No university place? Consider private institutions instead
The Straits Times Interactive
I WOULD like to encourage those who did not qualify for local universities to consider an alternative route of education. Local universities are not the only institutions that provide good quality education. In fact, Singapore has many private institutions that host long-distance learning degrees from top universities around the world. For example, Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) hosts degrees offered by the University of London that are recognised internationally by prospective employers. The annual cost of a degree programme is about $10,000 compared to $7,000 a year at local universities. There is no huge disparity in fees as imagined. It is better for A level holders who did not make it to the local universities to consider signing up with a private school rather than waste another year retaking their A levels. Retaking their A levels does not guarantee them a place in local universities the following year. However, with decent grades, they can enrol in a private institution to continue their degree studies for better career prospects. There are a number of private institutions that offer degree programmes. Depending on the type and duration of the degree course, the fees range from $10,000 to $20,000 a year. It is advisable to check if the school has a Student Protection Scheme offered by Case.
The Straits Times Interactive
June 19, 2007
More could have been done to keep varsity here
THE Economic Development Board (EDB) could have taken more steps to prevent such a tragedy from happening. For one thing, It could have agreed to the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Asia's scaled-down plan - just 2,000 students by 2012 instead of the previous target of 15,000 by 2020. The students could have remained in their Tanglin campus till there was an increase in demand from foreign applicants over the next few years, before moving to a bigger Changi campus. New universities and campuses need some time for trust to build up. Only then will applications pour in. To close just after three months of operations is simply unacceptable. Singapore has a big pool of foreign students who take their O levels in secondary schools here before proceeding to universities in Britain, the United States or Australia because most of them do not wish to take the junior college or polytechnic route which takes one to two years longer to graduate. UNSW had a niche in this aspect as students could take a one-year foundation programme with an 85 per cent success rate of getting into the university. I am sure foreign students from well-off families studying here would have been able to afford the higher fees to study in Singapore which is a safer and more familiar environment. The original intention of UNSW was to take in 30 per cent local students and 70 per cent foreign students. If so, the problem of B-grade local students would not have been an issue due to a larger pool of applicants from all over the world. UNSW's high fees meant that local students from only higher-income groups could apply. These students usually go overseas to study for a different educational experience offered by foreign universities. If UNSW had persevered, it could have attracted this group of local students from high-income families. With the closure of UNSW Asia, the EDB should seriously rethink its strategies in attracting and keeping foreign universities here in the future. UNSW's decision will lead to other foreign universities thinking twice about operating an international campus here.
The Straits Times Forums
May 28, 2007

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