The Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Portal in Singapore – ecareers.sg is a first-of-a-kind Computer-assisted-career-guidance-system (CACGS) developed to support the delivery of education and career guidance for students. It is the first portal in ASEAN, with a high comprehensiveness both in content and its user-database. ecareers.sg integrates both theory and research (on career development) into a direct application (one-stop portal of multiple services); it also integrates the entire nation’s school database in a nation-wide implementation.
1) The ECG Portal will benefit at least 300,000 students, more than half a million parents and 30,000 teachers in Singapore. It is a strategic resource for schools to equip students with the necessary knowledge and skills to pursue their career aspirations which are more aligned with their interests, strengths and values, It also supports school to equip their students with competencies needed for a globalised workforce that is dynamic, robust, and resilient.
2) The processes of developing and implementing the ECG Portal are transferable to other organisations, both locally and internationally. We have received invitations from various countries such as the International School in Brunei, agencies in South Korea, the US Embassy for Education, requesting to share ministry implementation efforts and our knowledge about the ECG Portal. Some key areas for the transferability of our learning through the ECG Portal project are: a) Working strategically with partners within and outside of Singapore: We work closely with stakeholders, who are experts or authorities in their fields to provide their expertise in order to help create an integrated one-stop platform where students and teachers are able to access the vast amount of information from different sources readily and easily. These stakeholders include the Ministry of Manpower, Workforce Development Agency, the various institutions of higher learning and The Center on Work and Education (CEW) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was awarded the project. b) Customisation and localisation of foreign best practices into local context: The learning of MOE in the process of the localisation and customisation of the United States’ WisCareers Portal’s concept would be applicable to other agencies and countries; especially for other Asian countries interested in acquiring existing educational programmes from overseas and to customise them to meet their own countries’ educational outcomes. c) Conceptualisation of evidence-informed practices using theory and research: The conceptualisation of the unique ECG Portal could be shared at international platforms with other countries. For instance, the use of theoretical bases in the conceptualization of the ECG Portal design to meet the specific needs of children in Singapore’s context and the use of ICT in the field of career guidance are some aspects that could be shared internationally. MOE‘s Guidance Branch was selected to share their experience at the “International Conference on Teaching and Learning with Technology” held in Singapore on 4 - 5 March 2010. d) Integration of evaluation and development efforts for timely response: The project team established an evaluation study which sought to evaluate the effectiveness of the ECG Portal at the start of the project. Consistent and regular feedback was sought from the stakeholders in the midst of the implementation of the ECG Portal, whilst the development and roll-outs were implemented in phases. This allows the Portal to be improved constantly throughout the entire development and implementation processes. The challenges from the ground could also be addressed in a timely fashion whenever they are being surfaced.
New, Unique and Innovative Initiative 1) The Education and Career Guidance (ECG) Portal, ecareers.sg, is a web-based one-stop portal designed to facilitate education and career development for students(11–19 year olds) in Singapore. The idea was mooted in 2006 after structured feedback from schools on ECG together with a thorough review of international best practices in career guidance . The ECG Portal showcases how Singapore is able to tap on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to integrate multiple data sources to empower students to better understand themselves, explore viable education and career options, make informed decisions and develop plans to achieve their career aspirations. The Portal is web-based, hence students are able to access the Portal anywhere with an internet connection. 2) Specifically, ecareers.sg is unique and innovative due to the following reasons: a) Students and teachers can use ecareers.sg to explore and assess their education and career pathways with respect to their interests and personal attributes. ecareers.sg is a powerful system that integrates personalised information from nation-wide databases linked to schools, student records, and the latest labour market information. It also includes interactive games and activities to bring fun into learning. b) ecareers.sg is also a breakthrough in the way ECG can be delivered in schools. It is a one-stop portal which i) serves as an extensive and up-to-date database of career-related information from industries and educational institutions; ii) It is comprehensive with different features that guide students through the exploration and thinking processes required for making informed decisions; iii) The Portal is underpinned by theoretical research and targets the development of workforce-readiness competencies in students. The comprehensiveness, together with its research backed theories opens a whole new vista to lesson delivery for the teacher. c) ecareers.sg also provides a common platform for students, regardless of race, religion and socio-economic background to have equal access to information required for their career planning. The public education service, hence, is able to provide all students equal opportunities in their educational and career development for their future. d) Targeting the needs of our children as digital natives: This initiative meets the needs of our students who are digital natives, by adopting a platform that they are familiar with to engage them in their learning experiences, thereby creating an appealing online environment for them. e) Meeting the needs of our local education system: i) Self-directed learning within and outside of curriculum time: Teachers welcome this resource as it allows for the flexibility of its use during and outside of curriculum time. Students are able to ‘save’ their exploration activities in their e-portfolio, and continue with them after school, so that e-learning is no longer confined within school hours. ii) Monitoring of students’ learning made possible through ICT: Teachers can monitor students’ learning regularly as the form teachers’ accounts are linked to their form classes’. Teachers are able to generate reports to view students’ usage information, and have access to their students’ e-portfolios. Teachers can then follow-up and facilitate meaningful discussions based on timely tracking of their students’ progress.
a) Using the results of their career assessments and academic achievements stored in the portfolio, students can review these results either with their parents or school counselor and assess the degree of alignment their findings have with potential career clusters they are interested in. This then can assist students to form pertinent education plans to prepare themselves for these career clusters. For example, a student is keen on the media career cluster, but evidence stored in his portfolio has shown that abilities and experiences that are more related to Science and Technology career clusters. By reviewing this with the student, the school counselor can highlight the incongruence and facilitate either a change in decision or help him acquire more directly related experiences and results.
b) Besides students using their portfolios in career counseling, teachers meeting parents to discuss their children’s academic progress can also refer to these portfolios. The teacher-parent discussion can include academic preparation for career clusters students are interested in. In this way, the link between school and work can be made more explicit.
c) Teachers will reduce the need to source for relevant and up-to-date information as the Portal contains career and education information. They can use the time freed up on work that yield a higher leverage such as career advising.
Awards Won - Winner of IDC Enterprise Innovation Awards 2009 - Listed in CIO 100 Honouree 2009 - Semi-Finalist in CAPAM 2010 International Innovations Awards (Commonweath Association for Public Administration & Management)