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    Jun 22, 2016

    Polytechnics cast wider net for students

    POLYTECHNICS are expecting more students to apply via the new Early Admissions Exercise (EAE), which allows them to secure places in diploma programmes through course-specific talents and interests rather than just academic grades.

    A higher proportion of polytechnic places has been set aside for these students next year under the EAE, which begins taking in applications today.

    Polytechnics said a range of education and career guidance activities, such as talks and programmes in schools as well as seminars for parents, may have contributed to the strong interest.

    The EAE, which gives polytechnics greater flexibility to choose students on criteria other than the O-level examination results, can admit up to 12.5 per cent of the intake.

    It will allow students to receive a conditional offer for admission to a diploma course even before sitting the O-level exams.

    Previously, polytechnics took in such students through the Direct Polytechnic Admissions exercise (DPA) and the Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE), which could admit up to 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent of the polytechnic intake respectively each year.

    The EAE is replacing both of these exercises.

    Earlier this year, Acting Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung said at the Education Ministry's (MOE) Committee of Supply debate that all five polytechnics, as well as three of the autonomous universities - Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University - will expand their aptitude-based admissions.

    He also said MOE studies have shown that among polytechnic students with similar O-level aggregate scores, those who are admitted "via DPA do better in their studies... and are far more likely to embark on careers in the sectors for which they were educated and trained".

    The mode of assessment under the EAE can vary and may include interviews, portfolio submissions and aptitude tests.

    Polytechnics may consider achievements such as awards received, roles assumed in and out of school, work attachments and involvement in relevant projects.

    For instance, for the informatics and information technology courses at Temasek Polytechnic, the selection panel assesses applicants during interviews on their knowledge of how IT is applied in areas such as education and healthcare.

    At Singapore Polytechnic, students applying for the music and audio technology diploma will have to go through auditions at which they will be asked to display their musical proficiency.

    Republic Polytechnic registrar Windersalam Shanmugasundar said the scheme encourages students to "discover and pursue their passion".

    "It promotes active planning for their own life."