Photo of Tharman Shanmugaratnam at ITE celebration

Speaking at the 25th anniversary of the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) on Friday (May 26), Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shanmugaratnam told an open lie claiming that ITE graduates are in demand by employers:

“The institute has been a remarkable success in just 25 years. It has shifted the attitudes of the public and employers, with ITE graduates well sought after in the industry.”

However the salaries of ITE graduates does not reflect the demand the Minister painted. Based on official statistics from the Ministry of Manpower, the median ITE fresh graduate salaries was only S$1,700 in 2015, and their employment rate within six months is only 42% – worst employment rate when compared to polytechnic fresh graduates (57.9%) and university fresh graduates (82.4%).

DPM Tharman then poured praises for his government over the ITE’s “success”:

“It was a success that many did not expect from the outset. There were doubts but we gave it our best – the Government lent it our full support and it’s turned out to be a resounding success.”

The Minister also revealed that Singaporean degree and diploma holders are attending courses at ITE to prove his point:

“As industries evolve, graduates from all fields would return to upgrade their skills, be it with the ITE, a polytechnic or university. Right now, ITE’s CET trainees hail from “all walks of life” and recognise the value of picking up technical skills. One-tenth of adult learners at ITE are diploma or degree holders.”

DPM Tharman the continued pouring praises for ITE education:

“The ITE has also a played a direct role in innovation, having built strengths in applied research in areas from advanced manufacturing and engineering to the health and biomedical sciences.”

Despite the government’s rose-tinted appraisal of ITE educations, ITE certificates is not in demand by employers and not recognised as formal tertiary qualifications internationally. None of the children of the ruling party MPs have an ITE certificate, which they regard as shameful.