After secondary school, the path of a student’s education process becomes much more diverse and complex. Some may prefer to go to specialized private institutes to hone and train special talents which they have acquired through the years. Some want to gear up for university education, thus choosing the Pre-University Education path while others prefer to end their education quickly, choosing the Post-Secondary Education path.
Post-Secondary Education, as the name suggests, refers to any education stage after Secondary Education. However, a more specific subset, Pre-University Education, is used to describe the process of being educated in Junior Colleges and Centralised Institutes. Thus, Post-Secondary Education in Singapore normally refers to education in three different types of institutes, Polytechnics, Institutes of Technological Education (ITEs) and Universities. Of course, there are also private institutes which cater to students of any level.
Out of the three different types of institutes, two of them, Polytechnics and ITEs, are more true forms of Post-Secondary Education in the sense that students go there immediately after secondary education. Students only go to the third type of institute, universities, only after they have completed their Pre-University Education. However, the thing that all three have in common is that they are all normally the last stage of education for their students. That is to say that most students in Polytechnics or ITEs, unlike their peers taking Pre-University education, never get to go to universities for further education.
Students who go to Polytechnics attend a three year course which by the end of it, receive a certification from their respective schools while students who attend ITEs attend a two year course where they receive a National ITE Certificate. Students who normally attend these two types of institutions after their secondary education normally only do so because their GCE 'O' Level Examination results are not good enough for them to attend Pre-University institutes although there are students who attend these two types of institutes by choice because they think that it suits them.
Students who attend universities attend courses which vary from course to course. The time taken, subjects, certification etc. are all not fixed but rather, are based on the module which the student has chosen to take.
In a sense, Post-Secondary is much more free and less school-based since it is normally the last stage of education for the students. Students need not wear uniforms (other than ITE students) and they take career-specific courses rather than academic subjects to prepare for their integration into society.
In conclusion, Post-Secondary Education is definitely an important, albeit diverse and sometimes confusing, stage of the Singapore Education System as it is the final education process that will prepare the students to be integrated into society and work for a living, contributing back to the society.