who are more kinaesthetic and hands-on learners. Their lower academic-inclination and performance at the National Examinations left them with ITE as their ‘last-resort’ post-secondary option. Already being academically-disadvantaged, having to learn in ‘second-class’ infrastructure left many students feeling poorer-off in terms of a public education experience. This translated to low acceptance and image of VTE at ITE. Before Year 2000, only 18% of the targeted 25% of the annual school cohort joined ITE. In 2000, the enrolment was 17,965. Not only was the wastage to the economy high, with this stratum of youth more vulnerable to unemployment, it was important that they receive useful pre-employment education which would put them in good stead in life. Further, ITE faced the challenge of remaining relevant to the needs of the economy and industry. With rapid technological changes and an ever-changing economy, ITE had to introduce new courses and pedagogy to keep students relevant. Also, industry required skilled workers who were able to apply their learning to value-add on the job. ITE had to transition from producing blue-collar workers to producing knowledge workers who were confident and would be well-received by employers. The limitations imposed by having 10 small campuses, spread over the island, restricted how far ITE could look at pedagogic and learning innovations to make an ITE education more relevant to the needs of kinaesthetic students and their employers. There was a need to overhaul the infrastructure used for VTE delivery, to serve various needs – enhancing the value of VTE to produce more ‘holistic’ knowledge workers, changing public perception toward creating a better acceptance of VTE, and, critically, improving the morale and self-worth of students who join ITE. The transformation benefited the learning and socio-emotional needs of students and the skilled-manpower needs of industry and economy.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In 1998, Mr Teo Chee Hean, then Education Minister, during his first visit to ITE, suggested that ITE reviewed its infrastructure and capacity in anticipation of the higher demand for training places from 2005 onwards, arising from a bumper crop of secondary school graduates. The ITE Board and Management took the opportunity to review the existing network of 10 smaller campuses, with the aim of creating greater synergy and flexibility in delivering VTE with national and industry stakeholders, and enhancing education outcomes. The key strategy proposed by ITE was consolidating 10 small campuses into three top-line regional campuses for VTE, each catering to about 8,000-10,000 students. The Proposal was accepted by the Government, indicating strong governmental will and support for comprehensive institutional VTE for the lowest quartile of each school cohort, who lack educational opportunities or are marginalised in many countries. A 10-year Colleges of the Future Master Plan to build three regional campuses, overseen by an independent Administration and Development Committee (ADC), was formulated. The Proposal aimed to provide a learning environment which ITE students would feel proud of, while creating conducive learning to match the hands-on learning style of ITE students. Concurrently, the Proposal gave ITE the opportunity to design future-oriented campuses to deliver ‘Authentic Learning’, with learning spaces simulating real-life industry work environments, and incorporating design elements which provide the flexibility to reconfigure/upgrade spaces to introduce new courses/curriculum in tandem with economic changes. While industry had already been involved in the design of curriculum, this initiative allowed ITE to actively engage industry, through Focus and Technical Working Groups, in the design of learning spaces. This was also part of the strategy to make industry a key stakeholder in the delivery of VTE, and not just employers of VTE graduates. Beyond the learning spaces, the new campuses created more spaces and amenities for the social integration and well-being of students, and provided a more holistic education experience to better meet their aspirations. In line with the enhanced image the larger campuses would create, they were renamed as ‘Colleges’, from the previous ‘Institutes’. The rebranding would better connote the higher value VTE that ITE would be providing. It would also uplift the image and standing of the students – being students of a ‘College’, like their better-regarded tertiary counterparts. The new Colleges were built of land areas of about 10 hectares each, catering to between 8,000-10,000 students each. They were equipped not only with cutting-edge technology for teaching and learning; they also had a wide array of sporting and recreational amenities post-secondary students could expect, and more. Together with the transformation in infrastructure, a new ‘One ITE, Three Colleges’ Governance Model was introduced in 2005. Under this Model, ITE operates under ‘One System’, guided by a Headquarters, to ensure greater mission alignment, consistency of standards, and accountability in the use of public resources. The ‘Three Colleges’ have academic autonomy to develop their distinctive strengths and niche programmes, and unique holistic student experiences. By redefining and changing the paradigm of delivering VTE services, not only through physical makeover, but with a new Governance Model to better manage VTE teaching and learning, VTE was given a tremendous boost. While students could look forward to a learning environment on par, or even better, than many other post-secondary institutions, the new infrastructure allowed ITE to focus on new and innovative pedagogy and courses. The new Colleges transformed the image of ITE, which resulted in higher public acceptance of VTE, leading to positive outcomes in terms of optimising the development and utilisation of scarce land resources and maximising the potential of human capital in Singapore.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
From being under-resourced, VTE became one of the highest-resourced education options, showing the Governmental will to focus on raising economic competitiveness through the delivery of market-relevant, innovative VTE and in enabling social mobility and youth employment. The new Colleges allowed ITE to introduce innovative pedagogic approaches, viz, ‘Authentic Learning’ and ‘Immersive Learning’, where teaching and learning occur in spaces simulating real-life work environments. Examples include Aerospace students training in an actual Boeing 737 and other aircrafts; Hospitality students training in a 22-room Campus Hotel; Healthcare students learning in simulated Hospital Wards, using high-fidelity mannequins; and Engineering students learning to work on ‘virtual oil-rigs’ in a 3D Virtual Reality Lab. All these, and much more, authentic learning have been created on campus so that students learn what is immediately relevant to employers’ needs and can seamlessly transition into jobs – work-ready. The Colleges are also designed with modern facilities to integrate ITE’s unique ‘Hands-On, Minds-On and Hearts-On’ Education Philosophy into the design of campus infrastructure. A pertinent example includes ITE Epitome, a student-run Mall to showcase the capabilities, products and services of students. Open to the public, the facility houses commercial outlets, which allow students to work and interact with real customers.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
IMPLEMENTATION OF 10-YEAR ITE COLLEGE MASTER PLAN Stage 1 – Research & Conceptualisation (2000 – 2003) A total review of ITE’s Education and Pedagogic Model was done, following study visits to overseas institutions on learning design and pedagogy ideas. A College Development Plan proposing the consolidation of 10 small campuses into three regional Colleges was proposed, taking into consideration the required land size, key design features, students’ needs and desired outcomes, implementation timeline and budget needed, was submitted to MOE. In line with the development of the three Colleges, a review of ITE’s Governance was initiated, leading to the implementation of ‘One ITE, Three Colleges’ Governance Model. At the same time, a rebranding exercise was conducted, with ‘Colleges’ replacing the former ‘Training Institutes’. Stage 2 – Development of ‘Colleges of the Future’ 2003 – 2004 : Developing ITE College East 2008 – 2010 : Developing ITE College West 2011 – 2012 : Developing ITE College Central After ascertaining the key requirements for the Colleges, Tenders for the design and development of the new campuses were called and evaluated. Construction kicked off in accordance with the development timeline. At this point, a Campus Planning Development Committee (CPDC) also identified the design spaces and specifications required for all the learning facilities, based on the new courses to be offered, planned enrolment, and the desired learning philosophy and outcomes. Following this, training equipment and furniture needed to support the learning facilities were proposed and sourced. Unlike the First and Third Colleges which were developed under the conventional Government-funded approach, for our Second College, a different development model – Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Approach – was adopted for experimentation. ITE College West is the first social infrastructure to be developed under PPP Model in Singapore. It entailed working with a private sector partner to design, build and operate its assets and deliver the services required by the College. Under a 27-year lease contract, ITE pays annual rental to the private partner, and focuses on the delivery of quality VTE. Although developed and maintained by the private partner, there is no compromise on the learning needs of students, as ITE has priority and full access to all facilities at all times. Stage 3 – Transition Planning To manage ITE’s transition, a comprehensive Campus Transition Plan to move courses, furniture & equipment, and students from the old institutes to the new campuses, and engage stakeholders and the community, was implemented. Similar transition plans were done for all three Colleges. Stage 4 – After Action Review The Development Planning Steering Committee did a review of the learning points after the completion of each College. For example, when College East (CE) was completed, it was found that more could be done to design the facilities around the behaviours of staff and students and to employ more modular design for flexibility and scalability of programmes. College West (CW) under PPP, on the hand, presented some challenges in terms of flexibility by the private partner to respond to any required changes to the building. However, a good learning experience from CW was the introduction of the concept of commercial enterprises on campus, which gave ITE the impetus to implement better commercial concepts in College Central (CC), where all commercial outlets congregate in a centralised commercial zone – the Zentrum – which is easily accessible by the public, too. The new CC also circumvented some of the challenges in previous campuses by creating a spacious fun and varied Student Activity Centre, which has successfully retained students in the campus even after classes, and provided valuable opportunity for lecturers to engage them meaningfully. All in, the three Colleges were completed on time, within specifications and budget.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Development Planning Steering Committee (DPSC) chaired by Director & CEO/ITE, and overseen by ADC (reports to the ITE Board), conceptualised and steered the development of the three Colleges. Extensive consultation with important players in the VTE eco-system, viz, Ministry of Education (MOE), current and prospective students, parents, alumni, faculty, employers, industry partners, community organisations and secondary schools was carried out. There was close coupling with key national agencies, like the Ministry of Manpower and Economic Development Board, to identify critical manpower needs, projected demands for future skills and industry sectors. Working closely with Architects, Project Consultants and Contractors, and supported by our Campus Development and Estates (CDE) Team and College Planning & Development Committee (CPDC), the DPSC ensured that the development was on schedule and on budget, to meet the desired learning outcomes. Staff and students were consulted through multiple Focus Groups. Before the award of tender, staff were also invited to view and give their inputs on the various Design Models. Industry partners were actively engaged during the design stage of the planning of workshops and learning spaces. Throughout this process, the MOE and the ITE Board provided strong support in the form of policy direction and mobilisation of key resources. The operationalisation of this initiative was further supported by Sub-Committees, which focused on identifying specific training equipment needs for the different Schools, purchase of furniture and equipment, as well as proposing inspirational names for the various locations and facilities within the Colleges. External authorities, such as the Land Transport Authority of Singapore, public transport operators and the local communities, were also engaged, as the Colleges sought to streamline the human and traffic flow arising from a sudden surge in student population, who need to commute to these Colleges, and to better manage ITE’s integration into the community.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The resources supporting the ITE Master Plan include: Capital Development The Singapore Government funded a Total Capital Expenditure of Singapore S$1 billion to build the three Colleges of the Future. Administered as a separate Development Budget, an annual amount was disbursed to ITE in phases by MOE, at different stages of the project development, to support the construction of the Colleges. To ensure value for money and that the approved budget was effectively utilised, each project underwent rigorous procurement process to ensure competitive pricing was achieved. For the College West Project, which was developed via the PPP Model, although the initial capital expenditure was fully funded by the PPP Consortium (PPP Co), the monthly Unitary Payments, which are more than S$30 million annually, are funded by MOE. Annual Operating Grant On top of the Development Cost, MOE allocates an Annual Operating Grant of more than S$340 million to ITE, comprising an enrolment-based grant (based on student enrolment multiplied by an enrolment piece rate), and additional budget for: (1) Furniture & Training Equipment, and (2) IT Equipment, to ensure that training facilities and equipment stay relevant and up-to-date. Human Capital Development As the three new Colleges resulted in an expanded range of courses, from 34 in 2004 to 105 in 2013, which are increasingly more advanced, innovative and technology-based, and with enlarged student co-curricular activities and higher public expectations, ITE also strengthened Staff Capability Development, through: • A budget of S$6.5 million, from MOE, to implement a new Total System Capability (TSC) Initiative (2007-2012). TSC is a holistic approach in human capital development through strengthening the faculty’s domain and cross-domain capabilities in existing and emerging technology areas, through undertaking industry projects and consultancies to level-up their industry relevance and professional know-how. • A budget of S$124.7 million to implement a new Human Capital Plan (2009-2015), to strengthen academic and professional leadership, and enhance the faculty’s educational, technology and pedagogic capabilities. This initiative increased the pool of degree-level faculty, from only 40% in 2004, to 65% currently and, ultimately, to 70% by 2015. Industry Partnerships Besides the Government, sponsorships and support from industry have also been instrumental. From less than 30 industry partners in 2004, ITE now has 100 active industry partnerships from key sectors, including Amada, Marina Bay Sands, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Rolls-Royce, Eurocopter, Bosch Rexroth, Conrad Hotel and Toon Boom Inc. The industry partners not only helped set up Centres of Technology at the Colleges, but also sponsored high-value capital-intensive equipment and technology to help faculty and students remain up-to-date. For example, Rolls Royce Singapore loaned a Trent 900 Engine with a commercial value of US$20 million for the Aerospace course. Amada Asia donated two CNC laser-cutting machines worth $2 million. Keppel FELS helped fabricate part of a ship, free of charge, for Marine and Offshore students. Without the sponsorship from industry partners, it would be difficult for ITE to attain such high levels of realism for quality Applied Learning within campus. Currently, ITE has more than 40 industry-sponsored technology centres.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The three Colleges of the Future resulted in a major breakthrough in career-focused VTE delivery and learning model for kinaesthetic youths, with significant turnaround in public recognition of VTE, as evidenced by: 1) Improved Education Outcomes • Higher Student Enrolment – from 17,965 in 2000 to 21,796 in 2004 and 26,569 in 2013 (after completion of all three Colleges). This is a marked contrast to the 15,900 enrolment in 1992, when ITE first started with the smaller campuses after being restructured as a post-secondary institution. The margin of change in enrolment, from 1992 to 2000 (13%), and from 2000 to 2013 (49%), demonstrates the high efficacy and success of this Initiative. • Higher Graduation Rate – from 71% in 2000, to 77% in 2004 and 83% in 2013. • High Employment Outcomes, with 90% of graduates being employed within 6 months of graduation. • High Student Satisfaction – In the national Customer Satisfaction Index of Singapore (CSISG) Survey, ITE scored 73.2% in 2013, making it the highest performing public education level, compared to the Polytechnics and Universities. In the first study, in 2010 (before College West and College Central were completed), ITE scored only 58%, indicating an impressive 26% improvement. Additionally, internal surveys show that 96% of students were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their educational experience at ITE in 2013. 2) Enhanced Public Acceptance, with significant improvements in ITE’s Brand Equity Index, based on the independent Triennial Brand Equity Study – from 34% in the first study in 1997, to 37% in 2000, and a remarkable two-fold jump to 70% in 2013, when all three Colleges were completed. In addition, the following image attributes measured in the Study directly showed the significant impact of the Initiative on students and key stakeholders: • Institution is well-recognised – from 16% in 2003 to 71% in 2013, a 55% point (344% increase). • Institution encourages creativity and innovation – from 38% in 2003 to 72% in 2013, a 34% point (89% increase). • Institution has modern facilities – from 43% in 2003 to 81% in 2013, a 38% point (88% increase). • Among employers, ‘Courses reach Nationally-recognised Standards’ improved from 56% in 2003 to 83% in 2012, a strong 27% point (48% increase). 3) Higher responsiveness to industry and more education choices for students, with ITE now offering 105 full-time courses leading to industry-relevant occupations, covering 11 industry sectors, compared to only 34 courses across nine sectors in 2004.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Project Monitoring The 10-year Colleges of the Future Master Plan comprised three extremely fast-track and complex development projects, which required stringent monitoring and tracking, established project management structure, financial discipline and strong collaboration among public- and private-sector stakeholders. It was led by the ADC, which provided regular updates to the ITE Board on the progress milestones, challenges met along the way, usage of funds, as well as other financial implications involved. The progress was also tracked quarterly and reported back to the Ministry, which funded the Initiative. The ADC was supported by the DPSC, Campus Planning and Development Committee (CPDC) and CDE Team, all of which had clearly defined roles; hence, contributing to the overall success of the development projects. The DPSC oversaw the progress on development and deployment of new policies to operationalise the transition from the smaller campuses to regional Colleges, and ensured that the needs of various stakeholders had been factored in. The CPDC comprised College end-users, who provided inputs on the physical requirements of the facilities to cater to pedagogic and students’ needs in response to dynamic changes in industry and students’ profiles. As the in-house Project Management Team, CDE ensured that the execution of the projects was in line with the implementation schedule, approved budget and desired outcomes. This was achieved by clear lines of communication, strong engagement and commitment by the senior management of the consultants and contractors, and close monitoring through regular risk management and site progress meetings. Tracking Measures As one of the major Programmes under the ITE five-year Strategic Roadmaps, the College Master Plan was also tracked by the Strategic Planning Committee chaired by CEO/ITE, together with other programmes under the Roadmaps, through bi-annual reviews. ITE also assessed the success of this Programme through eight Strategic Performance Indicators, which are tracked at the Board and Ministry level, as part of its annual Corporate Performance Review. The indicators include Brand Equity Index, Student Enrolment, Student Satisfaction, Student Success Rate, Graduate Employment Rate and Employer Satisfaction. At the course/programme level, ITE used adopted a Feature Analysis Model, which is a multi-factor Course Evaluation Tool to evaluate individual courses for efficiency and effectiveness, based on a matrix of Demand, Cost, Outcome and Employment Indicators. The annual assessment and ranking of courses offered by the Colleges using this Model is presented to all Directors of Schools and Senior Management at an Annual Course Review Forum.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Balancing Needs and Wants While wanting to forge ahead in VTE, ITE had to be mindful of the profile of its students – kinaesthetic learners who perform poorly in the National Examinations, and largely have lower literacy and numeracy skills. Care had to be taken to ensure that the curriculum designed, while meeting the higher expectations of employers, could be easily understood and learnt by these less-academically-inclined students. More pervasive use of innovative methods and technology like Authentic Learning, Immersive Virtual Teaching and Online Curriculum Delivery were, however, well accepted by such kinaesthetic learners. Societal Prejudice – When the Master Plan was announced, there was disbelief and even ‘outrage’ among some public members. Many ‘academically-brighter’ students in the schools and universities felt that the lowest rung of non-academically-inclined learners (or ‘non-achievers’) were ‘not deserving’ of such good infrastructure. Some even queried the Government’s high investment in vocational education vis-á-vis academic education. While strong political support, together with integrated communications and engagements with stakeholders and public have re-shaped public opinion, some negative stereotyping of VTE students, and pockets of ‘academic divide’ still exist. Resource Constraints • A small nation with land constraints, the State had to provide space for the three Colleges, of about 10 hectares each, in areas which were accessible. • The initiative led to a new way of delivering service to customers (VTE students) and stakeholders (parents and employers). This required ITE’s manpower to be reconfigured and redistributed. The consolidation offered economies of scale; yet, the academic and professional leadership team needed to be augmented (from 130 in 2004 to 300 by 2015). A Human Capital Plan was initiated to increase the professional leadership team and the ratio of graduate-level faculty, from only 40% in 2004 to 70% by 2015. This required justification of additional funding from ITE’s parent Ministry.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Colleges of the Future Initiative has radically transformed Singapore’s VTE System and delivery and turned around negative stereotyping and image of ITE and kinaesthetic learners. It had contributed to significant improvements in student outcomes and public perception, and resulted in sustainable benefits in enhancing the image, delivery and quality of the VTE System in Singapore. Against the Higher Enrolment and Graduation Rate reported in Question 7, it is also pertinent to report Singapore’s Low Youth Unemployment Rate – 6.7% in 2013 (15 – 24 year age group), against 8.6% in 2004. Greater Autonomy and Diversity Under the new Governance Model, the Colleges have greater autonomy to operate and deploy their resources consistent with ITE’s vision and goals. For example, College East has developed its niche in Applied & Health Sciences, College West in Culinary and Hospitality Services, and College Central in Design & Media and Performance Production. Students can look forward to greater diversity in academic pathways and choices, to meet their diverse talents and aptitudes. Today, ITE offers a comprehensive range of 105 courses in 11 industry sectors, against 34 courses in nine sectors in 2004. Holistic Learning Philosophy The new comprehensive learning environment of the Colleges enabled ITE to provide greater cross-level and multi-disciplinary learning, and multi-disciplinary projects involving students from different schools and courses within and across Colleges. There is a wide diversity of co-curricular activities catering to students’ different interests (eg. music and arts, sports, leadership and entrepreneurship development, community work/service learning and Global Education Programmes). These improvements have enabled ITE to better realise its unique Brand of ‘Hands-On, Minds-On and Hearts-on’ Education, where ‘Hands-on’ training will equip ITE students with the skills-set required on the job; ‘Minds-on’ learning will develop them into independent thinkers and flexible practitioners; and ‘Hearts-on’ learning will develop ‘complete’ ITE students who care for the community and society. These attributes underpin ITE’s Holistic Education, where students integrate theory with practice through practice-based coursework, global exposure, community and industry projects. Enhanced Resource Utilisation The ITE Campus Consolidation minimised duplication of resources and optimised the use of public funds, through centralising staff and resources at three campuses (instead of 10). ITE is now adding better value for its student population through state-of-the-art laboratories and workshops, industry-standard equipment for hands-on training, and recreational facilities for holistic and social development, from Olympic-size swimming pools and running tracks to performing arts theatres. Stronger Engagement with Industry The new regional Colleges also drew increasing interest from industry across all sectors, with many seeing ITE in new light. Many industry players are now keen to partner ITE to help strengthen its pedagogy and curriculum approaches, through transfer of technology and know-how. In turn, such symbiotic collaboration provides industry with an inflow of work-ready, world-ready graduates who will join these companies upon graduation, with the mind-share, know-how and capabilities to match their skilled manpower needs. From less than 30 industry MOU partners in 2004, ITE now has 100, with more collaborations anticipated. Enhanced International Standing News on ITE’s new Colleges travelled far and wide, attracting strong interests from many foreign dignitaries and policy makers to learn from ITE. Many were invariably impressed with the ‘New ITE’ and have made requests to ‘replicate ITE’ in their countries. Over the last two years itself, ITE hosted more than 2000 overseas visitors from more than 40 countries, including advanced countries like Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Japan, Netherlands and USA, something unthinkable in the past. Globally, ITE has expanded its international partnerships, with 18 overseas VTE institutions in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, South Korea, Switzerland and USA. These partnerships have been instrumental in helping ITE benchmark and learn from the best, to enhance its VTE system and delivery. Through exchanges with and attachments in these institutions, ITE students have enhanced their global mindset, while its faculty have developed greater appetite for new innovations and new pedagogic approaches. The partnerships have also led to the adaption of many best practices and introduction of Niche Diplomas to widen progression pathways for students, such as the Technical Diploma in Automotive Engineering with Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Baden-Würrtemberg, Germany, and Technical Diploma in Culinary Arts with renowned Institut Paul Bocuse, France.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Sustainability Financial As a public education institution, ITE continues to receive more than 90% state funding, a boost to students, most of whom come from lower socio-economic status families, with 50% having monthly household incomes of less than Singapore S$2,500. In 2010, the Government extended the provision of dollar-for-dollar matching grants to help build up a new ITE Endowment Fund to provide sustainable financial assistance, scholarships, and enrichment programmes for needy ITE students, to ensure that no student is left behind because of financial problems. Besides the Capital Budget for the Colleges Master Plan, an Annual Operating Grant, which sustains more than 90% of ITE’s annual operating budget, is provided to run the three Colleges. Only a small 5% of the budget comes from nominal fees from students, to keep VTE affordable and accessible to students, who are financially and socially disadvantaged. Regulatory The less academically-inclined are streamed into a Normal (Technical) Stream in secondary schools, in preparation for VTE at ITE. This ensures a continual pipeline of post-secondary students for the ITE Track. In addition, Singapore has an integrated National Manpower Planning Approach, where education institutions work closely with national manpower and economic planning agencies to project and train professional and skilled manpower. This ensures close alignment between the labour (Demand) and education (Supply) markets. Institutional ITE has built a strong team of leaders and faculty who are dedicated to the cause of VTE. The improved perception of VTE has attracted better-qualified professionals from industry to join ITE’s Teaching Service. From only 40% in 2004, 65% of Lecturers now have Degrees, allowing ITE to respond quickly to changes in the knowledge economy and to offer market-relevant programmes and services. ITE’s relentless pursuit of organisational excellence and continual benchmarking has resulted in a world-class and high-performing VTE System. ITE’s future-oriented Strategic Planning Approach involving key stakeholders in Public, Private and People Sectors, including the Unions, has ensured its continued relevance to the economy and improved citizens’ lives. Transferability Many foreign systems have found the ‘One ITE, Three Colleges’ Education Model a viable alternative to or reference in reforming their existing VTE systems. Since 2004, ITE has conducted 22 consultancy projects in Asia, Africa and South America, through its consultancy arm, ITE Education Services (ITEES). ITE has provided consultancies at Government-to-Government level for the development of a World-Class Skills Centre in New Delhi, India; the Vietnam-Singapore Vocational College, Vietnam; a Regional Vocational Training Centre in Amman, Jordan; Mechatronics Training in Batam Polytechnic, Indonesia; and VTE leadership training programmes for Thailand, Philippines, Cambodia, and Laos. Non-Government-to-Government consultancy projects have also been undertaken in Africa, China and the Middle East. Since 2004, more than 6,000 educators from overseas institutions have undergone ITE’s Train-the-Trainer Programmes, as they seek to enhance the effectiveness and relevance of the VTE system in their own countries. Annually, ITE hosts many foreign policy makers and dignitaries who are interested to learn from ITE. In the past two years, ITE hosted over 2000 foreign visitors from more than 40 countries.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
ITE’s bold Colleges of the Future Master Plan to revamp the VTE System, redevelop 10 campuses into three top-line Colleges of the Future, and redefine VTE delivery has been highly successful and well-received by students, employers and citizens in Singapore and among the global VTE community. Key Lessons • The Initiative would not have been possible without strong Government Support and foresight to invest heavily in VTE versus the Tertiary sector. The development of the three Colleges required S$1 billion capital investment. This high investment outlay ensured the viability of a competitive economy, with availability of skilled technicians and knowledge workers to support Singapore’s long-term economic, manpower and social development policies. It builds a more inclusive society where youths and citizens can look forward to a bright future, with Better Skills, Better Jobs and Better Pay. • Strong Leadership of the ITE Board and Management provided the drive and focus for the Initiative to take flight. Yet it was the Passionate and Committed Faculty who embraced the change and opportunities that it offered. With a unique ITE Care culture, ITE was successful in receiving the full support of staff, who brought the initiative to fruition. • Symbiotic Industry Partnerships, where long-term skills requirements for various occupation levels in key and emerging industry sectors are identified. Industry Captains were co-opted in Advisory Committees to advise on emerging industry trends and requirements. This enabled ITE to transform its courses and curricula to support employment at the front-end of the changing global economy. • Industry was also courted to share proprietary knowledge and technology. This resulted in win-win relationships, where ITE has access to latest industry knowledge and technology, and industry has its potential workers trained on its systems and technology even before they graduate. Currently, ITE has 100 such active industry partnerships. • Each College development experience provided learning points for the next development. Student and staff behaviours and needs were analysed for data on better design for the next College development. For instance, the deliberate modular design of workshops and learning spaces translated to more effective resource management when making changes to the spaces or when introducing new courses. ITE’s experiences in revamping its VTE system and infrastructure, together with changes in governance and innovations in teaching and learning, have redefined and transformed delivery of VTE to youths and adult learners in Singapore. The new VTE Model has been well received locally and globally, putting ITE in a position where it is ready to further extend its expertise and share its experience with similar organisations across the world. "The resources devoted to vocational and technical training are immense and the VTE system is perhaps the best in the world – a significant element of the Singapore success story. […] Pay levels for ITE graduates have also been strong, and the ITE track is now seen by students as a legitimate path to a bright future." - Strong Performers and Successful Reformers in Education: Lessons from PISA for the United States; OECD 2011

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Institute of Technical Education
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Sabrina Loi
Title:   Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Corporate)  
Telephone/ Fax:   +6565902016
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   2 Ang Mo Kio Drive
Postal Code:   567720
City:   Singapore
State/Province:   Singapore

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