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March 2017

Where there’s a wheel, there’s a way

Article featured SP’s Diploma in Business Information Technology final-year student Mohamed Najulah who joined the poly as part of its pioneer Polytechnic Foundation Programme (PFP) in 2013. He will graduate in May with more than 800 other PFP students across the five polys. Born with brittle bone disease, he fractured his right leg more than five times in primary school and since then, has been using a wheelchair for his safety. Najulah started developing Happy Wheel, an app tapping on publicly available data sets and Google for wheelchair-friendly paths, at his first hackathon – the Transport and You(th) Hackathon in April 2015. The idea for the app came after he went for a talk at the Microsoft building at Marina Boulevard and realised his route there from the MRT station was full of barriers and steps. Happy Wheel won the People’s Choice award at the hackathon and was even highlighted on PM Lee Hsien Loong’s Facebook page after he attended the event. Najulah is still working on the app with seven course mates. Najulah has just finished an internship at A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing where he assisted in research to create barrier-free access for wheelchair users. He aspires to continue developing apps that will be useful to the society. Ms Chao Yunn Chyi, director of SP’s School of Mathematics & Science, shared that the programme was introduced in 2013 for top performing Normal (Academic students). Students enrolled in the PFP will skip their fifth year in secondary school and move directly into poly. Upon completion of the PFP, they will start on their full-time diploma courses as other poly-bound students. Najulah is also one of the 21 recipients of this year’s Model Student Award. [The New Paper, p16]


February 2017

A passion for research

Article on scholarship holders featured SP’s Diploma in Applied Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Sciences alumnus Teo Wei Kiat. He is the holder of the Singapore-Industry Scholarship (SgIS), a multi-industry scholarship in partnership with the Singapore Government, and is currently in the first year of his chemistry degree at the National University of Singapore. The SgIS offers scholarships from various companies across industries such as the arts, healthcare, engineering, tourism and infocomm technology. Wei Kiat eventually chose the scholarship offered by pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) as it not only covers tuition fees, but also secures him a job after graduation. The full-term scholarship covers tuition fees, and allowances ranging from summer programmes to CCAs. Wei Keat’s interest in the research discipline of medicinal chemistry was sparked after he went through an internship as a SP student and was involved in research experiments for his final-year project. Wei Keat worked with his mentor, Dr Kelvin Ng from the Singapore MIT-Alliance in Research & Technology (SMART) on a tri-optical water quality sensor. This internship was instrumental in igniting his passion to pursue science-related research as a career. He also had another internship at A*STAR where he was involved in a youth research programme. There, he assisted his mentor to understand the synthesis and characterisation of gold nanoclusters species, still a relatively new field of research. The experience made him want to contribute further to this field as he realised that there is so much more to be discovered in chemistry, which could lead to the invention of new drugs. Wei Keat will be interning with GSK after completing his first year in university. [The Straits Times, Scholars' Choice II, p15]


Polytechnics, fintech association sign MOU to better support students

NYP, NP, RP, SP and TP have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Fintech Association to prepare students to meet the demand for manpower in areas such as data analytics and cybersecurity. According to the Infocomm Manpower Survey in 2015, Singapore employers estimated there could be as many as 5,100 vacancies for roles within network and infrastructure from 2016 to 2018, with another 5,700 jobs in data analytics and cybersecurity. The collaboration will see more internships created for final-year polytechnic students across the industry. Students could intern at start-ups, financial institutions and regulatory bodies. The association also plans to launch 100 workshops for students conducted by industry experts on new technological, regulatory and other advancements in the banking and financial sector. The collaboration also supports the PolyFinTech 100 initiative, which was launched last October to develop a strong talent pool trained in financial technology to help Singapore become a smart financial centre. Similar story was reported in Channel 8 News,, In similar story reported by Yahoo News, Tech Wire Asia and Berita Harian, Clarence Ti, Principal of NP opined on the success of the PolyFinTech 100 initiative and the opportunities provided by the new collaboration NP is the SkillsFuture Sector Coordinator for Accountancy and Financial Service. [Channel News Asia]


He gets scholarship from poly that once kicked him out

Article featured SP scholarship holder and first-year SP Diploma in Maritime Business student Quek Jun Hui who was kicked out from the poly after skipping his Year 1 exams. His first attempt at a diploma was in the SP’s marine engineering programme. He received warning letters from teachers for all his modules as he skipped school three out of five days a week to play games from noon to 5am. Even in school, he would sit at the back of the lecture hall to play games on his laptop. After Jun Hui was kicked out, he started to work part-time. He was frustrated with his when his employers refused to give him a pay rise despite his workload. They even asked him to stop complaining since he was just an O-level holder. He wanted to prove his bosses wrong and this resolve was strengthened by an incident during his national service (NS). With the support of his NS supervisors, he decided to give up computer games completely and appealed to enrol in SP once again. Captain Ho Thye Sang, the course chair of the diploma in maritime business, decided to give Jun Hui a second chance. At the admission interview, Jun Hui mentioned that he wanted to pursue maritime studies in Nanyang Technological University after graduation and Captain Ho could tell that he was more serious. Jun Hui topped the cohort in his first year, delivering good results as he had promised. Now, Jun Hui attends all his lessons and studies on the weekends. He also intends to open a food business in future. [The New Paper, p12]


January 2017

Growing real solutions to real-world problems

Article featured the Urban Farming Kit and the Smart Bike Alarm that was showcased at the SP Engineering Show 2017. Both projects were designed in response to requests from industry partners. The urban farming kit which is devised by a team of four Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering students, is a multi-tiered rotating pot holder, about 3m high, that resembles a Ferris wheel. It allows more plants to be grown in a given space. The kit was built in collaboration with Kampung Senang Charity and Education Foundation. The Smart Bike Alarm was requested by security company Adsec Singapore and was developed by three Diploma in Electrical and Electronic Engineering students. It is aimed at cyclists who leave their bicycles unattended for a short while. The alarm will sound when it senses that the parked bicycle is being moved for a prolonged period of time. Coordinates of the bike's location are then sent to the owner. Since 2014, there has been a 10 per cent increase in the number of industry-linked projects. About a third of the 94 final-year projects on display this year are industry-linked. SP's Deputy Principal Lim Peng Hun shared that industry-linked projects motivate students more as they are solving real-world problems and this provides an authentic learning experience. Representatives from Kampung Senang and Adsec Singapore also opined on the respective projects developed by SP’s students. [The Straits Times, pB10]


From lost kid to inspired youth to aspiring karateka

Article featured SP’s second-year Diploma in Electrical and Electronics Engineering (DEEE) student, Audric Ping, who is competing in the Singapore Karate-do Federation’s open selection trials on 14 January for a spot in the national squad. He shared his struggles growing up – his mother died of breast cancer seven years ago, while his paternal grandmother succumbed to a stroke three months later. Then a student at St Gabriel’s Secondary School, Audric’s studies suffered and his poor N-Level results subsequently saw him ending up at ITE College Central. Support from his coach, friends and his ITE lecturer inspired him to pick himself up. He worked hard to achieve a 3.8 GPA in his studies in ITE, winning a number of academic and co-curricular activity awards. In 2013, Audric’s community and volunteer work saw him winning the inaugural National Young Leader Award given out by the Halogen Foundation Singapore to honour exceptional young leaders who have contributed actively to the community. His time in ITE also ignited his fire for karate, a sport he first picked up as a nine-year-old after an encounter with his coach and mentor David Thong. While he had previously trained and won gold medals for his school team, Audric decided to take the sport more seriously, eventually earning a spot in the national team. While Audric could not fulfil his goal of competing in the 2015 SEA Games, he is looking to qualify for the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur in August. [Today, p24]


Put away e-devices in class? No way!

Article featured the new initiatives among the polys to make lessons fun and engaging. SP’s 3D food printer at the Food Innovation and Resource Centre was featured in the article. The machine squeezes food out, layer by layer, to form custom shapes. SP’s Diploma in Food Science and Technology student Danielle Wong, shared that food printing allows her to formulate customised food and recipes for each target consumer. Danielle has used the machine to print soya pulp cookies and mentioned that the printer makes food fun and allows her to experiment. At TP, students taking the Diploma in Game Design and Development uses “gamification” – the use of gaming elements in non-game scenarios - in their lessons. The aim is to get students to be more actively engaged in their own learning, rather than passively consuming content. After a year of research funded by the Ministry of Education (MOE), gamification will be officially re-launched in April and TP hopes to implement it in all classrooms by the end of this year. At RP, a Swivl robot, used to help take video recordings of lecturers and student presenters in classrooms, has been turning heads. It received the Silver Innergy Award from MOE in 2015. The robot - which has a round rotating base capable of propping up a tablet device - swivels so the tablet faces and takes video recordings of the person who is speaking. A Diploma in Sports Coaching said that the robot has helped him improve his presentation skills. Over at NYP, more diploma courses have been incorporating virtual reality technology into their curriculum. Its engineering students, for instance, can use a 3D immersive virtual reality software to simulate airport operations such as maintenance checks on aircraft. From April, NP’s School of InfoComm Technology classrooms in the new Smart Learning Spaces @ NP will boast facial recognition sensors to track students' attendance. Interactive whiteboards will also allow lecture notes to be transferred directly to students' tablets. [The Straits Times, pB12]


What’s new at polytechnics

Article featured the new courses and facilities offered by the five polytechnics this year including SP’s new BASF Newtrition Lab for the Diploma in Food Science and Technology and Diploma in Nutrition, Health and Wellness students. Article also featured SP’s new Blackbox facility for students taking the Diploma in Applied Drama and Psychology course. NYP has launched a new Diploma in Sustainable Architectural Design to develop designers who are adept at using virtual-reality and augmented-reality tools. NP is offering a new Diploma in Tamil Studies with Early Education. By April, there will be also a new Smart Learning Spaces @ NP for School of InfoComm Technology students. NP’s new 1,600 sq m facility will include a Digital Maker's Zone for software development as well as a Security Operations Centre for cyber-security training. RP has launched a Specialist Diploma in Communication Strategies for Social Media. New RP facilities include the RP-Unity Teaching Retail Pharmacy and the UAV Drone Centre and Foley Lab, an integrated classroom learning lab where Diploma in Sonic Arts students can add everyday sound effects to audio tracks. A new Security Operations Centre for cyber security, which is for Diploma in InfoComm Security Management students, has also been set up. TP will launch a new PLAYMaker Centre this year, for students to explore and experiment with tech-enabled toys targeted at pre-school children. [The Straits Times, pB10]


Chemical Giant set up an application laboratory at Singapore Poly to develop functional food

Article featured the collaboration between SP and chemicals giant BASF to set up Newtrition Lab Asia Pacific at SP campus. The lab provides opportunities for students to develop functional food. This is the first application laboratory set up by BASF in a tertiary institution in Singapore. Third-year students from the Diploma in Food Science and Technology and Diploma in Nutrition Health and Wellness will have the opportunity to work in this laboratory as part of their internship programme and work on real-life projects under the mentorship of the BASF experts. SP and BASF also signed a five-year memorandum of cooperation to train food nutrition and health professionals to meet the growing demands of the food manufacturing and functional food industry. Besides the internship opportunities, BASF will also co-develop modules with SP as well as provide scholarships for students for further development. SP’s Principal and Chief Executive Officer Soh Wai Wah shared that the collaboration is timely, given the announcement of the industry transformation map for food manufacturing industry in November 2016. SP’s Diploma in Food Science and Technology third-year student Vernice Seah, who had been on internship programme with BASF since October 2016, shared about her internship experience. Under the mentorship of the BASF researcher, she developed new techniques to enhance the clarity of a popular beverage – coconut water, and at the same time minimise the heating processes required to enhance the nutritional values of the beverage. She also shared how the analytical tools in the laboratory and the mentorship helped her to gain experience beyond what she has learnt in her course The internship has also reinforced her confidence and passion to work in the food-related industry. [Lianhe Zaobao, p12]


Increasing trend for polytechnic enrolment figures for the past ten years

According to a November 2016 report by the Ministry of Education, there has been an overall increase in polytechnic enrolment by nine percent since 2006. The increase is the highest for RP, which is also the newest polytechnic. NP’s Education and Career Guidance counsellor Chen Zhi Ling shared that the applied learning and internship experience offered by the polytechnics is one of the reasons for the increase. A third-year student from NP’s mass communications course shared why she chose a polytechnic education even though she qualified for junior college. She also shared her internship experience at Singapore Airlines’ Marketing Department working on social media publicity. Photo in the article featured NP’s past Open House. Article also mentioned RP’s new Specialist Diploma in Communication Strategies for Social Media for public relation and marketing communications professionals which will be launched in April 2017. It also mentioned RP’s popular diploma courses, such as the Diploma in Marine Science and Aquaculture, Diploma in Human Resource Management with Psychology and Diploma in Engineering Systems and Management. All five polytechnics will be having their open house from 5 to 7 January 2017, from 10pm to 6pm. NYP will be extending their opening hours till 11pm on 6 January 2017. Article mentioned that SP will be displaying projects by Engineering students including the urban farming kit, smart bike alarm and communication beacon for disaster relief. Article also explained how the smart bike alarm works and that it would be commercialised and launched in the market after further refinements. [Lianhe Zaobao, p3]