Ms Theresa Schopper, Minister for Education, Youth and Sports, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
His Excellency Karl Norbert Riedel, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Mr Klaus Lorenz, Head of Vocational Schools, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Dr Thomas Riecke-Baulecke, President, Center for School Quality and Teacher Education, Germany
Mr Andrew Chong, Chairman, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Singapore
Ms Low Khah Gek, CEO, Institute of Technical Education (ITE), Singapore
Esteemed guests from Germany
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. Good afternoon. I am happy to be here today to renew the Memorandum of Understanding between Singapore's Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, or KM for short.
2. Singapore and Germany share a similar vision for our vocational education and training, or VET systems, which is to prepare our students for the future economy, work and life. Both countries invest heavily in education to provide the best opportunities for individuals to develop their strengths and abilities in pre-employment training, and deepen their skills throughout their careers through continuing education and training.
3. Today's signing marks the sixth consecutive renewal of the MOU since the initial signing in 1991. This is testimony to both ITE and KM's strong commitment to continuing our collaboration and forging even closer ties in the years ahead. Congratulations to ITE and KM.
Partnership Between ITE and KM
4. The successful partnership between ITE and KM has allowed us to combine the strengths of our institutions to develop more flexible pathways for our students. The two Technical Engineer Diplomas, or TEDs, in Automotive Engineering (since October 2010) and Machine Technology (since April 2008), jointly developed by KM and ITE, are good examples.
5. These two courses have benefited more than 700 graduates to date. The curricula are refreshed regularly. For instance, the curriculum of the TED in Automotive Engineering now covers the competencies necessary for students to work with electric vehicles. Based on ITE's annual Graduate Employment Survey, employment outcomes of TED graduates have been very promising, with 9 in 10 employed within 6 months of graduation, and their salaries comparable to polytechnic graduates. In addition, the foundation provided through the TED's hands-on training and curriculum has led to many of these graduates becoming leaders in their respective fields.
6. One example is Muhammad Aliff Adha Bin Abdul Japar, who graduated from the National ITE Certificate (Nitec) course in Precision Engineering (Machining) before enrolling in the TED in Machine Technology. Since graduating in 2011, he is now a Senior Assembly Technician with Hyundai Motor Group. Prior to joining the automotive industry, Aliff worked in the aircraft industry for eight years. He assembled commercial aircraft engines for Rolls-Royce, taking on roles such as Inspector, Trainer and Deputy Team Lead. After joining Hyundai, Aliff trained in South Korea for three months in assembling electric vehicles and was subsequently tasked to assemble Hyundai's IONIQ 5 series of electric vehicles. Aliff's strong skillsets and adaptability acquired through the TED enabled him to transit from one industry to another seamlessly.
7. Current students in the TEDs are similarly appreciative of the training they are receiving. Dior Kim Xiu Qing is a first year student in the TED in Automotive Engineering. Dior enjoys developing both her soft skills and engineering-related competencies through the course. She appreciates that the course builds on the skills acquired through her Nitec in Automotive Technology and is looking forward to pursuing an engineering career after graduation.
8. These examples show that these technical diplomas, or TDs, are an important pathway for students who prefer a more hands-on approach to learning. Earlier this year, we concluded the Review of Opportunities and Pathways in Applied Education. One of the recommendations of the Review was to continue increasing diversity in our applied education pathways, and expanding the range of TDs offered to students. I am happy to note that ITE is exploring more TDs with KM to provide more programmes and pathways for ITE students to deepen their skills and prepare themselves for the challenges of the future. Germany is at the forefront of many critical technologies that contribute to tackling important global challenges, such as sustainable development and clean energy. I look forward to the new TDs, which will equip our young with vital skills and competencies in the future.
9. Besides collaborations in TDs, ITE has learnt much from the partnership with KM, in areas such as the dual system of vocational training and German Meister's Training Methodology. Beyond curriculum insights, ITE has also learnt from the staff development approaches of the Germans and has developed their lecturers to provide coaching, guidance and support to their fellow teaching staff. I am glad to note that through KM's endorsement, ITE won the World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics Excellence Award for Teacher Professional Development this year. Congratulations to ITE and thank you KM, for your endorsement.
10. Partnerships between ITE and KM are invaluable to Singapore in our efforts to evolve our education system in preparation for the new future. Let us continue to work closely together to strengthen our relationships and better develop our people for the future of change.
11. Last but not least, I understand that Minister Schopper will be visiting our Academy of Singapore Teachers, National Institute of Education and Raffles Institution over the next few days. I wish you fruitful visits to these institutions.
12. Thank you!