Key Initiatives & Partnerships

Notwithstanding the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, NP continued to roll out new initiatives and partner industry players in a bid to better prepare our students and adult learners for an increasingly digitalised and volatile workplace.

Future-Proofing Students

We provided students with opportunities to acquire emerging skills and competencies to put them in good stead in the future economy. We also revamped our course offerings and introduced new pathways to align them with industry needs and achieve better learning outcomes for students.

  • Our School of Business & Accountancy (BA) piloted the Business Digitalisation track for the Business Studies (BS) course in April 2020. Final year BS students received practical training in emerging fields like artificial intelligence, robotics and digital marketing through company-based projects and internships. This prepared them to facilitate digitalisation efforts in organisations, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Following the successful pilot run, the Business Digitalisation track is now also offered to final year students from the International Trade & Business and Tourism & Resort Management diploma courses.
  • To familiarise students with the use of smart technology and prepare them for the digital economy, the School of Design & Environment (DE) equipped students from the Diploma in Sustainable Urban Design & Engineering (SDE) with industry-relevant skills in virtual reality (VR) software and computational building information modeling. Graduating students from the Hotel & Leisure Facilities Management (HLFM) and Real Estate Business (REB) courses also gained exposure to smart facilities management through a workshop jointly developed with industry leader Johnson Controls.
  • ​Information Technology (IT) students at the School of InfoComm Technology (ICT) can work alongside engineers and technologists during a one-year internship at the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) to tackle real-world challenges, thanks to a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between GovTech and NP in March 2021. Students can also take up scholarships and job opportunities at GovTech.
  • The Diploma in Financial Informatics was renamed Diploma in Data Science (DS) and underwent a major revamp to restructure its curriculum to train students for emerging job roles such as data analysts and data scientists. DS has increased its focus on data analytics and data engineering, which are gaining traction with the rapid advances in digitalisation. Its new Industry Kickstart Project further enhances students’ career readiness by giving them in-depth industry exposure through working on a series of industry-based projects and an internship.
  • DS students can also gain advanced analytics skills under an MOU signed with TIBCO Software Inc, a global leader in enterprise data, in October 2020. They will experience TIBCO’s suite of solutions in selected modules and gain industry experience by interning at TIBCO.
  • The School of Health Sciences (HS) incorporated the use of the Mcgraw Hill smartbook in the Human Bioscience module which allows students to access a virtual laboratory. It further adopted the use of the electronic medical records system at the NP’s Optometry Centre to train students to be digitally ready for the workplace.
  • NP is working with the School of Science and Technology (SST) to develop and pilot a new Integrated Diploma Programme (IDP)​. Under the IDP, academically strong students at the School of Science and Technology, Singapore (SST) with an aptitude in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects can progress to a STEM-related course in NP without sitting for the O-Levels examination. This gives them more time to engage in deeper applied learning across a wide range of STEM-related fields and the opportunity to embark on longer-term capstone projects.
  • NP Library’s Digital Life@NPTM was expanded and rebranded as Digital Life@PolysTM under the Joint-Polytechnic Libraries Collaboration (JPL). This one-stop digital literacy framework empowers all polytechnics’ students to learn and acquire 21st century competencies such as digital literacy and cyber wellness.

Staying Prepared in a Pandemic

We offered support to our students and fresh graduates who were impacted by the pandemic and developed innovative healthcare solutions to help fight COVID-19. We also came up with Work Smarter initiatives where we harnessed smart technology and our ingenuity to make learning meaningful and overcome the operational challenges posed by the pandemic. Our campus social enterprise Dialogue in the Dark also pivoted by delivering its programme online to ensure business continuity.

  • We launched a Career Jumpstart support package with close to 400 employment and learning opportunities for our diploma graduates who were affected by the COVID-19 crisis. For instance, GoSchool served as a career springboard for IT graduates, and secured about 150 job placement opportunities and apprenticeships. We also opened up close to 80 campus job placements for fresh graduates while the Work-Study Programme made available about 200 placements.​

  • The NP COVID-19 Fund was set up in May 2020 to appeal for donations to support students whose households were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. By March 2021, about $630,000 was raised. More than $500,000 was disbursed from the NP COVID-19 Fund to about 1,000 students.
  • Source: The Straits Times @ Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.
    ​To reduce the risk of healthcare staff being infected by COVID-19, NP’s Robotics Research and Innovation Centre and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital created bio-aerosol containment units (BCUs) which, when placed over a patient’s upper body, can shield healthcare workers during high-risk aerosol generating procedures. It is believed that the detachable and made-to-fit qualities of the BCUs made them a first-of-their-kind.
  • Staff from the School of Engineering (SOE) and School of Health Sciences (HS) collaborated to create non-invasive ventilation (NIV) helmets to help patients breathe better so that they would not need intubation. Breathing difficulties are a common symptom of COVID-19.
  • During the year under review, we came up with 90 Work Smarter initiatives including the following:
    • We moved our practical lessons online and tapped the use of technology to create immersive environments that make learning more engaging.
    • Freshmen onboarding programmes were conducted online and students were able to explore various co-curricular activities (CCAs) through an e-CCA fiesta.
    • We launched a virtual graduation week on our social media for the graduating cohort who could not have a physical convocation ceremony because of the pandemic.
    • To make applying for a bursary more convenient for students, the application process was streamlined and converted into an online exercise.
    • The IT Helpdesk team used a built-in quick assist tool in Windows 10 to provide IT support to students and staff remotely, saving about $16,500 a year by negating the need for a third-party tool.
  • With the temporary closure of Dialogue in the Dark Singapore (DiDsg) on our campus, a new online programme called Spotlight on the Blind was designed to provide insights into the lives of the blind while ensuring gainful employment for DiDsg’s blind facilitators. Launched in November 2020, the programme included engaging activities and sharing sessions presented by the blind facilitators. Attracting over 2,000 participants within the first five months of its inception, Spotlight on the Blind was given a 4 or 5-star rating by respondents.

Continuing Education & Training

The need to reskill and upskill is especially urgent in a world that is changing rapidly. With the help of the enhanced training support package and the Government’s SGUnited Skills initiative, we were able to ramp up our CET offerings and rolled out several courses under the Self-Employed Person (SEP) Training Support Scheme last year.

  • To further fuel the growth of our CET Academy (CETA), we set up a new SkillsFuture Innovation Unit which seeks to boost industry partnerships and expand our scope of collaboration with our partners.
  • To support the training of Self-Employed Persons (SEPs) in the past year, our CETA identified and curated courses in four main clusters: data analytics, digital marketing, e-commerce and info-comm. These courses benefitted over 180 SEPs, giving them the tools to acquire key skills for their business and work.
  • The highly sought-after Go programming language is now available in a suite of seven short courses called GoSchool, thanks to NP’s joint venture with OpenNodes and Indorse. Launched in mid-2020, GoSchool also forged partnerships with Shopee, FoodPanda and Zalora to provide apprenticeship opportunities for learners with IT background to acquire hands-on experience as a Go Developer.
  • ​​NP partnered Grab to jointly develop a training programme to equip private-hire drivers with skills and knowledge on customer service, vehicle safety and maintenance in June 2020.​ Close to 7,000 Grab drivers have undergone the programme.
  • Two new full-qualification programmes were also launched to train professionals in emerging skills. They are the Specialist Diploma in AI for Engineers and Diploma (conversion) in Township Management.
  • We launched a total of 19 SGUnited Skills (SGUS) and SGUnited Mid-Career Pathways (SGUP) programmes for adult learners in the past year. They include:
    • A 10-month Learn Data Analytics programme for mid-careerists who are keen to undergo training in data analytics and acquire a basic knowledge of machine learning. Trainees can also gain hands-on experience with an internship or industry-sponsored project supported by PayPal and Keppel.
    • A series of short-term healthcare courses was offered in partnership with the Healthcare Academy to train mid-careerists to be basic care or healthcare assistants. The Healthcare Academy is a collaboration by NTUC LearningHub, Healthcare Services Employees’ Union and e2i.
    • A Student Services & Coaching Bootcamp for those who are keen to pursue an entry-level career as student care coaches in the social services sector. During the six-month programme, learners can also acquire programme planning and centre management skills as well as training in the area of special needs. Over 40 learners have been trained since the launch of the programme.
  • The School of Film & Media Studies (FMS) established partnerships and ran bespoke programmes on topics like social media marketing and video marketing for five corporate clients, namely, Sport Singapore, Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS), the Singapore Tourism Board and Ednovation.

Enhancing Staff Capabilities

We built the capabilities of our staff to enable them to deliver engaging and effective lessons online and pilot several projects to facilitate students’ learning. We also rolled out technology-driven initiatives that deliver greater outcomes.

  • During the circuit breaker last year, our academic staff successfully pivoted to full home-based learning (HBL) by April 2020. Enabled by a myriad of IT tools, they went to great lengths to ensure that online lessons remained effective and engaging. Surveys showed most students were confident to learn through HBL, and there was no negative impact on their overall academic performance.
  • NP’s Centre for Learning and Teaching Excellence set up a website for educators to share their good HBL practices with one another. It partnered the Office of Learning Technologies to engage some NP graduates as learning designers to support our lecturers in the design of their online lessons. They worked with lecturers to trial e-proctored online testing, as well as piloted several projects involving emerging technology such as creating immersive environments for online practical sessions. The School of Health Sciences (HS) also piloted the use of AI for marking and tutoring.
  • As part of our efforts to build digital capabilities in our staff, the Digital Transformation Unit launched a one-stop portal called Digitalising NP. Besides outlining NP’s digital transformation strategies, it houses a digitalisation training series that staff can access to acquire key competencies such as design thinking, data and technology.
  • The ​School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology (LSCT) launched a new training framework to enhance its staff capability in the area of SMAC (social, mobile, analytics, cloud) and DARQ (distributed ledger, AI, mixed reality, quantum computing).

Partnering for Growth

We continued to collaborate with industry partners to build and strengthen partnerships that open doors to exciting learning opportunities for both students and staff of NP, as well as the industry.

  • A new space at Block 58 to drive student entrepreneurship, nurture start-ups and encourage partnerships was officially launched by then Minister for Transport Mr Ong Ye Kung in December 2020. A collaboration between NP and United Overseas Bank (UOB), AGILE - which stands for Accelerating Growth in Innovation, Learning and Entrepreneurship - hosts 10 start-ups which have access to mentorship provided by The Finlab by UOB and The Sandbox (TSB). It also features a community space called Hangout@UOB, where students run a café under the guidance of TSB and UOB.
  • Our entrepreneurship ecosystem got a further boost with the signing of an MOU between NP, ACE (Action Community for Entrepreneurs) and its youth wing, EDGE, in January. Areas of collaboration include the organisation of innovation lab crawls, workshops and internships.
  • ​A safe-distancing robot is being built by the School of Engineering (SOE) in collaboration with the National Parks Board. A prototype of the robot was successfully trialed at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve and a formal research agreement was sealed in October to expedite the development of the robot. The robot can, among other things, patrol large public areas and detect people who are not wearing their face masks.
  • To help SMEs digitalise to stay competitive in the new normal, the SME Digital Reboot programme was launched by NP in partnership with NTUC LearningHub (LHub), United Overseas Bank’s innovation accelerator The FinLab, and NTUC U SME. NP and NTUC LHub will provide training across five tracks while our students, graduates and lecturers from ICT will provide workplace learning and support during the implementation phase
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  • The School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HMS) will be offering training programmes for the social service sector to embrace digital skills, under a Digitalisation Training Programme launched in November as part of an MOU signed by various institutions including NP and the National Council of Social Service.
  • ​A new programme to develop the talent pipeline for architecture and the built environment was introduced under an MOU by the Singapore Institute of Architects and NP’s School of Design & Environment (DE). This programme would see collaboration in various areas including pre-employment training for diploma students, and continuing education and training for adult learners.
  • The School of Health Sciences (HS) is collaborating with Metropolia University of Applied Science, Finland to explore innovations in eldercare. HS also embarked on projects with the Centre for Healthcare Assistive & Robotics Technology (CHART) and Changi General Hospital to customise micro-learning courses on topics such as infection prevention and control.
  • ​At the inaugural Mapletree x NP Hack 2021, NP students came up with innovative ideas to address the challenges brought about by COVID-19. A team of BA students won first place with their idea which uses VR/AR technology to redefine the travel experience.
  • Immersive media and software engineering students would have more opportunities for hands-on industry experience under an MOU signed with YOOZOO Singapore in August 2020. YOOZOO Singapore will also carry out scientific research and teaching projects with NP and provide our lecturers with industry-relevant experience.
  • The Singapore FinTech Youth Chapter (SFYC), which was affiliated to the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA), was launched at the MOU signing ceremony on 19 February between NP, SFA and Prudential Singapore, and witnessed by Assistant Secretary-General of NTUC, Patrick Tay. The new initiative aims to connect youth with the local and global FinTech community. Prudential Singapore is the inaugural lead collaborator for the SFYC.
  • The “Empower – AI for Girls” enrichment programme, which enables female poly students to pick up foundational technical skills, brought on board new industry partners such as PayPal and TIBCO as programme sponsors. The programme started in 2018 as a collaboration between TSB, ICT and Dr Ayesha Khanna, the founder of the charity 21C GIRLS.
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