SIM University (UniSIM) and the Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies (OTC Institute) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), witnessed by Mr Lim Swee Say, Deputy Secretary-General of the NTUC and Minister, Prime Minister's Office, to jointly offer the Diploma in Employment Relations (DER) programme as well as jointly develop its curriculum.
The DER was first launched in 1999 as a joint diploma programme offered by SIM and the then Singapore Institute of Labour Studies (now OTC Institute). More than 200 students have since graduated from this programme. The students have mainly been adult learners between the ages of 20 - 50, who hold various operational and managerial responsibilities. Many pursue the DER to upgrade their skills for enhanced employability, become more effective union leaders, and better understand employment-related issues at the macro-level.
This MOU renews an ongoing relationship, and also formalises the new partnership between UniSIM and OTC Institute, in the light of UniSIM’s establishment as Singapore's fourth university. This collaboration paves the way for UniSIM and OTC Institute to jointly work on enhancing and improving the existing programme in tandem with changes in industry.
The partnership enables DER graduates who wish to pursue UniSIM degree programmes to obtain exemptions of up to 40 credit units (equivalent to one year) from UniSIM's Bachelor of Science in Business, Bachelor of Science in Business with Communications, and Bachelor of Science in Business with Psychology programmes. DER graduates can also obtain exemptions of up to 20 credit units (equivalent to six months) if they pursue the UniSIM Bachelor of Science in Finance and Bachelor of Science in Marketing.
The programme is specially designed to be practice-oriented for personnel such as trade union leaders and members, industrial relations officers, and human resource executives and managers who have responsibilities in industrial relations and human resource management.
Said Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President of SIM University: "This partnership will provide opportunities for OTC's adult learners to maximise their learning opportunities in the DER as well as in UniSIM's degree programmes. UniSIM can further contribute by enhancing the existing modules in the DER and buttress our teaching resources through active research, particularly in the area of labour studies. Through this partnership, UniSIM would also be able to make available other relevant learning resources that would benefit OTC's students and the labour movement at large."
Mr S. Thiagarajan, Director of OTC Institute, remarked: "The Memorandum of Understanding between the Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies and SIM University marks a new milestone in the efforts taken for the professional development of union leaders in Singapore. The impetus for such development began in 1969 at the Modernisation Seminar of the NTUC where union delegates voiced the need for setting up of a labour college for the professional development of union leaders. Today's MOU takes their dream a step further as we now have a programme that is awarded jointly with SIM University and which is recognized with credit exemptions for admission to its degree programmes."
The DER is a part-time 20-month programme, comprising 10 modules with intakes in May/June and October/November. The modules include Business Communication, Financial Accounting, Management Processes and Organisational Behaviour, Labour Economics, Human Resource Development and Organisational Development, Performance Management, Tripartism and Industrial Relations Practices in Singapore, Change Management, Compensation Management, and Employment Laws.
Prof Cheong and Mr Thiagarajan signed the MOU at a ceremony at SIM Headquarters. Apart from Mr Lim Swee Say, other witnesses of the signing included Professor Cham Tao Soon, Chairman, SIM University Board of Trustees; and Mr Bob Tan, Member, Board of Governors, Ong Teng Cheong Institute of Labour Studies.