Country coordinates: Singapore

A small city-state, Singapore has evolved into highly developed, high-income country with aspirations to become an intelligent, global city and leader in sustainability, finance and innovation. One of the Asian Tigers, Singapore is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best places to do business by the World Bank in its annual Doing Business report. Having identified priority industries for development, Singapore is looking to services to drive future economic growth. The government has prioritised reskilling local workers, expanding technical and vocational education and lifelong learning, while also addressing the skills gap by encouraging the development of technical competencies rather than acquisition of university qualifications. With significant changes to the higher education sector in terms of routes into universities (now via polytechnics) and new work–study options, there are more undergraduate choices as tertiary education has become better tailored to industry needs.

Education Intelligence identifies a few quick facts which present market opportunities in the education sector in Singapore:

Enhancing worker productivity and improving workforce skills

A shortage of highly skilled professionals among occupations such as engineering and technology and a mismatch between job seekers’ skills and those demanded by employers has led Singapore to look at improving worker productivity and enhancing human resource training and development. The government is encouraging a sectoral shift towards industrial skills and away from university qualifications, as well as initiatives to increase worker productivity. As the government looks to up-skill the workforce, further training and retraining for mature workers is becoming increasingly important.

Key development areas for GDP growth

Singapore's Economic Development Board has identified 19 core industries to drive growth. These include aerospace engineering, alternative/green technology, chemicals, infrastructure, consumer business, electronics, energy, environment and water management, health care, international non-profit organisations, infocomm products and services, logistics and supply chain management, marine and offshore engineering, media and entertainment, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, precision engineering and professional services. In addition, six emerging business sectors have been earmarked for their growth potential: automotive, lifestyle products and services, natural resources, safety and security, space and data solutions. With slowing demand for manufactured exports, Singapore is focusing instead on services.

Strong commitment to education and increasingly, TVET

In Singapore, the state provides education at all levels from pre-primary to university, as well as limited support for independent institutions. Political stability has allowed the implementation of long-term education strategies and today the Singaporean education system is among the best in the world in terms of education output. The government has invested heavily to develop the country as a regional education hub and to raise the tertiary enrolment ratio. While university education has received significant attention, in recent years there is closer attention to technical and vocational education (TVET). In 2014, the government announced its Continuing Education and Training (CET) Masterplan 2020, to upgrade the skills of professionals, managers, executives and technicians.

TNE provision for key industry sectors is a government priority

Singapore is home to numerous TNE options and the largest number of branch campuses in Asia, including branches of institutions from the US, the UK, Australia, France, China, and India. In addition to branch campuses, there is a broad range of TNE programmes offered through private higher education institutions and Singapore Institute of Technology. In 2013, Singapore was the second-largest market for British TNE offerings, with 50,000 international students studying for UK qualifications in Singapore while Australia is also a key player in the local TNE market. Opportunities for TNE providers remain in key sectors identified as priorities by the government, including health care, human resources, and green technology, as well as TVET programmes.



26/06/2017 - 09:43