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The Government has accepted the recommendations proposed by the University Admission Committee for a flexible and differentiated university admission system.

Summary of Key Recommendations

The Committee recommended that the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) should take steps towards greater ownership of their admission criteria, leading eventually to full autonomy in admissions.

They should be allowed to change their admission criteria so as to be more responsive to their strategic objectives and changes to market demand, as well as to compete for the best students.  University admission should, however, continue to be based on the principle of meritocracy, so as to uphold the quality and standing of our universities.

The Committee’s recommendations, for implementation with effect from Academic Year (AY) 2004, can be summarised as follows:

a. Change in admission process.  Introduce separate admission exercises by NUS and NTU, while they continue to share a broad framework of admission criteria.   Separate processing of applications will allow students to receive competitive offers for admission from both universities, unlike currently.

b. Changes in the criteria for selection within the revised broad university admission framework.  These are:

A 2-tier system consisting of a University Score and a Faculty Score. The University Score ensures a base of common criteria for selection of applicants. The Faculty Score (which can be up to one-third of the final Combined Score) allows faculties greater flexibility to select applicants with attributes most suited to their courses.

Omission of SAT I as a requirement for admission to NUS and NTU, in view of the impending changes to SAT I and the implementation of the new Singapore-Cambridge ‘A’-level curriculum.  In the transitional period (AY2004 and AY2005), applicants can submit their SAT I scores and be assessed by the universities based on the higher of the two scores – one with SAT I and the other without SAT I.

Mother Tongue Language (MTL) grades need not be included in the University Score.  However, the universities will continue with the current practice of requiring a minimum MTL grade as a condition for admission.  Applicants who have done well in MTL can include their MTL grades in the University Score, which will be re-based.

Move towards autonomy in the universities’ admission systems.  As a first step, each university can admit up to 10% of its intake from AY 2004 based on its own, independent criteria.

The Committee believes that NUS and NTU should eventually be given full autonomy in admissions as part of the move towards a competitive, diversified and vibrant university education landscape.

Greater Autonomy for universities

Our university landscape is becoming more variegated as we restructure our public universities – NUS and NTU, and allow private universities to set up campuses in Singapore.   There will be greater diversity and increased competition in the provision of undergraduate education. 

The Ministry of Education (MOE) is studying how the universities can be given more autonomy over time, so as to respond to the opportunities and challenges that come with a more diverse university sector.   More autonomy will give the universities the room to differentiate themselves, offer greater choice to students and play on their own strengths. 

MOE regards the Committee’s recommendations on university admission as an important step towards greater autonomy for NUS and NTU.  The Ministry believes that the universities should be given greater latitude to decide on the profile of students who will benefit most from the education they provide. This will enable the universities to attract the best talents and to develop peaks of excellence.

Source: Ministry of Education Press Release 28 Feb 2004

 

 

 

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29 February 2004