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Institute for Adult Learning to spearhead capability building of the Training and Adult Education Sector

To do so, IAL will be designated as the National Centre of Excellence for Adult Learning


The Institute for Adult Learning (IAL) will now be responsible for systematically raising the quality of adult teaching and adult learning across the Training and Adult Education (TAE) Sector. On the second day of the inaugural Global Lifelong Learning Summit, Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing, announced that, to this end, IAL shall be designated as a National Centre of Excellence for Adult Learning (NCAL).

This is an expansion of IAL’s current role as a training centre and qualifier for adult educators for the private training providers. It builds on the capabilities and networks that IAL has developed since its establishment in 2008, in andragogical research, enterprise engagement, and international collaboration.

As the NCAL, IAL will anchor capabilities and raise the quality of Training & Adult Education in Singapore. It will:

  • Raise the quality of adult educators through continuous education, and in collaboration with Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) and training providers;
  • Attract and enable leading industry professionals to contribute to adult education in their field;
  • Drive innovation and technology adoption for the sector, and equip adult educators with needed digital skills;
  • Conduct research to inform policy and practice in continuous education, and facilitate the translation of such research into methods, resources, and tools for adoption and scaling across the TAE ecosystem, and;
  • Support the National Centre of Excellence for Workplace Learning network, by advancing the theory and practice of workplace learning, including the provision of training and consultancy for companies.

IAL intends to achieve these objectives by tapping the knowledge and strengths that have been built up in different institutions and organisations over the years. It will forge partnerships across the local TAE ecosystem so that such capabilities are collectively shared and advanced. (See Annex A for existing collaborations, which will be deepened and expanded.) IAL will also continue to deepen its international networks, to enable Singapore’s lifelong learning ecosystem to tap on the best research and scholarship from across the world. 

Mr Tan Kok Yam, Chief Executive of SSG, said, “We will invest more to raise the quality of lifelong learning. Courses and programmes should engage the adult learner, build on his existing experience, and give him the confidence to apply new skills. IAL, as the Centre of Excellence for adult learning, will engage institutions and organisations in our ecosystem to share knowledge and expertise; to build on what we have; and to collectively bring practice, research and scholarship on adult education to a next level. IAL will strive to strengthen our international partnerships, to learn from others and in turn contribute to the global discourse on lifelong learning.”

Professor Lee Wing On, IAL’s Executive Director said, “We are honoured to have the opportunity and mandate to step up and do more for the TAE sector which will in turn lead to strengthening the learning ecosystem in Singapore. Together with our partners, IAL will take the lead in supporting adults to develop their knowledge and skillsets that will enable them to enhance their individual capacities, progress within their line of work, and keep pace with the changing market conditions.”



ANNEX A – Details of IAL’s initiatives under NCAL

Spearhead continuous upskilling and improvement of adult educators through industry collaborations
IAL will forge deeper industry partnerships to optimise its offerings of skills interventions, programmes and initiatives to enable Singapore’s TAE sector to deliver more effective and targeted training for learners. This supports both adult educators and CET learners to professionalise, upgrade and stay relevant and current with both emerging and in-demand skills and technology. To tighten the industry-training nexus, IAL signed Memoranda of Understanding respectively with Singapore’s five polytechnics, NTUC LearningHub in July, and with Singapore University of Design and Technology in October this year.  IAL will continue growing this network to expand its suite of offerings to cater to more inclusive profiles of adult educators.

Through skills recognition and credentialing, IAL will work closely with industry stakeholders to co-curate skills interventions to improve market responsiveness. It will also tighten the training-industry nexus in which credentials can be recognised though bite-sized modular and just-in-timel learning modules for the purposes of andragogical quality and career advancement.

To train TAE workforce at speed and scale, IAL will work closely with strategic players for targeted skills interventions to match skills demand with skills supply. Enterprises will articulate their skills needs, through intermediaries such as Labour Movement to aggregate new skills demand for sectoral skills development. IAL in partnership with key IHLs and identified training providers will activate the quality supply of new skills, supported by new andragogical approaches and innovations.

As part of efforts to tap the best practices across the world for workers to learn anything, anytime, anywhere, IAL will partner global institutions with best-in-class systems and thought leadership to leverage digital platforms and other innovative and technology driven pedagogies for blended and adaptive learning approaches to help our industry and workers keep pace with global demands.

Drive and translate research into real-world solutions for the TAE sector
As a key driver of research translation, IAL will create a novel, collaboratory platform to drive research into solutions in an agile and iterative manner within the TAE ecosystem. It will better leverage the strengths of the IHLs – ITE, polytechnics, and universities – as well as private training providers to identify and study significant issues and challenges and co-create, experiment with, and test useful innovations to tackle issues and challenges within the sector.

Strengthen best practices in workplace learning for enterprises
IAL will also broaden its work as one of the National Centres of Excellence for Workplace Learning (NACE). NACE@IAL will step up to drive and promote the adoption of best practices in workplace learning among enterprises through consultancy services to help enterprises implement workplace learning systems, equipping relevant personnel in enterprises with relevant skills, and developing case studies of best practices. Through enterprise transformation, the knowledge exchange between frontier industry and academic is tightened, thereby raising business capability and workforce development.

Expand learning transformation through innovation
Learning innovation remains critical to raise the quality of the TAE sector. As the NCAL, IAL will seek to proliferate learning innovation across the sector. IAL’s innovation arm - iN.LAB will deepen its support of innovation and post-innovation processes and products such as consultative services and increase organisational and sectoral adoption of innovation creations, so as to gear enterprises and individuals toward user impact and effectiveness in meeting learning challenges faced by industry