Creating a digital society is one of the key pillars which is at the forefront of Singapore’s goal of creating a smart nation. The government is constantly looking into ways for ensuring that its people are equipped with the necessary digital skills to survive in the digital age.
One area in which implementations are made is in the education sector. The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) has introduced two new degree programmes in speech and language therapy, and digital communications and integrated media.
Digital Communications and Integrated Media degree programme
This degree programme stands out from other media-related degree programmes such that there is a strong digital focus.
It will train students in knowledge and skills such as digital Web analytics, integrated media management and digital media production.
SIT said that this three-year programme was introduced in response to the demand by the industry. Graduates of this degree programme will be employable in industries such as advertising, media, corporate communications and public relations.
Mr Howie Lau, chief industry development officer at the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), said such course offerings will help nurture a pipeline of industry-ready media professionals.
He said that with talent being at the centre of Singapore’s digital transformation. “With the convergence of tech and media, it is important that our media professionals possess the relevant digital skills and new mindsets to meet the needs of the industry,” he said.
Both degree programmes will begin in September this year, with SIT’s admission period for the forthcoming academic year, being from Jan 10 to March 19.
Speech Therapy degree programme
SIT had said that there is a rising demand in Singapore for speech therapists to aid children who need an early start and as well as for adults with health implications such as stroke.
At the moment, only a master’s programme in speech therapy, which is offered by the National University of Singapore, is available. Students in Singapore who are keen on pursuing a bachelor’s degree under this programme have to resort to other countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom (UK).
SIT’s speech therapy degree programme costs significantly lower, at S$37,000, as compared to Australia and the UK, at S$100,000. This programme is the first of its kind in Singapore.
Ms Melissa Chua, head of speech therapy at Sengkang General Hospital, said that it has been seen that children and adults with feeding or swallowing and communication difficulties will benefit from “early speech therapy assessment and intervention”.
Ms Chua added that there is a significant need for more locally trained speech therapists, with the rising demands and needs of the population. Singapore has been experiencing a rising ageing population and more children are being diagnosed with development problems such as autism.
This four-year programme was created in consultation with therapists from Singapore’s three major health systems- the National University Health System (NUHS), SingHealth and National Healthcare Group (NHG). The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) was also consulted, with it funding therapy hubs and social service agencies.
Private practitioners were consulted as well. Future students of this programme will have to go through 30 weeks of clinical practice with different public and private healthcare institutions during their course of study.
SIT said that bringing theory and practice together will allow graduates to be ready for the workforce.