March 15, 2020
Institutes of Higher Learning to Suspend All Official Overseas Placements
1. The Ministerial Taskforce on COVID-19 has just announced new border restriction measures to reduce the number of imported cases into Singapore. Various countries have also announced similar border measures. Separately, many universities around the world have announced moving to full online learning and even closed their campuses, including on campus housing.
2. Given these developments, the Ministry of Education (MOE), together with the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) have decided to suspend all official overseas placements, including all internships and exchange programmes, until end-July. Students who are currently on such overseas placements will be recalled as soon as is practicable.
3. Students will be concerned about the loss of credits earned during their exchanges or placements. To address this, IHLs are committed to the following:
- First, there will be no delay in students' graduation. IHLs will support the affected students by providing alternative learning arrangements. This would include credit bearing modules during the summer semester or local internship placements. As most of the affected students are second or third year students, they also have the option to take additional credits in subsequent years. In the coming weeks, the IHLs will work with each affected student to finalise these alternative arrangements.
- Second, the alternative arrangements should not impose additional financial cost to students. All additional modules or local internships will not add to the current school fees.
4. The decision to suspend overseas placements was reached after careful consideration of the uncertainties ahead, the fact that the students would be able to access similarly meaningful learning opportunities locally, as well as the well-being of our students and their academic progression. MOE will continue to monitor the global situation and work closely with the IHLs to take appropriate measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.