From next year, polytechnics will take into account the job experience of working adults who apply for full-time diploma courses.
Currently admission into such programmes is based largely on academic results, unlike part-time courses which give credit to work experience.
Announcing the change, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (July 3) that academic grades attained years earlier "do not fully reflect the current eligibility of applicants".
Polytechnics will ramp up the use of interviews and other methods of assessment to evaluate work experience and performance, in addition to past academic grades.
"Even as we place greater weight on relevant work experience and performance for polytechnic admissions, we will still ensure that students are able to cope with the academic rigour of the courses they are enrolling into," said Mr Ong, who was speaking at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduation ceremony at its headquarters in Ang Mo Kio.
From academic year 2020, working adults will also be able to apply to polytechnics via the Early Admissions Exercise, which so far has been confined to students, he said.
The scheme, which allows students to secure places in diploma courses through course-specific talents and interests, rather than only academic grades, will open up more places so that students from secondary schools and ITE will not be affected.
Working adults who do not meet the minimum entry requirements will be given an opportunity to show they have certain required skillsets for their chosen course through supplementary assessments designed and administered by the polytechnics.
"What this means is that there is no rush for those of you who are interested in further studies," said Mr Ong. "Work in the area that you are trained in, get some relevant experience, and be sure that this is what you want to do. You can then come back to the polytechnics later to deepen your skills - whether on a full-time or part-time basis."
Working adults will generally need to have at least two years of work experience before applying, and should submit employment records and employer recommendations. The admission changes apply only to Singapore citizens or permanent residents.
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