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The experiences of successful graduates such as Ms Chan the designer and Mr Faiz the corporate safety manager have also shown that the technical skills and knowledge they gained in ITE are relevant to the real world.

“My first job after ITE was as a technician, and my education at ITE really helped me to do my job well,” said Mr Faiz.

“Even in my current line of work, the technical skills that I gained have helped me to develop and progress.”


Another common assumption – that an ITE education will put one at a disadvantage when moving to the next level – has also been challenged by several ITE alumni who progressed to diploma education and found that they were more advanced than their coursemates who graduated with O-Levels.

This was particularly true for the hands-on aspects of the course, said an alumnus who wanted to be known only as Ms Woon.

Ms Woon, who graduated from ITE in electrical engineering last year, said that she had fears she would lag behind her peers before she joined the same course at Ngee Ann Polytechnic this year. 

The 19-year-old soon learned that her alma mater had provided her with a solid foundation in her course and that she was even teaching her coursemates who had O-Levels. 

“I felt relieved that my education in ITE had given me a strong fundamental grasp in my course that I could keep up with my studies relatively easier than my other coursemates,” Ms Woon said.

Another alumnus who pursued her studies at polytechnic, Ms Joey Tan, said that her ITE education also built her character and equipped her with relevant skills such as time management, discipline and teamwork skills.

“I found that when I was doing group work in polytechnic, I had a higher sense of urgency compared to my classmates who graduated with O-Levels. They had the mindset that there was still enough time to complete the work when actually there was not. 

“But I also learned in ITE about how to deal with different people in a team and how to manage when people have different working styles, so that has helped a lot,” said the 20-year-old, who is pursuing a diploma in business at Temasek Polytechnic.

The practical skills taught in ITE also came in handy for Mr Ko when he enrolled for a course in digital manufacturing and engineering at Nanyang Polytechnic.

Initially, he had expected to fall behind his peers who graduated with O-Levels, but he soon found himself teaching them instead on the practical aspects of the course.

“In polytechnic, I was the one teaching my coursemates on how to physically operate a machine,” said Mr Ko.

Alumnus Andrea Lee agreed that her ITE education had equipped her with the fundamentals for her product and experience design course at Temasek Polytechnic.

“I already learnt some of the basic terminology and processes typically used in the industry while I was in ITE, so some of my lessons in polytechnic were more of a recap of what I had studied before. This made it easier for me to understand what was taught in polytechnic,” said the 21-year-old.

ITE’s high standards of technical education have even attracted some Normal (Academic) students who wish to pursue an education that emphasises “hands-on” skills after N-Levels.

Among them are electrical engineering students Ee Shen Yap and Brandon Yap, who are both 18 years old.

“I actually could have entered polytechnic after N-Levels through the Direct-Entry-Scheme to Polytechnic Programme but I chose to pursue ITE instead because I wanted a more hands-on experience. My parents supported my decision and allowed me to enrol here,” said Mr Brandon Yap.

Citing the same reason for enrolling into ITE, Mr Ee Shen Yap said: “I’m glad that I made the decision to enter ITE because the technical and coding skills I learnt in school have really helped me in my current internship at an engineering company.”

“It’s quite a relief for me too because it shows that what I am learning in school is actually very relevant to real industry practices. And when I speak to my colleagues, they also reaffirmed my perception that technical education would serve me well in this industry,” he added. The Big Read: ITE sheds ‘it’s the end’ tag after makeover but students, graduates still face prejudice

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