By Michelle Yap
Discover+ is a series of online industry panels which give students the chance to interact with working professionals and learn about the careers they aspire to enter. These panels provide youths and working professionals with the opportunity to better understand industry trends, hear first-hand perspectives from industry professionals, and gain valuable advice on entering or navigating these industries.
On 20 December 2022, Advisory hosted Discover+: Education, the 66th edition of the Discovery+ series. Speakers on the panel included:
Bhargav Sriganesh (Moderator), First Secretary (Political), High Commission of the Republic of Singapore in Kuala Lumpur, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Singapore
Tan Ching Ching, Director, The Sandbox, Innovation & Entrepreneurship office, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Tracy Lee, Director, Industry Development Division 2, SkillsFuture Singapore
Professor Nicholas Hon, Vice Dean of External Relations and Student Life, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, National University of Singapore
Attendees included students at various levels of education, who were interested to learn about the diverse career paths in the education sector, and how to best position themselves for such roles. Below are some key points shared during the session:
With respect to universities, there are predominantly two dimensions to a professor’s/academic’s job — knowledge generation (e.g. research) and knowledge dissemination (e.g. teaching).
With respect to polytechnics, the staff strive to connect students with relevant industry players to facilitate the imparting of practical skill sets and know-how to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
With respect to SkillsFuture Singapore, the staff strive to promote lifelong learning by working closely with polytechnics, universities, private training providers, private education providers, human resource teams and employers.
It is heartening to note that society is increasingly recognising that there are multiple pathways to achieving a successful working life.
Ultimately, whether a university degree is relevant or not boils down to the individual in question; if the individual is particularly interested in a subject which they can only delve into at their desired level in a university setting, a university degree may be relevant for them. In essence, a high degree of self-awareness is required to discern this question.
To become a university professor/academic, one will likely require higher degree qualifications such as a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) which will necessitate both passion for that particular discipline and aptitude for the work involved in obtaining the higher degree qualifications. One example of aptitude required is research skills, which one can learn through a Bachelor’s degree.
There are predominantly two types of roles in polytechnics — administrative roles which involve overseeing the admission of students, managing the center for lifelong learning for mid-career professionals, serving as a bridge between students and industry players; and academic roles which involve teaching and require subject matter knowledge and expertise.
To learn more about the job roles available in the education sector, students can research career portals of specific educational institutes, private training providers, SkillsFuture Singapore, and any other resources that contain information on career pathways in the education sector which interests them.
Additionally, it is notable that two key trends are gaining traction in the education sector. One is edutech, which involves the development of asynchronous lessons, leveraging digital tools in lessons. Another is workplace learning – it is increasingly common to see a dedicated team that oversees learning and development for staff within organizations. A learning and development team typically comprises in-house curators, content developers, planners and thinkers, and its role is to brainstorm ways to help an organization grow its skills and capabilities across the board. With these two trends, those interested in the sector can look forward to a growing variety of roles available.