Monday 24 September 2007

Not the end

When I saw the headlines "ITE wins prestigious Harvard award", my heart was leaping with joy. It's about time! Why is this award so important to the Institute of Technical Education?

Well, in Singapore, if your child is unable to qualify for tertiary education, he'll likely end up in ITE. Sadly, in a nation that is obsessed with academia, ITE has always been referred to as "It's The End".

The Award is given out for the first-time by the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. It is sponsored by IBM. ITE has been conferred the award for making Vocational and Technical Education a thriving option for Singapore’s academically-challenged youths through its unique 10-year Transformation Plan.

Formerly a last resort for low-achieving students, Singapore’s ITE underwent a 10-year reform plan, revamping irrelevant curriculum, upgrading learning environments and instating new academic requirements for current teachers. As a result, the programme reports a 33 per cent increase in graduation rates and a 50 per cent increase in students enrolled between 1995 and 2006. Over the last decade, 90 per cent of ITE students have graduated with high-paying industry careers.

Shortlisted from more than 100 applicants from 30 countries, ITE beat four finalists including a sweeping reforms plan from Georgia; a personalised social services delivery network from Canada, and a US Department of Health programme that cut operating costs.

According to the director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Havard's Kennedy School, Professor Stephen Goldsmith, "Singapore's ITE has created a highly sustainable model for transforming poorly performing education institutions worldwide."

The chairman of ITE's board of governors, Mr Bob Tan said another unique feature of ITE was the nurturing quality. "When students come to the ITE, they have a self-image of people who cannot make it. It's a matter of raising their confidence," he said.

Hence I rejoice for ITE, and for the students in ITE. They will never feel like black sheep again.


mooiness said...

It's a common stereotype that Chinese families prefer their kids to be in the five golden careers: engineering, medicine, law, dentistry and commerce.

Therefore like you've said, for ITE to be recognised and to survive in a society like Singapore is great.

Trades and technical jobs should not be looked down upon. If no one does them, how is society to function?

And you only have to come to Australia to realise that "tradies" are some of the highest paid individuals around and they work regular hours! :)

Anonymous said...

That's right...same with Japan...I agree with mooiness..

Blur Ting said...

Yes, I have seen how the carpenters and builders in Australia are the most 'desirable' males. Plus they're usually tanned and sinewy...drool.

JY, I must go to Japan to check it out for myself. :-)

SOUL said...

funny mooiness mentions australia.. my kid informed me yesterday that she wants to go to college in australia...
i don't THINK so.

anyhow..c ya

Blur Ting said...

Hey Soul, Australia is a great place for education. Lots of parents in Singapore send their kids to Australia. It's a good place to live, study and work. Mooiness and his parents migrated there when he was young. They're citizens now.

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