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NEW INITIATIVES

In our endeavours to ensure that Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) is a great place to learn and work, we rolled out several new initiatives that expanded learning opportunities and enriched staff engagement.

CURRICULUM DESIGN & DELIVERY

NP regularly refreshes our course offerings to ensure they remain relevant to industry needs.

  • The School of Business & Accountancy launched a new Entrepreneurship Management Option in the Diploma in Business Studies for student-athletes from the Singapore Sports School. This programme offers a through-train option to NP with a flexible and “athlete-friendly” curriculum that allows the student-athletes to pursue both academic and sporting excellence.

  • To cater to the need for more Tamil language teachers in pre- and primary schools, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences offered a new diploma – Tamil Studies with Early Education (TSE) – in June 2016. The inaugural intake for TSE started in April 2017.

  • The School of InfoComm Technlogy revamped and enhanced the curricula for three of its diplomas:

    • Diploma in Financial Informatics: The use of Application Programming Interface platforms was incorporated into the curriculum to deepen students’ IT foundation and coding skills, in line with Singapore’s push to grow the FinTech sector. The enhanced curriculum will also provide opportunities for students to innovate solutions for the FinTech industry.

    • Diploma in Information Technology: In their second and third year, students can customise their education according to their passions and interests. They can choose from a myriad of electives in seven areas of interest such as games programming, mobile business applications, and business analytics. This provides them with more flexible choices in building their portfolio.

    • Diploma in Multimedia & Animation: The curriculum was revamped to better equip students with design, technical, conceptual and collaborative skills to meet demands in areas such as new media, mobile apps, games, websites, interactive installations, next generation advertising, and virtual and augmented reality systems.

  • NP launched a new Certificate in China Readiness (CCR) programme in collaboration with Business China for second-year students across all diplomas. It comprises three modules which include a 12-day immersion component in China. Students who opt for the programme will gain exposure to and experience in engaging with the global powerhouse.

ENHANCING PEDAGOGIES

  • The Teaching and Learning Centre (TLC) embarked on a strategic direction for teaching and learning, termed Signature Pedagogies in the Professions (SPiP), in May 2016. TLC worked with each school to identify specific learning approaches that are highly suited to helping us nurture our students to think, do and value what the professionals in their field of study think, do and value. This will enhance the profession-specific skills development of our courses.

  • Following the launch of Service-Learning (S-L) as NP’s signature pedagogy in March 2016, NP engaged an external consultant, Professor Robert G. Bringle, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, Psychology and Philanthropic Studies and Senior Scholar, Center for Service and Learning, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA, for two years to provide guidance on curriculum development, pedagogy, evaluation and research. He also delivered a public lecture and conducted customised training for NP staff on curriculum design and assessment.

  • A new experiential programme was also designed to help senior leadership better understand and appreciate the S-L pedagogy. Participants visited Institute of Mental Health, Singapore Police Force or HOME, and chatted with patients, caregivers, inmates or migrant workers, to gain deeper insights into community or institutional needs and challenges. They also reflected on their learning, and thought about creative and practical solutions to help build active citizenry.

EARLY ADMISSIONS EXERCISE

The inaugural Early Admissions Exercise (EAE), launched by the Ministry of Education, was held from 22 June to 29 June 2016, to enable secondary school students to obtain conditional offers for admission to polytechnics based on their aptitudes and interests, prior to sitting for their GCE ‘O’ level examinations.

The EAE replaces the Direct Polytechnic Admission (DPA) and Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE). It allows the polytechnics to increase the discretionary intake allowance to 12.5% (for 2017) of their planned places. For 2018, the allowance was increased to 15%. For some courses, polytechnics can also have the flexibility to admit students via EAE for up to 50% of the courses’ planned intake. These courses are in social and healthcare services, early childhood education, design, and media, where the ability to do well depends on a range of qualities beyond academic grades, and passion for the field is especially important. NP has in total 17 courses with the raised 50% course-level allowance.

NP put together programmes and activities to increase awareness of EAE and further supported it by developing appropriate selection methods and assessment to determine if students have the right aptitude and interests for the courses they have applied for. Course counselling, and education and career guidance were also offered to help students and parents make informed choices.

For EAE 2016, more than 4,800 students applied for a place in NP and over 50% of them were shortlisted for an interview and further evaluation. Finally, over 1,000 students were offered places in NP.

SKILLSFUTURE AT NP

To support the national SkillsFuture movement and ensure our graduates get a head start in their careers, we introduced the following new programmes during the year under review.

  • The SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programmes (launched in August/October 2016):

    • Advanced Diploma in Accountancy

    • Specialist Diploma in Electrical Design and Operation

    • Specialist Diploma in Marine Design

    • Specialist Diploma in Veterinary Clinical Practice

    • Specialist Diploma in Sustainable Facilities Management

  • Travel and Learn Programme
    The first run of the Travel and Learn programme to Myanmar took off from 20 to 23 Mar 2017. Run by NP’s CET Academy, with funding from IE Singapore, the programme exposed participants to business markets in Myanmar and helped them to establish networks in the country.

  • CET Forum
    Organised by CET Academy, the CET Forum 2016 in October attracted more than 240 attendees, including staff in continuing education and training from other polytechnics and Institute of Technical Education. The forum focussed on trends and practices in lifelong education and remote learning.

More Skills-Based Modular Courses (SBMCs) were also made available this year. These modular and bite-sized learning options take into consideration the demands of working adults. Over 100 SBMCs were offered and NP is on track to attain 100% modularisation for all part-time diploma courses by 2020.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP & INNOVATION

NP continued to build on its entrepreneurship ecosystem and nurture a culture of innovation and enterprise.

  • At the end of 2016, we started Campus Ecosystem, a programme that aims to have 100 start-ups and innovative companies running pilots, prototypes and trials using our campus as a testbed. Through this programme, we aim to transform the way students learn and the way we work, focusing on four areas of innovation – Student Life, Teaching & Learning, Work Culture, Work Processes. To date, some 12 start-ups have come on board, including Green Koncepts, an energy management company that offers expertise on energy monitoring, and Gnowbe, a mobile learning platform that empowers enterprises to design and distribute bite-sized, action-based content instantly.

  • An Enterprise-in-Residence scheme was initiated in November to get selected companies to set up their bases on campus. This enables a tighter integration between such companies and NP, facilitating and accelerating transfer of expertise. Staff and students will be able to get deeper insights into industry functions and standards and fill knowledge gaps. So far, two companies have set up base in NP, with another starting in the second quarter of 2017.

  • Under The Sandbox, NP’s entrepreneurship arm, 25 students embarked on the annual Overseas Innovation Challenge to Hong Kong. They were tasked to think of solutions for challenge topics given by alumni entrepreneurs, Mr Eric Lim from My Gym and Mr Douglas Gan from Vanitee. One team of students was invited to pitch their marketing ideas to Vanitee, some of which have been adopted as part of the latter’s marketing strategy.

  • The first batch of students who had gone for the inaugural Global Entrepreneurial Internship Programme (GEIP) in Silicon Valley in March 2016 returned in October to celebrate their completion of the programme. Following the successful pilot run of the GEIP, a second batch of GEIP students set off for their internship in three cities — Silicon Valley, Jakarta and Shanghai. All the GEIP students received positive feedback on their performance from the companies they interned in, with about two-thirds being offered extensions or permanent positions; about a third extended.

CAMPUS & STAFF DEVELOPMENT

To ensure students get the best hands-on learning experience, NP constantly rejuvenates its learning spaces. We also aim to build a conducive work environment and introduced several new initiatives to develop staff’s capabilities and promote their wellbeing.

Campus Development

  • Several projects under Phase 8 of campus rejuvenation were completed. They include refurbishment of the School of Business & Accountancy at Block 72; a new underground link providing a safer pathway between Blocks 72 and 52; renovation of the School of Humanities & Social Sciences at Block 52 and the School of Film & Media Studies at Block 53. More laboratories and facilities to scale up technological innovations were also added to the Environmental & Water Technology Centre of Innovation at Block 40.

  • The School of InfoComm Technology began building its new smart learning spaces in January 2017. Once complete, the digital learning spaces will include features and technologies to enhance collaborative and applied learning and prepare students for the future of digital disruptions.

  • NP is well on its way to achieving its 2020 energy and water savings targets. In 2016, we achieved 12.5% savings in electricity consumption and 17.8% savings in water consumption. Contributing to the savings included measures such as using air-conditioning chillers with better efficiency, better control of wastage with online monitoring of electrical and water usage, and reducing the use of potable water by harvesting rain water and condensate water.

  • To add to the diversity in flora and fauna on campus, gardens such as an Eco Garden outside Block 22 and a Community Garden opposite Blocks 43 and 44 were established. Wooden swings installed in several locations and topiaries in the shape of bunnies and Christmas trees created more picturesque spots.

  • A comprehensive effort to recycle paper and monitor paper purchases was initiated in May 2016, followed by a quarterly collection of e‐waste from June 2016 onwards. More than 20 recycling bins were set up on campus to promote the recycling of paper, aluminium and plastics. In addition, we appointed a consultant to help improve the biodiversity on campus and raise the eco‐literacy of students. Sustainability and environmental‐awareness briefings were incorporated in staff induction and student orientation programmes. An annual environmental flagship event to promote waste reduction was also held in June, in conjunction with World Environment Day.

Staff Development

  • NP established the Industry Currency Activities (ICA) Framework for lecturers to encourage them to stay abreast of industry developments and remain connected with their respective industries. Staff are encouraged to participate in one ICA activity every 5 years.

  • The Staff Learning & Development Office (SLD) initiated Giftwork® Training for Leaders workshops as a follow-up to the Great Place to Work survey conducted in 2015. The workshops aimed to maximise team performance by teaching leaders how to build trust with employees through their daily interactions.

  • SLD also partnered with Gnowbe, an innovative mobile app that is focused on “learning-by-doing”, to pilot an e-learning leadership series on a mobile application for the NP senior management. A total of 39 senior leaders started their 12-month digital learning journey on 1 Jul 2016 on three selected themes revolving around leading self and others.

  • Common White Space was established on Thursday afternoons to enhance staff bonding and promote personal or professional wellness and professional development. During Common White Space, activities such as fitness sessions, healthy food fairs, enrichment and competency-building talks and workshops were organised for staff participation.

ORGANISATION RESTRUCTURING

During the period of reporting, NP revamped its organisational structure to better position itself to meet new challenges and imperatives, with schools and departments being organised into four pillars:

  • Schools, focusing on academic excellence

  • Academic & Student Life, focusing on holistic student development

  • Technology, Partnerships & Planning, focusing on positioning NP for the future

  • Corporate, focusing on organisational excellence

Several Coordinating Directors were appointed in the areas of Academic Planning, Smart Nation, SkillsFuture, and People. Seven new departments were established while five existing ones were restructured.