The university president of Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), Professor Tan Thiam Soon, has hit out against the government for not building infrastructures fast enough and complained that his 2023 Punggol North campus is too late.
“There’s very good reason for that urgency. SIT is still a rapidly growing university. By this year’s admission, we’d have exceeded 7,000 students … we do have to deal with a space crunch.”
SIT is Singapore’s fifth government university but despite being started in 2009, the engineering university is shabbily treated with facilities sharing with the five polytechnics around Singapore and only one campus building in Dover.
SIT university president Prof Tan said that he is having a “big headache” running the university from across the island. The professor also revealed that due to the lack of teaching facilities, SIT students are unable to conduct their lessons in normal hours.
“Believe me, running six campuses is already a big headache. Running seven campuses will be worse…There’s a possibility students may have to stay back a little bit later, and class hours are extended a bit longer.”
The lack of funding and low priority of SIT is largely because the university is attended by mostly Singaporeans.
Singapore’s prestigious universities like NUS and NTU have a minimum 20% quota reserved for foreign students, many of whom are on full scholarships from China, India and other third world countries. Foreign students do not have to meet the English language requirement of A Levels, a primary qualification for Singaporean students.
The Singapore government does not want more Singaporeans to be tertiary-educated because they are worried that Singaporeans may compete with foreigners for high-paying degree qualification jobs, as revealed in Wikileaks.