In today’s edition of The Straits Times, a letter by the Principal and CEO of Nanyang Polytechnic, Ms Jeanne Liew was published.
In the letter, Ms Liew advised students who were going to collect their O-level results today about the key differences between Junior Colleges (JCs) and Polytechnics (Poly) routes.
One key difference she highlighted was the different emphasis of each route.
“In JCs, there is more emphasis on understanding theoretical concepts while in polys, the emphasis is on building industry-relevant skills through applied learning.”
A key consideration she said would be the preferred learning style:
“Do you prefer a more academic mode of learning or a more applied, hands-on type of learning?”
Hands-on, applied learning of industry-relevant skills is the focus and hallmark of the SkillsFuture movement – something which has again been the talk of the town, because Singaporeans above the age of 25 will receive their SkillsFuture Credit activation letters by the end of this month (Jan 2016). So, this letter by Ms Jeanne Liew could not come at a better timing.
In today’s economy, perhaps the best way to equip oneself with the right skills is through hands-on applied learning. This way, students – who are tomorrow’s workers – get to learn how to be employable. Getting the students to understand the importance of industry-relevant skills at a early age.
Of course, I’m not saying that going the JC route will not allow students to equip themselves with the right skills.
But as Ms Liew had said, if students have no specific career inclinations at present and would like to keep their options open, then students should consider the JC route.
In fact, as mentioned earlier, students should also consider their most comfortable and preferred learning style.
The JC route requires the learning of theoretical concepts which like hands-on applied learning, would also be needed for higher education.
Each route has their advantages and disadvantages, so students need to ponder over it and discuss with their parents, teachers and education and career guidance counsellors as Ms Liew rightly puts.
Students! Go for what you are good at and do your best!
“Remember that the future is what you make of it!”