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Universities in Singapore for international students

partner universities in singapore

Throughout the years, Singapore has continued to invest heavily in its already world-class educa-tion systems. In a recent report1 by global research network Universitas 21, the affluent city-state was also ranked first in Asia for its provision of quality higher education, once again cementing its reputation as the education hub of the region. It is thus no wonder that Singapore has become one of the preferred destinations for students worldwide seeking tertiary studies.

But making a choice can be hard with six public universities, as well as over 60 Private Education Institutions (PEIs) and offshore institutes2 providing higher education programmes in the country. To begin, it is important to understand the key differences between public universities and PEIs, and the resulting advantages.

Funding and tuition
As the term suggests, public universities receive funding from the government, which passes on to students as subsidised tuition. However from 2019, public universities will no longer grant subsidies to foreign students for most of the vocation-based master’s degrees and postgraduate diplomas3. On the contrary, even though PEIs are not supported by government funding, some of the bigger players have established funds or collaborations with sponsors to provide scholarships for outstand-ing applicants.

Size and demographics
Public universities in Singapore tend to be bigger, both in terms of campus size and student num-bers. Case in point, the National University of Singapore (NUS) boasts a 150-hectare campus and some 35,900 students4. In comparison, the Singapore Institute of Management Global Education (SIM GE), sits on a 10-hectare campus—the largest in the private education sector—and has an annual enrolment of 19,000 students.

But what PEIs lack in size, they make up for in student diversity. This is because while their public counterparts can only admit a fixed number of international students each year, PEIs do not have to adhere to this regulation. Take for example, again, the case of NUS and SIM GE. While NUS comprised of about 4,600 international students in 20175, SIM GE welcomes an average of 3,800 students from over 40 countries each year. As a result, it can be said that PEIs generally consist of a wider variety of students, which in turn set the stage for a more diverse, multicultural learning en-vironment.

Academic rigour and curriculum
To help expand students’ knowledge, public players adopt a broad-based curriculum, often requir-ing students to take up elective modules on top of their core modules. On the other hand, PEIs have a more focused curriculum that allows students to dive right into their fields of specialisation. All in all, when it comes to curricular structure, both public universities and PEIs have their own merits depending on individual learning styles.

For a clearer picture of the best higher education routes that are available to you, here is a list of the top universities in Singapore:

Three of the most established public universities
• NUS: Founded in 1905, NUS is the oldest university in Singapore and offers exclusive degrees, such as those in dentistry and pharmacy.

• Nanyang Technological University (NTU): As the country’s main science and technology uni-versity, NTU is particularly known for its engineering courses.

• Singapore Management University (SMU): SMU is the island’s first government-funded but privately managed university, and employs seminar-style teaching.

Three of the largest PEIs
• Kaplan: Especially popular for its Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) courses, Kaplan provides live online lessons through which students can study for their ACCA qualifications anywhere in the world.

• Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS): The oldest not-for-profit PEI in Singapore, MDIS launched a dedicated nursing school in May 2018, making it the first PEI to do so.

• SIM GE: Voted Top 3 Best Private Institute for eight years running in the AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards, SIM GE is one of Singapore’s largest PEIs and the private education arm of the country’s sixth public university.

The extra edge at SIM GE
Not an award-winning institution in name only, SIM GE produces some of the most sought-after graduates among all other PEIs. This was affirmed in the latest PEI Graduate Employment Sur-vey6, where 82.5% of SIM GE graduates found a job within six months of completing their final ex-aminations—beating both Kaplan and MDIS, which scored 75.4% and 64.4%, respectively.

The employability of SIM GE graduates does not happen by chance. Working with professionals and leading corporations, SIM GE offers comprehensive career support to students, including in-ternships and mentorships.

In conclusion, while there is a good selection of universities in Singapore for international students, it is crucial to take into consideration tuition fees, campus and learning environment, curriculum, as well as other forms of support when deciding which institution is right for you.

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