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NUS, NTU & SMU to become autonomous universities



The Government has accepted the recommendations of the University Autonomy, Governance and Funding (UAGF) Steering Committee to devolve greater autonomy to our three publicly-funded universities – the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU).
This move to transform NUS and NTU into corporatised, Autonomous Universities like SMU marks the beginning of the next exciting phase of our universities’ development, where they will be able to exercise greater flexibility to make far-reaching changes to create a unique educational experience for their students, as well as compete in the global university landscape.
Please see the executive summary and full report of the UAGF Steering Committee for further details.
Implementation Plan
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has set up an Implementation Steering Committee (ISC) chaired by LG(NS) Lim Chuan Poh, Permanent Secretary (Education) to oversee and ensure the smooth implementation of the main UAGF deliverables from now till mid 2006.
The main deliverables include legislative changes, new funding framework, tuition fee setting mechanism, and enhanced accountability framework. Please see Annex for the composition and terms of reference of the ISC.
NUS and NTU will be corporatised as not-for-profit companies limited by guarantee, similar to the current set-up of SMU. MOE will work closely with the universities to effect the necessary legislative changes to the existing NUS Act and NTU Act.
Each university will be registered as a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Act, with its own Memorandum and Articles of Association.
To ensure that the universities’ missions remain firmly aligned with our national strategic objectives and that the universities remain accountable for the use of public funds, an enhanced accountability framework will be introduced, comprising the existing Quality Assurance Framework for Universities (QAFU), and the proposed Policy and Performance Agreements.
The ISC will oversee the drafting of the Policy and Performance Agreements which are expected to be signed between MOE and each university by mid 2006.
The corporatisation of NUS and NTU and the signing of the Agreements with the 3 universities will be an important step in the transformation of NUS and NTU into Autonomous Universities. The devolution of autonomy to the two universities will be an ongoing process over the next few years.
In anticipation of the opportunities afforded by greater autonomy, NUS and NTU have embarked on an internal review of their strategic directions, as well as how their internal governance and management structures could be strengthened to take over the oversight roles previously performed by MOE.
The university Councils in particular will have to play a more significant role in charting the direction, optimising resources and ensuring the long term financial sustainability of their institutions to support their pursuit of excellence in education and research.
The university leadership will also consider how to actively engage their faculty and staff. These changes will have to be carefully thought through in consultation with the university stakeholders.
The ISC will also work out the operational details of the new funding and tuition fee setting frameworks, as well as the mechanisms to provide adequate student financing to ensure that no student is denied a university education for financial reasons.
In April 2004, Minister for Education, Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced the establishment of the UAGF Steering Committee chaired by LG(NS) Lim Chuan Poh, Permanent Secretary (Education) to recommend an appropriate model of autonomy for Singapore’s publicly-funded universities that will enable them to respond to the opportunities and challenges of a more competitive university landscape, and to achieve global excellence.
The UAGF Steering Committee released its preliminary findings to the public at a press conference on 6 Jan 2005. MOE’s International Academic Advisory Panel deliberated on the recommendations during its 5th Meeting (11-14 Jan 2005) in Singapore, and endorsed the move to transform NUS, NTU and SMU into autonomous universities. During this year’s Committee of Supply debate on MOE’s budget, Members of Parliament also had the opportunity to discuss the recommendations.
More..... (annex)

Source: Press Release 12 Apr 2005



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13 April 2005