University Admission

Published Date: 08 May 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Daniel Goh Pei Siong, Non-Constituency Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) with the increase in the number of autonomous universities to six and increase in cohort participation rate to 40 percent by 2020 (a) how will the reduction of junior colleges from sixteen to twelve affect the supply of GCE 'A' Level graduates for university admission; and (b) whether the number and percentage of polytechnic graduates admitted to the universities be increased.

Response

1. Falling cohort sizes will affect the number of A level, as well as polytechnic graduates, going to the universities. But this will be cushioned by the increase in cohort participation rate from 35% now to 40% in 2020.

2. In 2017, we expect to admit about 19,000 students into local funded universities. This will likely fall by 10-15% by 2025.

3. But there is no issue of losing critical mass, because we only have five autonomous universities – or six, if the SUSS Bill is passed by this house.

4. Because university education is more specialised, there is also less need for critical mass. SUTD for example, is doing very well as a university with a unique focus in design, admitting only 500 - 600 students a year.

5. In fact, despite falling cohort sizes, we should expect more diversity in pathways at the university level. Expanding our higher education pathways is not incompatible with decreasing cohort sizes. In fact, as our manpower and talent base reduces, it is even more important to uncover everyone's potential to the fullest through more diverse education pathways.

6. In addition, our universities have taken on the mandate of lifelong learning. I expect the university landscape to become more variegated and vibrant.

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