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New ‘through train’ for select Stem students to skip O-Levels, gain direct entry to related poly course

SINGAPORE — A new “through-train” programme is being piloted at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore (SST). It allows students who are strong in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) subjects to bypass the O-Level examinations and gain a spot in a related course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP).

At the 10th anniversary of the opening of the School of Science and Technology, Education Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted the importance of developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics expertise in Singapore.

At the 10th anniversary of the opening of the School of Science and Technology, Education Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted the importance of developing science, technology, engineering and mathematics expertise in Singapore.

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SINGAPORE — A new “through-train” programme is being piloted at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore (SST). It allows students who are strong in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) subjects to bypass the O-Level examinations and gain a spot in a related course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP).

For a start, the “SST-NP Integrated Diploma Programme” will take in about 50 students for each cohort. These students will be selected for the programme at the end of Secondary 2.

Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who announced this during SST’s 10th anniversary celebration on Tuesday (Nov 17), said that the move will give students more opportunities to engage in deeper applied learning across a wide range of Stem fields.

For instance, they may embark on longer-term independent research projects, where they may use insights from a range of different disciplines to tackle interesting challenges, Mr Wong said.

In response to TODAY's queries, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that this is not the first through-train programme between a specialised school and a polytechnic.

For example, the Singapore Sports School offers such an arrangement with Republic Polytechnic for a diploma in business with sports management specilisation and one with NP for a diploma in business studies with an entrepreneurship management option.  

Details of the programme are being ironed out by SST, the polytechnic and the MOE. More information, such as which cohort will undergo the programme first, will be announced later. 

Highlighting the importance of developing Stem expertise in Singapore, Mr Wong said that SST was founded in part to develop a strong and early pipeline of Stem talents who can help cement Singapore’s position as a “competitive force in the world economy”.

It was also created to nurture future changemakers who can “contribute to society by turning their passion for applied technologies into reality”, he said.

Mr Wong added that as Singapore looks ahead to prepare for a post-pandemic future, it will be necessary for students to be equipped with the skills to adapt and thrive in the new normal, which will be more disruptive, complex, and uncertain.

“This would require new and innovative methods of learning so as to develop individuals with not just deep Stem expertise but other important qualities,” he said, listing qualities such as adaptability, resilience and the desire to keep on learning as examples.

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through-train Ngee Ann Polytechnic education O-Levels

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