ITE students can get Higher Nitec certification in 3 years under new curriculum from 2022

Starting with 16 Nitec and Higher Nitec courses.

Fiona Tan | April 30, 2021, 09:56 PM

The Institute of Technical Education (ITE) will be introducing an enhanced curricular structure for select courses from Academic Year 2022.

Under this new structure, a Higher Nitec (National ITE scheme) certification can be completed in three years, the Ministry of Education (MOE) and ITE announced on Apr. 30.

Shorter time for Higher Nitec certification

Currently, ITE students will have to complete a two-year Nitec programme before the Higher Nitec programmes which usually last for two years.

Upon completion of their two-year-long studies, ITE students will graduate with a baseline Nitec certificate.

The enhanced curricular structure will remove overlapping competencies between Nitec and Higher Nitec courses, shaving the time to complete both Nitec and Higher Nitec by one year.

Enhanced three-year curricular structure

Under the enhanced structure, students will take up broad-based foundation courses in Year 1 before taking more specialised modules in Year 2 and 3.

Students will also be undertaking two industry attachments in the later two years of their studies — a three-month IA in Year 2 and a six-month IA in Year 3. The two IAs are "designed to connect" and be built on each other.

"Together, this nine months industry attachment is significant and it provides our student with authentic workplace learning and the outcome of this will be stronger workplace competencies, there will be more industry relevant skills, they'll be more work ready," MOE and ITE said.

The new curriculum was studied as part of the Review of Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education, led by Second Minister for Education Maliki Osman.

Implement the new structure to all ITE courses in phases

ITE said that the new curricular structure is a "significant change" and therefore it cannot "transit all courses overnight".

Instead, it will adopt a "phased implementation approach" starting from 2022.

At the first phase of implementation, 16 courses, eight Nitec and eight Higher Nitec, have been identified and that will involve about 2,000 students admitted into Year 1 and about 1,200 students admitted into Year 2 directly.

Applications for these eight Higher Nitec courses will open in May 2021 through the Early Admissions Exercise (EAE) or in December 2021 through the Joint Intake Exercise (JIE).

Admitted students will automatically be enrolled for a three-year programme leading to a Higher Nitec qualification.

Here are the 16 Nitec and Higher Nitec courses under the new structure:

Courses involved in the first phase of implementation. Image from Ministry of Education

Around 80 per cent of ITE's courses are expected to make the transition to the three-year Higher Nitec structure by 2024.

By 2026, this structure is expected to apply to all ITE courses, MOE said.

The first phase will be reviewed and necessary adjustments will be made to the curriculum before moving into subsequent phases of the implementation.

More flexibility and opportunities for Nitec students

Through the new curriculum, ITE students have a more direct pathway to attaining a Higher Nitec certificate. This is in line with MOE's commitment to providing all ITE graduates with the opportunity to attain beyond a Nitec certificate by 2030.

The curriculum will provide greater flexibility to cater to the different strengths and needs of students, MOE and ITE said. These include students who are able to complete the Higher Nitec in two years and those who need more than there years to do so.

"We also noted, that in our ITE context, the learners' profiles are not homogeneous. We do have a diverse range and that informs us in terms of how we design our new curricular structure and it also informs us about how we should make it flexible and cater to different learning styles," MOE and ITE said.

Students who require more than three years will be given additional support, MOE and ITE added.

Students can choose to go out to work first with a Nitec qualification and return to complete their Higher Nitec studies at a later stage. They can return at any time to complete their remaining modules, part-time or full-time.

Higher Nitec graduates will also have the option to upgrade further through programmes like the ITE Work-Study Diploma (WSDip).

Top image from Institute of Technical Education website