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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     10 October  2011                    

Singaporeans go for two degrees

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More degree holders in Singapore are returning to school to pursue a second degree.

This is according to latest statistics from the SIM University (UniSIM) which shows the figure balloon from just three people to 52 within five years.

Thirty-five-year-old Jap Ren Fang graduated with a degree in business from Nanyang Technological University in 1998 and is now working as an administrative manager at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.

But four years ago, she decided to pursue her second degree in psychology purely out of personal interest.

Ms. Jap said: "It's not really related to what I'm doing right now so I don't intend to use it as a ticket to a higher promotion or a pay raise kind of thing. It's more of a self-actualisation kind of pursuit that I'm going for.”

For others, obtaining a second degree can be a ticket to a career change.

Twenty-nine-year-old materials engineering graduate Kang Lifang unexpectedly discovered her new passion for translation while working in New Zealand.

Over there, a colleague asked for her help to translate a Chinese website into English.

She said: "When I was doing it, I realised that even though I know both languages, I couldn't really do it very well and thought that maybe I should do something about it.

After returning to Singapore, she signed up for a degree in translation and interpretation with the ideal of switching careers and doing something different.

"I thought it would be better to start from the basic rather than skip to the masters because I didn't really have basic training in translation and interpretation. If you have a master’s, it would definitely stand out more than two basic degrees. But I guess for personal growth, I think it's a worthwhile investment.

"Being trained in translation will actually help you to spot things that untrained people can't really see, so I guess it helps to be trained in it. And if you're untrained and you go into it, of course you can do it well, but I suppose it will take more time for you to figure out how to really do it properly."

The two are among the 52 degree holders who got their second degrees at UniSIM's sixth convocation ceremony.

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