Thursday 26 June 2014

ITE graduates above 50 hailed as exemplars of lifelong learning

Nursing student completes course with stellar grades; man went back to school out of love for his son
By Ng Jing Yng, TODAY, 25 Jun 2014

The desire to learn was so strong for Madam Liaw Lay Kian that, at the age of 50, she started volunteering at a hospice while juggling the demands of a nursing course she was attending at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE).

“I know the learning is not just from books … I also learnt a lot by observing others and picked up soft skills by interacting with people,” said Mdm Liaw, now 52.

Yesterday, the mother of two adult daughters graduated with a Nitec Certificate in Nursing from the ITE. She was cited as an inspiration for lifelong learning by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat in his speech at the ITE graduation ceremony held at the institute’s headquarters in Ang Mo Kio.

Mdm Liaw, who graduated with an almost perfect grade point average of 3.94, had volunteered at Dover Park Hospice every weekend during her two-year course.

For decades, she had been a homemaker, taking care of her ill husband and bedridden father-in-law. After they died, she enrolled in the nursing course.

“People are precious; I am motivated by my love for people,” said Mdm Liaw,who previously had O-level qualifications and learnt to use the Internet to read up on research papers during her course.

Mdm Liaw is now planning to study at Ngee Ann Polytechnic for a nursing diploma, before pursuing a specialist diploma in palliative care nursing.

Another ITE graduate who exemplifies lifelong learning is 54-year-old Lim Hock Tee, who received his Higher Nitec Certificate in Technology (Electrical Engineering) yesterday.

The service operation engineer, who had secondary-school education, had put off further studies due to family commitments.

However, he eventually signed up for a part-time ITE course out of love for one of his children.

About two years ago, his son was mulling over whether to continue pursuing a Higher Nitec course or serve his National Service. Mr Lim wanted his son to continue his education.

“I thought how else could I encourage (my son) and thought I could do so by going back to school,” he said.

Mr Lim added that his son had not gone on to complete his Higher Nitec course. “There’s a good reason for me to drop out but, if I do so, I will be of no difference. I got to show (my son) I meant it,” he said.

He added that his son had begun to discover his interest in the food and beverage industry and that he supports his son’s plans to work and discover his passion before continuing with his studies.

Eleven students honoured with top medals at ITE Graduation
By Sara Grosse and Durga Devi, Channel NewsAsia, 24 Jun 2014

Nine in 10 ITE graduates continue to secure a job within six months of their graduation, with over 90 per cent of employers strongly endorsing their skills and competencies.

Employers also laud the hands-on skills, positive attitude and sense of responsibility that ITE graduates have. This is according to a 2013 survey on employers' assessment of ITE graduates, which Education Minister Heng Swee Keat highlighted in his speech at the ITE Graduation on Tuesday (June 24).

"ITE exemplifies the government's endeavour to provide diverse pathways that cater to our students' aspirations, needs and talents,” said Mr Heng. “I am happy that ITE has grown from strength to strength since its inception in 1992. It has been transformed from an institution that provides basic vocational training to one that is recognised today as one of the best vocational education institutions all over the world."

Eleven students were honoured with top medals at Tuesday’s ceremony, including 20-year-old Jeremy Lau. He received the Lee Kuan Yew Gold Medal, not just for his outstanding academic performance, but also for his contributions as the President of the Student Council and Chairman of the Aero-Design Club.

Mr Lau did not always have his sights set on such achievements. In secondary school, he was known for being rebellious and disinterested in his studies. The turning point came when he received his N-Level results, which were less than perfect.

He enrolled in the National ITE Certificate (Nitec) course in Aerospace Technology at ITE College Central, where he aimed to do better. "In order not to disappoint my parents, I had to buck up to show them that I could do it,” he told us. “Maybe not in secondary school, but in ITE. I tried my very best to study over here and got the score that I wanted."

He is currently pursuing a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at the Singapore Polytechnic. Eventually, he plans to be an aircraft engineer.

Another student honoured with a top medal today was 52-year-old Liaw Lay Kian, who was awarded the Tay Eng Soon Gold Medal and graduated with a near-perfect Grade Point Average.

Ms Liaw cared for her bed-bound father-in-law for 16 years and her terminally-ill husband for 10 months, and these experiences were key to her decision to go back to school.

"Watching both of them passing away, I think that, really, till now, there is still something in my heart towards those who are terminally ill and dying and I just have a heart for them,” she said.

Ms Liaw decided to take up a nursing course as she was interested in palliative care. She did volunteer work at Dover Park Hospice, which complemented what she learnt in school. Going forward, she plans to take a Specialist Diploma in Palliative Care Nursing, and hopes her example will inspire other mature students.

At the graduation ceremony today, 645 students were awarded Certificates of Merit for emerging as the top 5 per cent from their programmes. Of these, 201 students were given Course Medals for outstanding achievements. In all, 13,042 students are graduating from the ITE programmes this year.

Congratulations to Class of 2014!
Posted by Institute of Technical Education, Singapore on Tuesday, June 24, 2014

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