Tertiary and University Education in Singapore : by Q2CgqLD


									Tertiary and University
Education in Singapore:
A 40-Year Perspective

 Professor Leo Tan
 National Institute of Education
The Historical Context

 Only three noteworthy developments in tertiary
  education during the 150-odd years of colonial rule:

 Establishment of Raffles College of Arts and
  Sciences, to mark Singapore’s centenary in 1919.

 The progress made by the King Edward College of

 In 1949, the union of King Edward College of
  Medicine and Raffles College led to the founding of
  the University of Malaya
The Historical Context

 Besides the setting up of the Singapore
  Polytechnic and the Nanyang University in 1954
  and 1955 respectively, there was hardly any
  significant development in tertiary education until
  the late 1970s

 Nanyang University or Nantah, the first Chinese-
  language university in Southeast Asia, was set up
  with donations from people of all walks of life, from
  Singapore and the region.
The Historical Context

 Attention was centered on the role of the Nanyang
  University during the turbulent decades of 1950s
  and 1960s. The Nanyang University became a
  hotbed of trouble for communist student activity.

 In 1962, the University of Singapore was
The Historical Context

 On 8 August 1980 the National University of
  Singapore (or NUS) was formed through a merger
  between the University of Singapore and Nanyang
  University (NU)

 NU made way for the establishment of Nanyang
  Technological Institute in 1981 and its curriculum
  was geared towards producing practice-oriented
  engineers for the burgeoning Singapore economy.

 The engineering curriculum at NUS, on the other
  hand, was more theoretical and research-based.
The Historical Context

 The decision to close down NU and set up of
  Nanyang Technological Institute was clearly a
  political one, although there were arguments
  based on more efficient resource allocation as

 Finally, in 1991, the Nanyang Technological
  Institute, together with the National Institute of
  Education, became the Nanyang Technological
  University (or NTU).
Statistic of Enrolment in Higher Education

 In terms of enrolments in higher education

 1965, 3% and 2% of the relevant age cohort
  gained admission to local universities and
  polytechnics respectively.
 1989, 14% of the Primary 1 cohort was enrolled in
  local universities while 17% received polytechnic
Statistic of Enrolment in Higher Education
 1990s - university enrolment rate grew at a
  relatively stable pace and rose to 21% in 1999.
 About 60% of secondary school graduates
  enrolled in both the university and polytechnic
  sectors – comparable to participation rates of 40-
  60% in developed countries.
 Recurrent expenditure on universities increased
  threefold from S$310 million to S$1,125 million
  between 1987 and 2001. As for polytechnics, it
  was a six-fold increase, from S$99 million to
  S$594 million during the same period.
Key Issues for Sub-Saharan Countries

 Sub-Saharan African countries, have made
  considerable progress in tertiary education.
  However, several key issues remain prominent:

 Growth has been at the expense of more
  insightful planning and coordination that could
  have prevented duplication of functions among
  similar training institutions funded by different
  sponsors and the deterioration of teaching and
  research quality in university education.
Key Issues for Sub-Saharan Countries

 Tension between universities as traditional
  institutions for the advancement of knowledge and
  “truth” and as modern institutions to meet political
  demands of the state and develop solutions to
  domestic problems.

 Prospect of intellectual extinction and no longer
  able to operate as “centres of excellence” or
  “think-tanks” for their own nations due to
  precarious financial situations.
Singapore’s Experience
 Singapore’s case illustrates the paramount role of
  the state at all levels of society.

 The Singapore Government has skillfully used a
  state control model in regulating education
  changes to match manpower planning and make
  education a valued social institution:

 The establishment     of   tertiary   institutions   is
  carefully planned.
Singapore’s Experience

 Direct appointment of vice-chancellors to the
  universities and forbidding the formation of trade
  union of academics.

 Intervened in admission policies into the
  universities and polytechnics. Streaming into
  faculties and courses is practiced so as to have
  the right numbers by types of graduates.
Singapore’s Experience

 Since the late 1980s, the Singapore Government
  has started a process of decentralization and
  carried out reviews of its higher education system
  and reform strategies to strengthen and make
  higher education competitive:
Singapore’s Experience
 Curriculum is reviewed and emphasis is now
  placed on a broad-based cross-disciplinary
  university education.
 More innovative pedagogy and assessment, with
  a focus on creative and critical thinking.
 Advancement        of  knowledge        has been
  strengthened through postgraduate and research
 Quality assurance and management system put in
  place to enhance the institution as a centre for
  quality education.
Singapore’s Experience

 While the government had basically monopolized
  higher     education  provision   since   tertiary
  institutions were primarily state funded, it was
  always prepared to change – the role of the
  private sector was given a boost with the
  establishment of the Singapore Management
  University (SMU) in 2000.
Singapore’s Experience

 In order to encourage competition, avoid wasteful
  duplication and enjoy greater autonomy, the three
  universities – NUS, NTU and SMU – were urged to
  develop their own unique characteristics and
Singapore’s Experience
 Corporatisation of NUS and NTU in 2006. This is a
  distinctive milestone in Singapore’s history of
  tertiary education.

 Universities were encouraged to depend less on
  the state sector for financial resources and adopt
  the user-pays principle.

 Own endowment fund programmes and actively
  seeking partnership with alumni, industry and local
  community as alternative sources of funding.

 “Education is a vital factor in determining a
  country’s wealth”.

 Singapore’s education transformation, at schools
  and tertiary level, has shown that for the island
  republic to enjoy the fruits of the new knowledge-
  based economy, it must continue to:

 make heavy investment in education, from pre-
  school to tertiary education, as this is the key to
  sustainable development and,
 have the State – led by capable and far-sighted
  individuals – performing a supervisory role in
  setting out general guidelines and regulatory
  frameworks governing education policies and
Thank you

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