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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 21 August 2007

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Singapore to have fourth university



Singaporeans can look forward to more opportunities for an affordable university education, within a diverse university landscape.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) is increasing the number of publicly-funded university places to cater to 30% of each cohort of Singaporeans by 2015.
This is an increase from the current target of 25% to be achieved by 2010, which was announced in 2001. The Prime Minister announced this new target at the 2007 National Day Rally.
The increase to 30% of cohort translates to about 2,400 additional university places per year for Singaporeans.
A Committee chaired by RAdm (NS) Lui Tuck Yew, Minister of State for Education will study and recommend how the expansion of the university sector is best achieved, taking into account the Government¡¯s intention to extend public funding for 30% of cohort to obtain a university education.
The Committee will explore ways to make available diverse university education options to meet the aspirations of students and the needs of the economy. The terms of reference for the Committee are at Annex A.
The Committee will include senior officials from MOE, Ministry of Manpower, Ministry of Trade and Industry, senior educationists and representatives from industry. Dr Tony Tan, Chairman of MOE¡¯s International Academic Advisory Panel, will be advisor to the Committee.
The Committee will study a number of possible additions to the university sector, including:-
i. A new comprehensive university;
ii. A small, top-quality liberal arts college offering a broad-based curriculum and focused on teaching; and
iii. Degree programmes in specialised areas, building on the existing framework which allows polytechnics to tie up with universities to offer niche degree programmes.
These possible approaches are not mutually exclusive. A combination of models may be considered as part of the expansion of the university sector.
The Committee will be supported in its study by working groups comprising representatives from both the public and private sector, including industry and academia. The working groups will study in greater detail, the feasibility and possible models for a new university and a liberal arts college.
The Committee and its working groups will conduct study trips to assess the suitability of models in the US and Europe. Public consultations and focus group discussions with key stakeholders such as students and industry will also be held.
The Committee aims to submit its recommendations to the Government by August 2008.
In 2001, the Government set a target to provide subsidised university education for 25% of each primary one cohort by 2010.
MOE has been increasing the number of university places over the years. The proportion of each cohort entering university increased to about 23.5% this year compared to 20.8% in 2000 and about 15% in 1990.
The Government has also been introducing more diversity into the publicly funded university sector.
In 2005, the Government introduced a framework that allows polytechnics to tie up with other universities to offer degree programmes in specialised areas.
The degrees are awarded in the name of the partner institution. This framework also capitalises on the excellent infrastructure of the polytechnics to provide quality training and education at a higher level.


20 AUGUST 2007

Annex A
The terms of reference of the Committee are:-

a. To recommend how the university sector can be expanded and realigned to provide additional publicly-subsidised university places which are broadly aligned with Singapore¡¯s longer-term manpower needs; and

b. To propose feasible models for the delivery of education opportunities at the university-level that would allow for a diversity of university-level paths, to meet the needs of the market and the aspirations of parents and students.

Source: Press Release 20 Aug 2007

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