Survey: More Singapore students favour local tertiary institutions

By: Alythea Ho

Going local, not global, for scholarships and education seem to be on the priority list for Singapore students these days. In addition, students today are more likely to know which sector they want to work in, compared to their predecessors five years ago. They also prefer a career in Banking & Finance, while jobs in the Hotel & Hospitality industry have seen one of the biggest falls in student interest since 2009.

These are some of the findings from the 2013 BrightSparks Scholarship & Career Survey. According to the survey, interest in local tertiary scholarships has hit a five-year high, gathering the majority 22.4% votes from ‘A’ level, International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma graduates, and Polytechnic final year students.

“It’s not surprising that local university scholarships are becoming more popular among students,” says Mr Lim Der Shing, CEO of JobsCentral Group that owns BrightSparks. “The main reason is because university scholarships tend to be bond-free. They also offer more flexibility in courses of study, which will be attractive to many students.”

He also adds, “However, bonded government or corporate scholarships are still viewed as the most prestigious in terms of career path offered.”

A total of 3,187 respondents participated in the annual BrightSparks survey held from March to April this year. The survey targets potential scholarship recipients, of whom 1,608 are ‘A’ Level and IB diploma graduates, 851 are final year polytechnic students, and 728 are Year 1 and 2 undergraduates attending local universities. These universities are NUS, NTU, and SMU, as well as survey newcomers Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

Local Universities take the lead among ‘A’ Levels & IB Students

NUS and NTU scholarships continue to hold first and second place among ‘A’ Level and International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma graduates. On the other hand, SMU made its debut into the top five scholarship provider rankings, rising over 16 notches to fifth rank.

Over 1 in 5 Singapore students started scholarship interest in Secondary

While the majority of respondents developed an interest in scholarships during Junior College Year 2 or IB diploma Year 2 (41.4%), over 1 in 4 (27.8%) indicated that their interest started in Secondary school. For Polytechnic final year students, 21.9 per cent say they started in Secondary school, while the majority indicated Polytechnic Year 1 (36.5%)

Students know what they want for their career, compared to half a decade ago

Compared to their predecessors, students today are more likely to know what sector they want to enter. Less than a third (31.4%) of respondents in 2013 said they were undecided about whether to join the public or private sector after graduating, a 12% decrease from half a decade ago. In 2009, over 2 in 5 students (43.4%) said they could not decide.

Banking’s still in for many; Hospitality one of biggest 5-year losers

Banking & Financial Services remains the most popular industry with 39.1% of ‘A’ Level and IB diploma graduates, and 28% of first and second year university graduates voting for it.

On the other hand, the Hotel & Hospitality industry has taken a popularity tumble among ‘A’ level and IB diploma graduates, dropping eight ranks to 16th position in 2013. In comparison, Hotel & Hospitality was ranked in 8th place in 2009.

For final year polytechnic students, the Airline & Travel industry is the most desired industry with 23% of polytechnic students indicating interest to work there when they graduate. This, however, is a significant drop from 32% of Polytechnic students in 2012.

BrightSparks is Singapore’s largest scholarship and higher education media. To download the free extract report, click here.

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