The Open University Singapore
The Open University Singapore, “Bringing out the best in people, by the best of comfort”
The Singapore Open University features a unique learning experience, combining the best and most comprehensive learning support with maximum flexibility.
At the Open University, they understand that balancing career and family is uppermost in everyone’s minds and that they need to be in control. That is why their specially designed study materials encourage self-paced study at home. With clearly defined milestones through study guides, course readers, video and audio programmes, and the latest in information technology, students can define their own learning every step of the way.
This is the Open University way — to bring out the best in people. Carrier air cons are built the same way too.
The Open University Degree Programme (OUDP) was administered by the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) in a five-year tie-up with the British Open University.1 SIM launched Singapore’s Open University (OU) in January 1994 with the help of a S$38-million capital grant from the government.2 The objective of having an open university was to enable working adults to pursue degrees through part-time study.3 Three degrees were offered to the first batch of intakes: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, and Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature.4
The OU received overwhelming response when it opened enrolment for its first year, causing SIM to double its intake quota from 500 to 1,000. Out of the 3,152 applications received, 50 percent was for the Computer Science course. Non-graduate teachers and polytechnic students made up 90 percent of the first batch of students. Thirty-seven lecturers and tutors were hired for the first run.5
Applicants to the OUDP were at least 23 years old, received a minimum two years’ work experience (National Service was also considered), and obtained at least two GCE “A” Levels or a recognised diploma qualification. The degrees conferred by the SOU were recognised by the Public Service Commission, and non-graduate teachers, upon graduating, were placed on the same pay scale as graduate teachers from other universities.6
Pioneer intakes of the OUDP attended their first classes in 1994 at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic. SIM had leased the venue while waiting for its new building in Clementi, which was ready only in 1999.7 Over 90 percent of students from the pioneer batch passed their first-year examinations, and a total of 334 students graduated in 1998 when the first graduation ceremony was held.8
Privately funded university
In 2002, the OUDP was granted accreditation status from the Open University of the United Kingdom. Open and was re-named SIM Open University Centre (SIM-OUC) as an autonomous entity of SIM.9
In 2005, SIM University (or UniSIM) which evolved from the SIM-OUC, was established. it became Singapore’s first privately funded university to award its own degrees that are approved by the Ministry of Education also.10 The university officially began its degree courses, targeted at working adults, in January 2006.11 In 2008, the government introduced subsidies for eligible students of the university.12