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ITEs, polys to take more students based on talents, interests instead of just grades

SINGAPORE — Over 500 more places will be set aside under the Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) to allow them to admit students based on their skills and talents apart from grades. The EAE intake will be raised from the current 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent from the next academic year.

ITEs, polys to take more students based on talents, interests instead of just grades

Republic Polytechnic. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Over 500 more places will be set aside under the Polytechnic Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) to allow them to admit students based on their skills and talents apart from grades. The EAE intake will be raised from the current 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent from the next academic year.

A similar aptitude-based admission scheme will also be introduced for the Institute of Technical Education (ITE), with 15 per cent of their intake for the academic year to go through this route, starting from the next year.

This is part of the Ministry of Education's (MOE) ongoing efforts to expand aptitude-based admissions, said Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung at his ministry's Committee of Supply debate on Tuesday (March 7).

Last year, Mr Ong announced that aptitude-based admission intake allowance to polytechnics will be raised from 2.5 per cent to 12.5 per cent, while three autonomous universities - Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, and Singapore Management University - will see an increase intake from 10 per cent to 15 per cent through its discretionary admission exercise.

Giving an update on the Polytechnic EAE which kicked in last year, Mr Ong said that the outcomes were "encouraging", with polytechnics receiving about 8,000 applications, of which 2,500 applicants had their offers confirmed.

He noted that the eventual EAE intake is close to 12 per cent of the total polytechnic intake, with two polytechnics slightly exceeding the 12.5 per cent quota.

In raising the quota to 15 per cent this year, Mr Ong said: "Polytechnics have given feedback that EAE is particularly useful in sectors such as early childhood, nursing, social work, or creative subjects, where aptitude and commitment to the career is crucial."

As for ITE education, with only 10 out of nearly 50 courses at the Higher Nitec level open for enrolment based on aptitude and interest, he said there is room for improvement. Although he acknowledged that ITE does have a Special College Admissions Scheme (SCAS), applicants are considered based on general talents like leadership and sports, but not aptitude for the subject.

Alongside ITE's Special Admissions Exercise (SAE) for Higher Nitec courses, only 3 per cent of ITE's annual intake come through these two routes. All these will be folded into the new EAE, which will allow secondary school students to apply for conditional admission to Nitec and Higher Nitec courses prior to taking their GCE N- and O-Level examinations.

As the ability to do well in courses such as nursing, community care, information technology, design and media depend on "a range of qualities beyond academic grades, and where passion for the field is especially important", Mr Ong said intake for about a third of the courses will be raised to 50 per cent. These caps are subject to the overall cap of 15 per cent for the entire academic year.

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