SINGAPORE - About 222,000 alumni of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) will receive $1,600 credits each which they can use for a wide selection of courses at the university, ranging from business finance to graphic design.

The credits, which will be made available next month, are eligible for over 120 skills-based courses. Examples include in-demand options such as data analytics, cloud computing, nanomaterials and immunology.

The new initiative was announced on Saturday (Oct 14) by NTU president Bertil Andersson at the annual Nanyang Alumni Awards. More than 5,000 places will be offered each academic year and alumni can attend up to two courses per year.

Alumni will have the flexibility to choose from 63 short courses running from a day to a week, or 55 semester-long courses spanning 13 to 15 weeks. In addition, eight semester-long postgraduate courses will be available for those interested in advanced subjects.

Some courses will be delivered via the flipped classroom pedagogy, where students learn through lessons online before coming to class.

Prof Andersson said this will equip alumni with sought-after skills "so they can remain globally competitive and advance in their chosen careers".

"Lifelong learning is critical for the future of Singapore's society in a dynamic, globalised economy. Any individual is likely in the future to change his or her competence profile to remain employable," he explained.

The event also saw Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli presenting awards to 37 alumni for their stellar achievements and contributions to society.

Among the recipients were media veteran Chang Long Jong and economics professor Ng Yew Kwang. Both received the Nanyang Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honour for the university's alumni.

Mr Chang shared that his civil engineering engineering degree gave him an edge in his career in Singapore's media industry, where he has over three decades of experience.

Prof Ng, who has published more than 250 articles in leading academic journals, was a late bloomer who took eight years to complete his primary education, after being retained twice.

"I hope that many people know this, so that they will not give up on themselves or their children too easily. Even if a person apparently has bad failures, excellence may yet be achieved in the future," he added.

Alumni can apply for the courses online via the university's College of Professional and Continuing Education website.