Singapore

More choosing to take polytechnic route after O levels

With a better understanding of their study and career aspirations and encouraged by the increasing number of polytechnic graduates making it to local universities, more O-level school leavers are taking the polytechnic route.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said of the 20,300 candidates posted to a post-secondary education institution last year via the Joint Admissions Exercise, 52 per cent were posted to the five polytechnics here. This is a record in recent years.

Another 38 per cent were given places in the junior colleges (JC) and Millennia Institute, a figure which did not account for those enrolled in the six-year Integrated Programme, where students skip the O levels and go straight to JC1.

Another 10 per cent were posted to the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

MOE said around 45 per cent of the O-level students admitted to polytechnics last year had qualified for JC, which requires better results for entry, compared with 40 per cent in 2014.

To qualify for a JC place, a student's L1R5 score - based on English and five relevant subjects - must not exceed 20 points.

Polytechnics require grades for English and four other subjects to not exceed 26 points, although for the more popular courses, successful applicants need to score under 12 points.

BETTER INFORMED

Temasek Polytechnic principal Peter Lam noted that in recent years, the polytechnic has seen an increased proportion of JC-eligible students enrolling in its diploma programmes.

He said: "I see this as the direct result of MOE's education and career guidance programme, which has successfully provided students with comprehensive information regarding their education and career options."

Schools have stepped up education and career counselling so that those going for further education will be able to make more informed decisions.

Students and parents interviewed said the poly route has also become more appealing with the Government making more places available to those who want to upgrade their diploma to a degree.

When the Government announced the expansion of university places in 2012, only 20 per cent of poly graduates made it to the local universities. By 2019, 30 per cent of poly graduates made it to one of the six local universities.

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Different routes after O levels

20,300

Number of candidates who were posted to post-secondary institutions via the 2020 Joint Admissions Exercise held after O-level results were released in January last year

52%

Percentage of candidates who were posted to the polytechnics (45 per cent of them had qualified for junior college)

38%

Percentage of candidates posted to the junior colleges and Millennia Institute

10%

Percentage posted to the ITE

Note: The junior college figure does not include those in the six-year Integrated Programme who skipped the O levels.

Education