The National University of Singapore (NUS) will set up a S$12 million school to help citizens learn new skills throughout their lives, it announced this week.

The School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (SCALE) will work with employers, faculty and partners to develop and run courses for graduates and working adults. Most of the courses will be offered online.

“The key goals of SCALE would be to enable Singaporeans, and NUS graduates, to skill and re-skill for existing or new jobs, and to help our companies and industries to stay competitive by providing lifelong learning opportunities for their employees,” said NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan at the State of the University Address.

Apart from their academic background, students will be admitted based on their work experience and prior learning. The school will award degrees, as well as certificates and diplomas which can be counted towards a full degree.

The school will be set up over three years starting from January 2016 to prepare for the government’s new SkillsFuture programme. Under this, citizens aged 25 and above will get credits worth $500 to spend on education.

The university will also set up a facility to research useful learning techniques, Professor Tan announced. As a start, the Institute for the Application of Learning Science will offer a course on proven techniques for continual learning.

Two new research projects in NUS were announced by Professor Tan to support Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative. One will develop technologies to care for elderly patients in their homes.

Another will be on data science, analytics and cybersecurity. To support this, the university will set up the National Cybersecurity Research and Development Laboratory and a Data Science Institute.