Responding to Evolving Workplace Needs of Adult Students at Tertiary Level: The Singapore Experience

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Learning and working environments are marked by an accelerating demand for new and dynamic skills competencies, lifelong learning and e-technologies. Adult students who are working professionals are faced with the challenge of acquiring both theoretical and practical skills, as well as generic employability “soft skills” such as effective communication, creative and critical thinking and problem-solving.

The success of any institution involving continuing education and lifelong learning hinges crucially on its ability to meet evolving workplace needs. SIM University (UniSIM), Singapore’s only university for working adults, recognises that changing demands have a significant impact on the curriculum, pedagogic approach and the teaching and learning environment. It is against this background that this paper examines the English Language and Literature, and the Translation and Interpretation (Chinese and English) degree programmes offered by the School of Arts and Social Sciences at UniSIM. The programmes aim to provide specialized subject knowledge and practical professional skills with critical, creative and communication abilities through carefully designed courses and a blended learning approach. Although there is no neat prescriptive model, the paper reviews the initiatives and the practical approaches undertaken to improve the quality of provision for working adults. Looking ahead, the university and the workplace environment will increasingly become richer both intellectually and culturally and the need to respond innovatively to the diversity of learners’ requirements will become even more imperative.


Keywords: Workplace, Adult Students, Degree Programmes, Skills
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Changing Economic Landscape


Dr. Neelam Aggarwal

Dean, School of Arts and Social Sciences, SIM University
Singapore, Singapore

Associate Professor Neelam Aggarwal is Dean, School of Arts and Social Sciences and Dean in charge of faculty development and training at SIM University, Singapore. She has wide-ranging experience as an academic at universities with a conventional as well as a flexible learning context. Her doctoral specialization is in Modern American Poetry. Her current interest is to explore the enhancement of institutional support mechanisms to socialise tutors into a flexible learning environment; and to explore the nature and effectiveness of the communication channels that exist between teachers and learners in this context; with the aim of extending the provision of student support services and of optimising total quality management. Professor Aggarwal has participated in, and presented papers at, several international conferences. Her publications include poems, literary reviews, humour pieces, and stories for children.

Ref: L08P0432