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Singapore universities to offer 14,000 study places

More opportunities for students in Singapore as tertiary sector expands

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The Singapore Ministry of Education (MOE) will open more places across the nation’s six universities this year, bringing the total amount of available places to 14,000.

Announced in a Facebook post by Education Minister Heng Swee Keat on March 27, the move will see the Singapore government reach its target of a 30% enrolment rate in publicly-funded university degree programmes a year early. This figure marks the highest ever university participation rate in Singapore.

‘We are increasing the diversity of our higher education landscape, with new institutions, programmes, and teaching approaches,’ the post read.

‘Together with an expected increase to about 10% of the cohort receiving degree education through publicly-funded part-time places by 2020, up to half of each cohort could receive a government-subsidised degree education.’

Most of the new places have been made available by expansion of both SIM University (UniSIM) and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). Previously only able to award joint degrees with overseas institutions, SIT was awarded autonomous university status in February, and will soon launch new degree programmes in Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering, Information and Communications Technology and Accountancy. UniSIM will add three new, full-time degree programmes to its prospectus in August.

Singapore’s other four universities will also provide new study courses, with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) launching three new Undergraduate programmes and opening more study places in Philosophy and Earth Science programmes, as well as offering a brand new course which merges Engineering and Business. Singapore Management University (SMU) and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) will offer 45 places in a new, double-degree Technology and Management programme.

Opened in 2011 and 2013 respectively, places at new institutions Yale-NUS Liberal Arts College and Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine have also contributed to the expansion, with Yale-NUS increasing its intake from 150 to 170 in 2014. MOE has also committed to opening more funded places in creative industry study programmes in coming years.

However, Mr. Heng has stressed that the expansion will not compromise Singapore’s high standard of education. ‘The expansion is done in a careful way, to match the students’ aptitudes,’ he said in the post.

‘Even as we create more places, we want our students to be able to meet the rigours of the programmes, and at the same time, to make the best use of opportunities as our economy grows and becomes more diverse.’

Efforts to increase the proportion of Singaporeans enrolled in university are only set to grow. In early March, Mr. Heng announced enhanced bursaries for Singaporean students of lower-middle income brackets, a move that will benefit up to 120,000 new students. Currently, the publicly-funded cohort participation rate is 26%.

Beyond 2015, the MOE has established a Committee on University Education Pathways (CUEP) which will work towards expanding the nation’s university sector and providing more opportunities for students to pursue higher education.

By 2020, Mr. Heng aims to have publicly-funded university places for 40% of every cohort.


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University students Singapore

Monica Karpinski received her BA (Media and Communications) and Diploma in Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne, Australia. An art and culture aficionado, in her spare time Monica enjoys film, reading and writing about art.