31 May 2011
A Grand Celebration of a Historic Event
By Karen Sum, ITE
Singapore’s Prime Minister opens new ITE College West to great fanfare
It was a welcome befitting of a rock star. Three thousand students cheered and banged their clappers wildly when the man-of-the-moment arrived. He was none other than Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong.
On 18 April, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West Singapore was officially opened by PM Lee, who was the Guest-of-Honour for this historic event. Some 700 guests, including then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Teo Chee Hean, then Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, Dr Ng Eng Hen, and then Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong, were invited to witness the event.
Providing One-of-a-Kind Education
During the Opening Ceremony, which was peppered with entertaining performances by students, PM Lee paid tribute to the uniqueness of the ITE education system. “Hardly any other country has anything similar or comparable to our ITE,” he said, adding that ITE is now a pillar of Singapore’s education system.
PM Lee also said that the high level of vocational and technical education which ITE offers, caters “not just to an elite, but across the board to all students.” And as proof of that, PM Lee shared that about 90 per cent of ITE graduates are employed within six months of job search, and 91 per cent of employers rate ITE graduates positively on work performance.
Building on PM Lee’s speech, Mr Bruce Poh, Director & CEO, ITE (Singapore’s Official Delegate), shared with guests the fruits of ITE’s transformation beyond physical change. He revealed that in 2011, ITE’s Brand Equity Index, which also reflects the public perception of vocational and technical education, had improved substantially to 69%, an improvement of more than 100% as compared to 34% in 1997 when the tracking study was launched. He said: “This shows, very clearly, that Singaporeans now strongly endorse ITE and the quality of education it offers, compared with 15 years ago.”
Every ITE College is equipped to provide only the best facilities for students. ITE College West was purpose-built “to create a community- and eco-friendly campus, creating a vibrant learning environment, with boundless opportunities and infinite possibilities for students”, Mr Poh explained.
A College for Service and Innovation
Indeed, as “A College for Service and Innovation”, ITE College West strives to actively cultivate an innovative mindset and a service-oriented attitude. This will give ITE students an edge in gaining practical, market-relevant skills in an increasingly globalised economy. As such, ITE College West houses some 400 training rooms, including a 22-room training hotel, a coffee barista training centre, Western and Asian training kitchens and restaurants, a state-of-the-art Multimedia Design Centre, and an Automotive Technology Centre.
Second of ITE’s Three Comprehensive Regional Campuses ITE College West is the second of ITE’s three comprehensive Regional Campuses to be developed under the “One ITE System, Three Colleges” Education and Governance Model. The College’s niche areas include Culinary and Hospitality Services, Land Transport, Security Technology and Service Innovation. The third Regional Campus, ITE College Central, will be ready in 2013.