Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fourth Uni Will Rise In Changi, Says PM

Source : The Business Times, August 9, 2008

First batch of students to start classes in 2011

The Republic's new publicly funded university will be located in Changi, with the first batch of students set to begin classes just three years from now in 2011.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his annual National Day Message last night.

The yet-to-be-named university will be the Republic's fourth publicly funded one, after the National University of Singapore (NUS), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and the Singapore Management University (SMU).

This would also be the first such university to be situated in the eastern part of the island. NUS and NTU are both in the west, while the SMU campus is in the heart of downtown.

Six weeks ago, Senior Minister of State for Education Lui Tuck Yew had let on that the fourth university would be housed in either northern, eastern or north-eastern Singapore.

Since the idea of a fourth university was first mooted in August 2007, there have been calls for the varsity to be built in these areas, as it would significantly reduce the travelling time for students, some of whom spend an hour or more taking the bus or train to campus.

In his message yesterday, Mr Lee spoke of the government's commitment to investing in people, especially through education, in order to upgrade the economy.

'We are improving our polytechnics and ITEs (Institutes of Technical Education), where most of our students go. We are also expanding university places. The government has approved plans for a new publicly funded university. Its campus will be in Changi, with good bus and train access from around the island,' he said.

He added that the new university would 'open up more opportunities for Singaporeans to develop themselves and to advance'.

One of the chief reasons why the government is building this latest varsity is to increase the number of university places to 30 per cent of each year's cohort by 2015, up from 25 per cent currently.

That works out to about 2,400 more places, which will be equally split between polytechnic graduates and junior college students.

In June this year, the high-level International Academic Advisory Panel endorsed Singapore's proposal for a fourth university and other moves to increase the number of university places.

The new university will be able to take in up to 2,500 students a year and offer three main disciplines - business, design and engineering.

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