I delivered the following speech during MOE COS debate today.
Sir, last year, NUS announced a 3-month online plus 3-month campus learning programme for incoming undergrads who have completed NS. The programme qualifies for academic credits.
Last month, NTU went one up. Its online courses allow anyone to earn credits and transfer these to NTU if they enroll as an undergraduate later.
MINDEF has initiated a Committee to Strengthen National Service (CSNS). Amongst other things, it is looking at how skills picked up during NS could be recognised in civilian life. An example is the Swiss allowing the transfer of skills or leadership positions in the military into credits in universities.
Online learning is now widely used everywhere. We can marry the ideas started by the universities and what MINDEF is looking at, by having more programmes to engage NSFs in continuous learning.
A Straits Times’ article last year highlighted that more NSFs are studying part-time, but with private providers. NSFs will have varying degree of free time. Online can let them pace themselves and learn even whilst in camp.
Our schools can look at courses that expand on what NSFs are learning in their vocations. MINDEF has gone high-tech. Universities can offer courses such as computing, telecommunications and engineering that explore the technology behind the weapons and tools that NSFs use. Management schools can engage them in leadership and soft skills.