Clauses of Bill
16. It will
remain the Government¡¯s responsibility to continue to steer the
strategic direction of the overall university sector and ensure that
our three universities meet strategic national priorities. This is
provided for in Clause 5, and will largely be operationalised
through the Policy Agreement that will be signed between MOE and the
university, as part of the enhanced accountability framework that is
being put in place.
governance structures are critical to the success of the
university. As such, the Minister for Education will continue to
appoint the university¡¯s Board of Trustees (BOT), as provided for in
Clause 6. We must appoint the right people as Trustees. They play
several critical roles: firstly, to provide leadership and guidance
on the strategic directions for the university; secondly, to appoint
and appraise the President of the university; and thirdly, to ensure
the responsible use of the university¡¯s resources and maximise their
enhanced accountability framework for the Autonomous University, as
reflected in the new Clause 4, will comprise the following:
(1) Firstly, a
Policy Agreement to be signed between each university and MOE that
stipulates the key policy parameters articulated by MOE which the
university must abide by in order to receive Government funding.
Some of the policies include tuition fee setting framework and broad
admissions criteria, as well as adequate cost control measures to
ensure that resources are utilised optimally. The Policy Agreement
is not cast in stone, and will be reviewed and updated from time to
a Performance Agreement, formulated by the university and agreed
upon by MOE, is an ex-ante declaration of what the university
sets out to achieve in the areas of teaching, research, service and
organisational development. This Agreement will be reviewed every
five years. In addition, MOE and each university will work out and
agree on the number of graduates to be trained by the university in
broad clusters on an annual basis. The performance of the
university will be reviewed annually in the four areas of academic
teaching and curriculum, research outcomes and training,
contribution and service to the wider community, and organisation
development matters. It would include such issues as the breadth of
the curriculum that the universities seek to achieve and targets for
the percentage of students going on overseas exchanges.
the existing MOE¡¯s Quality Assurance Framework for Universities (QAFU)
that includes an on-site external validation of the university¡¯s
performance by an MOE-commissioned external review panel. The
validation will be carried out once in every 3 to 5 years. The
Panel members comprise prominent, experienced local and foreign
corporate and academic leaders. This process is already in place.
19. In order
to ensure that the Autonomous Universities remain fully accountable
for the use of public monies, the new Clause 9 provides for the
Ministry to have continued full and free access to all records
relating to financial transactions of the university company, and
can make such records available to the public.
Minister for Education¡¯s consent would also have to be sought for
the university¡¯s functions cited in Clause 7 of the Bill, such as
the disposal of property, winding-up of the university company, as
well as the addition, deletion or alteration of the university
company¡¯s constituent documents.
Ministry is mindful that we want to give our universities the
autonomy they need to excel, and not be encumbered by unnecessary
procedures and processes. I am confident that we will be able to
find the right balance between autonomy and accountability.
22. Parts III
and IV of the NUS (Corporatisation) Bill provide for the transfer of
property, rights, liabilities, employees, and others, from NUS as a
statutory board to the corporatised NUS. This is to ensure a smooth
transition from NUS¡¯ statutory board status to its new identity as
an autonomous university company.
Dissolution of Academic Staff Provident Fund (ASPF) Scheme
Separately, the First Schedule of the NUS (Corporatisation) Bill
provides for the dissolution of its existing Academic Staff
Provident Fund (ASPF) and transfer of the balance of the ASPF assets
to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.
24. The ASPF
started at a time when the CPF did not exist. For greater cost
effectiveness for the benefit of the ASPF members, the NUS Council
made the decision in October 2003 to dissolve the ASPF and merge it
with the CPF. NUS will bear all costs relating to the closure of
the ASPF and ensure that no member is disadvantaged. NUS has also
sought feedback from current and past ASPF members. The response has
25. MOE, NUS,
MOM and the CPF Board have worked closely on this matter and the
necessary legislative provisions for the dissolution of the ASPF and
the subsequent transfer of balance of assets to the CPF are included
in the First Schedule of the NUS (Corporatisation) Bill.
Speaker, Sir, our universities have done well. But it takes more to
become great universities. The 3 University Bills to establish NUS,
NTU and SMU as Autonomous Universities will lay the foundation and
position our universities well to become leaders among Asia-Pacific
universities, and to be up to the best internationally in specific
fields. This will allow our universities to be key strategic assets
for Singapore as we stake our claim in the knowledge-based economy.
27. As they
enhance the quality of education, MOE and the universities will
ensure that university education remains accessible and affordable
for Singaporeans. No Singaporean admitted to university should be
denied a university education because of financial constraints.
28. Sir, I beg
www.gov.sg Media Release 21 Nov 2005