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Universities need to maintain rigour in their programmes: DPM Teo

Along with job skills, universities must also teach students how to learn and re-learn and to be adaptable, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

SINGAPORE: As more students enter university, universities have a greater responsibility to maintain rigour and relevance in their programmes and to build strong relationships with their alumni.

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean made this point on Tuesday (Sep 2) at the 10th-anniversary celebrations of the University of Manchester Alumni Association Singapore. Mr Teo graduated with an engineering degree from the university in 1976 and is now patron of the alumni association.

Only 4 per cent of his cohort went to university in 1972, he noted. But by 2020, there will be enough space in Singapore's public universities for 40 per cent of every cohort. Even with an expanding cohort, Mr Teo said universities must maintain rigour and provide students with the necessary knowledge to prepare them for the job market.

However, along with job skills, universities must also teach students how to learn and re-learn and to be adaptable. He also said universities should continue building strong relationships with their alumni.

"Universities have to think about what value they offer to their alumni, not just during their years at the university, but throughout their lives,” said Mr Teo. “This is especially important because education is no longer a one-off experience for students while they are at university, but a continual process of learning, throughout their lives."

Universities can also tap on their alumni network to extend their outreach, said Mr Teo: "Alumni can also benefit from more social and professional opportunities through their links to the university, or with other alumni around the world. This is particularly useful in a world that is increasingly fuelled by networks."

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