A Case Study of Leveraging UniSIM programmes with the SkillsFuture Initiative

Kin Chew Lim, June Tay, Patrick Chan and Wai Ping Low
SIM University

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on how the SIM Universityís (UniSIMís) academic programmes have been enhanced by leveraging with the SkillsFuture initiative. Singaporeís university landscape has changed drastically since 2011. Firstly, the competition has intensified, with the number of universities increasing from three to six. Secondly, several universities have collaborated with leading universities such as MIT and Duke University. Thirdly, to reflect our young peopleís aspirations to gain new skills leading to better-paid jobs, a considerable emphasis has been placed on industrial collaboration, applied research, student internships and employment. Lastly, in line with our governmentís effort to restructure the economy and boost productivity, it recently introduced the lifelong learning movement known as SkillsFuture. SkillsFuture creates an ecosystem of education and training providers, employers and unions to provide skills mastery courses, with several government financial subsidies. Against the backdrop of a competitive university context, UniSIMís strategy has been to leverage on the SkillsFuture initiative and counter new challenges. These challenges include the reducing student numbers resulting from competition; the ageing population; and the expansion to new market overseas. UniSIMís unique business model of pervasive e-learning and modular courses has enabled its successful coupling with the SkillsFuture initiative to re-define itself and search for new markets. Our courses have been designed and developed in a modularl fashion; and industry professionals teach in many of our applied-based courses. Pedagogically, we adopt different approaches, such as flipped classrooms, traditional face-to-face sessions, active learning and online virtual classes. We have also set up a repository of free virtual classes which students can download and go through the material. In addition, we now have course offerings on multiple platforms such as Udemy, Coursera and the WDA (Workforce Development Agency) Portal.