Bilingual signboards at NTU foodcourt

Published Date: 11 September 2017 12:00 AM

News Parliamentary Replies

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Ang Wei Neng, Jurong GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) with regard to the perceived bias against the use of Chinese characters on the signboard of food stalls at a local university, what are the lessons and steps to prevent a similar occurrence in local tertiary educational institutions.

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Kok Heng Leun, Nominated Member of Parliament

Question

To ask the Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) what is the outcome of the investigation into the request from NTU to foodcourt operators to replace bilingual signboards with English-only signage.

Response

1. In all our Autonomous Universities (AUs), there is no issue with display of bilingual signboards, as long as one of the languages used is English, which is common working language. What happened at NTU was therefore not in line with the longstanding policy across the AUs.

2. NTU has investigated the recent incident, and found that one of its staff had misinterpreted NTU’s language use policy, and inserted a requirement that stallholders display English-only signage. This was neither approved nor condoned by NTU and its management. The investigation also concluded that the staff had no ill intent, and a stern warning was issued to this staff member.

3. NTU is also working on the panel’s recommendations to brief all staff managing its Food and Beverages and retail outlets on the university’s policy on language use, to ensure that it is well understood, and also strengthen their ability to balance the NTU community’s diverse cultural needs, through training.

4. NTU has since also informed all on-campus vendors that non-English languages are permitted on the signboards and notices, as long as English is also used. For the vendors which has changed to only English signboards, NTU will cover the expenses to revert to the original signboards.

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