Singapore graduates not prepared for their careers

Only 9.5 percent equipped with the skills needed for their workplace, says survey.

By Anuradha Shukla
April 5, 2016

Only 9.5  percent of current and former students in Singapore are equipped with the skills needed for their workplace, according to a new report by Canvas, a learning management system (LMS) created by the company Instructure.

As few as 7 percent cited that they were provided with career-relevant experience at the tertiary level.

Both current and former students in Singapore said that the country's tertiary education system prepares them for their careers at 65 percent, on a scale defining 100 percent as "fully prepared."

Two thirds (66 percent) of the current students in Singapore were satisfied with their tertiary education learning environment.

This percentage is low as 68 percent of students in China, 69 percent in Turkey, and 69 percent in Sweden were satisfied with their tertiary education learning environment.

"Findings from this study echoes the Singapore government's call for working adults to embrace the concept of lifelong learning," said Troy Martin, Director of Canvas Asia Pacific. "Increasingly, the government is nudging tertiary institutions in Singapore to develop continuing education courses for working adults. However, instilling lifelong learning also begins in schools where teachers need to teach students to teach themselves."

Working in chosen career

One third of Singaporeans with four-year degrees are working in the field that they had majored in.

The report notes lifelong learning is key to enabling Singaporeans to be equipped with the right skills needed at work when tertiary institutions are seen as too academic. 

The Singapore government recognises this issue, and is investing over S$1 billion a year from 2015 to 2020 in lifelong learning under its SkillsFuture programme.

However, only two out of five students in Singapore said lifelong learning is an important goal of their tertiary education institution.

"We live in a world where knowledge is quickly outdated and professional fields constantly change. This makes it more that students both gain career-relevant skills and develop their capacity for lifelong learning," said Jared Stein, VP of research and education, Instructure. "Education can do a better job addressing these goals, and technology can help bridge the gap between formal education in the classroom and informal learning in the real world."