SINGAPORE - The Education Ministry will open up another 1,000 university places this year, bringing the total number of places at the six universities, including the Singapore Institute of Technology and SIM University to 14,000.
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Here is Education minister Heng Swee Keat's Facebook post:
I am happy to announce that the Singapore Institute of Technology Act comes into effect today, and that SIT is now Singapore's newest autonomous university.
Congratulations to SIT! I met some SIT student leaders recently. They were full of pride and excitement over this momentous step for SIT, and I feel the same way. Welcome, SIT, in joining NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD as Singapore's newest autonomous university. I hope that young Singaporeans will make full use of the new opportunities that open up at SIT.
SIT's new status is part of our efforts to steadily expand higher education opportunities for young Singaporeans. I am glad that in academic year 2014, our publicly-funded universities will be providing 14,000 places for Singaporeans. This is 1,000 more than the 13,000 places in 2012.
These additional places come from an overall expansion of the university sector, with the bulk coming from SIT and the new full-time degree programmes at UniSIM. Each year, we raise the proportion of each cohort who are admitted to our publicly-funded university degree programmes.
This year, by providing up to 14,000 places, 30 per cent of our students can be admitted to publicly-funded degree programmes. This is double that in 1990, and the highest number ever. We had originally aimed to reach this level by 2015, so we are a year ahead of schedule!
One important point - it is not just about numbers, it is about quality. This expansion is done in a careful way, to match students' aptitudes. Even as we create more places, we want our students to be able to meet the rigours of the programmes, and at the same time, to make the best use of opportunities as our economy grows and becomes more diverse.
We are increasing the diversity of our higher education landscape, with new institutions, programmes and teaching approaches. We have a whole range of offerings across many disciplines, from engineering to business, from technology and design to the liberal arts, from the theoretical to the applied.
SIT and UniSIM's new full-time degree programmes are the latest addition to our university offerings, and will integrate classroom learning and application in structured work attachments to better prepare students who enjoy hands-on learning for the challenging careers ahead in the working world.
We will press on to provide publicly-funded university spaces for 40 per cent of every cohort by 2020. Together with an expected increase to about 10 per cent of the cohort receiving degree education through publicly-funded part-time places by 2020, up to half of each cohort could receive a government-subsidised degree education.
It will take hard work from MOE, our universities and our partners, but it is a most worthwhile goal and I look forward to pouring our energies into this.