To set itself apart from the more established National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), students are not only accepted based on grades, but also through panel interviews, reflective essays and their other qualities and achievements. The American-style of teaching students in small seminar groups and giving marks to students for class participation that SMU has adopted has taught their graduates to think on their feet and to speak up in a more confident, articulate and mature manner.
With SMUs increasing popularity amongst students and employers posing a challenge, both NUS and NTU are stepping up to try and draw the best students. NUS has made use of its high worldwide ranking to form partnerships with different universities around the world to offer overseas exchange programmes to its students. The NUS-town was also opened at the former Warren Golf Club site in Clementi to give students a residential college experience.
Meanwhile, NTU started to focus on sciences and technology, setting up several labs including the Future Mobility Research Lab with BMW to study the future of transportation. With 2000 graduates a year, NTU pioneered in engineering education, and is the worlds largest single-campus engineering facility. NTU students also get to spend a year with a partner university before taking up internships at start-up companies and companies abroad. In the eyes of the government, it would make sense to encourage diversity among the higher education sector to offer an education with a difference and in the process, preparing graduates for the job market.
However, this should be done carefully so as to avoid labelling the institution as purely research-intensive or teaching universities. The friendly competitions and rivalry between the schools has also encouraged the universities to build on their unique strengths. Thus, diversity in the higher education is not a problem. The different institutions provide a platform for their students to be as prepared as they can be to enter the job market according to their strengths. Thank you.