Feedback from Townhall arranged in themes

Purpose of University Education

  • Instead of seeing it as a need or dilemma to manage aspiration and at the same time maintain quality why not see it positively as SG moving towards being a better civil society (increase in intellectual & cultural stock etc)?

  • Perhaps we should critique our fundamentals: are we getting a university education as a means to a job? Or do we see education as a way to grow our minds and add value to what we already have - O levels A levels or a poly diploma.

Increase in University Places

  • My question is: If the university expansion is only implemented after 2015 does that mean my batch will be at disadvantage? We will probably be entering the U only in 2014. So does that mean we'll lose out because of the increasing competitiveness in entering the U?

  • I would like to stress that increasing University intake may not be a wise thing to do. If we were to have an increased number of graduates what happens if there are insufficient job openings in our industry to cater to these people? For instance the Life Science (R&D) industry had a lot of funds pulled out and jobs opportunities are more limited now if not insufficient. In fact if you do not have at least a Masters be prepared to work as an assistant for life. Personally although I am doing extremely well currently I will be switching fields when I proceed to getting a degree simply because the potential in the Biomedical R&D industry is no longer there.

  • I'm very sure that we need more graduates since many of us will also go overseas to get jobs.

How the Increase in University Places could be Implemented

  • Which is better increasing the intake of the current universities or increasing the number of universities?

  • Although we have programs in place to develop students many of these opportunities are only open to the “cream of the crop”; since many of them have pretty high prerequisites (top grades). What is then being done for the average student with average grades?

  • As Medicine is a course that is extremely hard to get into many Medicine students have chosen to go all the way and further their studies to become specialists resulting in a shortage of General Practitioners today. Could this problem be solved by increasing the number of university places for Medicine?

  • How useful is the system of using the GPA (for poly grads) and A- level grades (for JC grads) as a gauge for university admissions? How can this system be improved? It is not a fair judge of how one has excelled in his 2/3 years of study. Thank you :)

  • I would like to suggest the bringing in of foundation year in the government funded universities like NTU, NUS and SMU. This will provide a path for students who are well settled on what their ambition is. I think this will cut down the irrelevant things that they learn in JC/Poly. And save time as well also providing more time for hands-on and practical activities.

  • Perspective mainly pertaining to the kinds of nursing graduates. Strengths in uni sector offers opportunities for top diplomats to enter NUS. SIT expanded this opportunity to even more diplomats of equivalent calibre. However internship are not in place for students who are keen to apply. May I suggest that various industries such as hospitals health promotion board or even step down care sector open up opportunities for internship to students in SIT through a shared online portal? This is so that we can shape the students’ experience and for industry to recognise the capability of SIT students. All in all it’s a win win situation.

  • Before this devolves into a local vs foreigners debate we need to address if the models being proposed co-op applied uni etc. are the best models to suit the needs of future Singapore. First what is the future Singapore and what are the skill sets that students will need to meet the demands of employers. Second how do we shape the existing pathways to fit these models? Third what portion of degree offerings in the sector should be liberal arts (presumably not industry focused) and industry focused options

  • Is the polytechnic education inferior to a JC education in preparing one for university? We get the impression that there is not enough academic instruction at the polytechnics. If so is it tenable for someone aspiring to go to universities to go to the polytechnics? At the same time would more practice-based pathways then become a 2nd class in recognition to academic pathways?

  • May I know if the committee has members that received polytechnic or IT education? If not how can you make sure the decisions of the committee is actually representative of what students want? Also why do the universities accept more students from the JCs rather than the Polys when someone who has both a diploma and degree is more valued than someone who only has a degree? Also is there a need to grade in Unis? Does grading compromise the value of learning

  • How can we attempt to beef up varsity opportunities available to Singaporeans without a corresponding compromise to equally outstanding foreign students who from my experience may exhibit far higher levels of proactiveness and inquiry as far as learning and achievement are concerned. These students may eventually be committed to contributing to Singapore with their intellectual and cultural capital.

Course Mix

  • The recommendations put forth by the committee are very good and I would like to see how a practice-orientated course where work and studies are integrated with recognition can be implemented. However my concern is the focus of this implementation specifically which faculties will the committee be focusing on? There is a current disproportion in terms of representation from the different streams, which in my case there are 8 Arts classes compared to 28 Science classes in my College. Logically the demand for Science related courses would be higher. So if the committee were to focus on dentistry or engineering or medical Courses what would happen to those looking towards courses in Arts and Social Sciences or Law?

  • Meet aspirations and maintaining quality of degree (quantity versus quality). There might be a possibility that nurses have aspirations in different aspects: entrepreneurship management clinical research and so on. Can we diverse the degree programme even more such that diplomats could get enrolled into specialist degree programme offered by uni in conjunction with the industry so that it meets the demand on all sides. We can rate the specialist degree programme at a more affordable amount. As a final point before acting on it. We may survey the nursing market if there is presence of such demand.

  • There has been more emphasis on sciences what is MOE going to do to give more support to humanities inclined students in secondary JC and Uni? There seems to be this stereotype that humanities students are less academically capable than science stream students. Thanks!

  • If we are looking at increasing our intake shouldn't we look at having a cornucopia of courses rather than just increasing the number of intakes per available course. Such course such as Veterinary are not available Singaporeans who wish to pursue such degree would have to go overseas. Wouldn't it be better to offer it and retain them in Singapore? And in addition beside the cornucopia of course the quality of course is important as well. Will your degree be useless or rather will you be able to practice what you learn? For example the psychology courses available here. To practice Psychology as a psychologist You'll need at least a master. Would the degree then be useless?