Polytechnics in Singapore offer their students a three year course based on their chosen fields of study. At the end of their course, they would receive a certified diploma. Students are accepted based on their GCE 'O' Level grades, GCE 'A' Level grades or Institute of Technical Education results.
Polytechnics are post-secondary education institutes which are provided as an alternative to junior colleges or the centralised institute, which provide the GCE 'A' Level Curriculum, rather than specialized courses which polytechnics provide.
Most students who graduate from polytechnics will enter the society’s workforce while only the top 10% will be able to further their education and proceed to a university. Thus, unlike students in JCs or the CI, students in Polytechnics stand a less chance of entering universities.
However, there are some JC/CI students whom, upon getting their 'A' Level certification, enroll in a polytechnic rather than a university. In this case, these students will immediately enter into the second year of polytechnic education. These cases happen rarely, as most JC/CI students would rather further their education in a university rather than a polytechnic.
Currently, about 40% of each cohort would enroll in one of the five polytechnics in Singapore. The five polytechnics are (from the oldest to the newest):
1. Singapore Polytechnic
2. Ngee Ann Polytechnic
3. Temasek Polytechnic
4. Nanyang Polytechnic
5. Republic Polytechnic
Purpose of Polytechnics
Polytechnics were established in Singapore to offer students industrialized courses at the diploma level. In a way, they are modeled similarly to university education.
Polytechnics mainly train middle-leveled professionals with relevant and specialized courses, equipping them with the essential skills and tools to enter the workforce and support the technological and economic advancements of Singapore. A wide variety of courses are provided for the students such that they can work on and develop their interest and aptitudes, and integrate themselves into the new knowledge based economy that Singapore is moving towards.
Polytechnic graduates emerge into the society with hands-on practice work skills and knowledge and experience which are relevant to the economy, thus being popular and sought after by employers.
Characteristics of Polytechnics
Polytechnic courses are more industry–oriented as most polytechnic students enter society and start work immediately upon graduation (other than males who have to serve 2 years of National Service first). The courses available in a polytechnic are of a wide range in various fields, such as engineering, business studies, accountancy, mass communications, and biotechnology etc.
In a way, polytechnics reflect university school life. Students are not required to wear school uniform unlike students of the same age who are in Junior Colleges, where school uniforms are still a requisite. The courses that are taken are also career-specialized, just like university courses, unlike the students in Junior Colleges who still take subjects like the sciences, humanities etc.
Singapore Polytechnic (SP)
Singapore Polytechnic is Singapore’s oldest and first polytechnic to be established back in 1954. It first started out at Prince Edward Road until it moved to Dover in 1978, being placed strategically right in the education and science hub of western Singapore.
SP has educated and produced over 130,000 SP graduates who have provided much to Singapore’s industrial and economic growth. Today, its student population of about 16,500 continue to strive for the best in various fields and studies.
Despite, being the oldest university in Singapore, their pioneering spirit is very much alive and they constantly move with the changes that society demands. The campus is constantly being refurnished to provide their students with up to date facilities and their education techniques change to equip their students with the essential skills when entering Singapore’s workforce.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP)
Ngee Ann Polytechnic is the second polytechnic to be established in Singapore. It was founded in 1963. It currently has a student population of about 14,000.
It educates its students based on its Ngee Ann Learning Model (NLM), which emphasize on a balanced and broad learning experience for its students. The university works closely and maintains close relations with various industries in Singapore to ensure that its students and courses are up to date with current societal needs.
Temasek Polytechnic (TP)
Temasek Polytechnic was established on 6th April 1990 and is the third polytechnic in Singapore. It was set up in Tampines, over looking the tranquil Bedok Reservoir and yet bursting full of youthful energy in its 30 hectare wide campus. It currently has a student population of about 13,000 students.
Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP)
Nanyang Polytechnic was established on 1st April 1992 as the fourth polytechnic in Singapore. It operated in five different temporary campuses in Bukit Merah, Jurong, Outram, Tiong Bahru and Yishun before it finally moved to its modern campus which spreads over 30.5 hectares of land in Ang Mo Kio in April 1998.
Republic Polytechnic (RP)
The fifth and newest polytechnic in Singapore was recently set up in 1st August 2002 and operated temporary in the campus at Tanglin Road before moving to its current permanent Woodlands campus at 4th March 2006. RP takes a Problem-Based Learning (PBL) approach, where students learn by solving problems rather than being spoon-fed by teachers during lectures.