Aligning CET students’ needs with Polytechnic provisions

A current and continuing project in Singapore is focused on what kinds of continuing education and training (CET) provisions are required to meet the needs of working age adults. The particular project is driven by a concern that these Singaporeans will need to maintain their occupational competence and employability across lengthening working lives in a country that has the world’s third highest age population.

The project has four stages. The first stage comprises interviews with graduates from CET programs (N =180) and employers who are familiar with those programs (N =40). Their data was gathered and analysed to understand why individuals engage in CET programs, what are the factors that assist or inhibit their participation, what kinds and qualities of CET provisions do they find most helpful and what are the characteristics of effective CET teachers, amongst other matters. This was followed in Phase 2 by a survey derived from the findings of this first phase that was administered across the adult population leading to over a thousand responses.

The next two phases comprised verifying the findings with practitioners and administrators from post secondary education institutions who offer CET programs in Singapore to identify how the requests and qualities advanced in the first two phases might able to be accommodated within those institutions and their program provisions. Bulletins are available below for each phase as well as a supplementary survey and a report will be produced.

Research Bulletins

The first research bulletin attached here provides information about, tentative findings from the first two phases, including interviews and surveys of 180 CET graduates and responses to the Phase 2 survey.

The second research bulletin reports the findings form the interviews and survey responses from 40 employer informants about CET provisions meeting their enterprise and employee needs. It is found here.

The third bulletin reports the findings of a supplementary survey used to ascertain whether the use of electronic platforms (e.g. Skype, Zoom, MS Teams) during the lock downs in Singapore lead to changes in working age Singaporeans’ views about the accessibility and effectiveness of on-line CET educational provisions. It is found here.

With the increased use of this technology through work, family communication and possibly studies, it was speculated that working age Singaporeans’ attitudes about online education may have changed. Other observations reinforced our speculations. During the online workshops and webinars in the thir d phase held between September to November 2020, many participating lecturers stated that their students seemed more open to online education than before. Thus, we decided to return to our participants from the first two phases with a supplementary survey to identify whether a greater familiarity with this technology led them to be more open about its use in CET. The supplementary bulletin can be found here.

These bulletins will be of interest to adult educators, teachers in post-secondary education institutions, administrators and policymakers associated with continuing education and training, or more widely lifelong education.