Open University Degree Programme



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 The partnership started in 1992, when SIM was invited by the Ministry of Education to run the Open University Degree Programme.2 SIM launched Singapore’s Open University (OU) in January 1994 with the help of a S$38-million capital grant from the government.3 The objective of having an open university was to enable working adults to pursue degrees through part-time study.4 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.

Early years
The OU received an 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.

Applicants to the OUDP were at least 23 years old, had 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 OU were recognised by the Public Service Commission. Non-graduate teachers, upon graduating, were placed on the same pay scale as graduate teachers from other universities.7

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 1999.8 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.

Privately funded university
In 2002, the OUDP was granted accreditation status from the Open University of the United Kingdom. The programme became an autonomous entity of SIM and was re-named SIM Open University Centre (SIM-OUC).10

In 2005, SIM was restructured into two arms. One arm offered degree programmes in partnership with overseas universities, while the other, SIM University, was granted university status by the Ministry of Education.11 Students who were enrolled in SIM-OUC and graduated from 2006 onwards were allowed to choose between a SIM University or Open University of the United Kingdom (OUUK) degree, but once the university developed its own courses the students would graduate from SIM.12

SIM University (or UniSIM) became Singapore’s first privately funded university to award its own degrees that are approved by the Ministry of Education.13 The university officially began its degree courses, targeted at working adults, in January 2006.14

Today, SIM Global Education provides full-time and part-time academic programmes (diplomas, bachelor and postgraduate degrees) from universities in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Europe.15



Author
Nor-Afidah Abdul Rahman



References
1. Teo, A. (1992, June 10). Open U – SIM to kick off in 1994 with three degree coursesThe Business Times, p. 3; MOU signed for Open Univ. (1992, July 25). The Business Times, p. 2. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
2. Chen, L. (2014, August 24). 50 years of pioneering private education. The Straits Times, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore University of Social Sciences (2005, April). SIM Open University Centre keeps up the numbers for eight year running. (2005, April). Retrieved 2017, September 28 from Singapore University of Social Sciences website: http://www.suss.edu.sg/Happenings/newsrelease/Pages/MR2005-4.aspx
3. Open U needs govt help. (1992, June 12). The Business Times, p. 8; Davie, S. (1992, June 10). SIM takes up govt offer to run Open U coursesThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Davie, S. (1992, June 10). SIM takes up govt offer to run Open U coursesThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG
5. Teo, A. (1992, June 10). Open U – SIM to kick off in 1994 with three degree coursesThe Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Davie, S. (1993, November 4). Mainly non-grad teachers, poly grads in Open U’s first batchThe Straits Times, p. 22; Davie, S. (1992, June 10). SIM takes up govt offer to run Open U coursesThe Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Davie, S. (1992, June 10). SIM takes up Govt offer to run Open U coursesThe Straits Times, p. 1; Open University Degree. (1996, March 7). The Straits Times, p. 7; Davie, S. (1993, November 4). Mainly non-grad teachers, poly grads in Open Us first batchThe Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
8. Leow, A. J. (2004, November 26). SIM: Bearing the standardThe Straits Times, p. 19; Davie, S. (1993, November 16). For Open U students, phone will be learning aidThe Straits Times, p. 22; Open University to get new campus by end of 1999. (1996, July 17). The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
9. Nirmala, M. (1995, January 11). Over 90% pass their first-year Open U examsThe Straits Times, p. 22. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; SIM University. (2016). SIM Open University Centre keeps up the numbers for eighth year running. Retrieved 2017, September 28 from SIM University website: http://www.unisim.edu.sg/Happenings/newsrelease/Pages/MR2005-4.aspx
10. Leow, A. J. (2004, November 26). SIM: Bearing the standardThe Straits Times, p. 19; SIM milestones. (2003, November 10). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; SIM University. (2016). SIM Open University Centre keeps up the numbers for eighth year running. Retrieved 2017, September 28 from SIM University website: http://www.unisim.edu.sg/Happenings/newsrelease/Pages/MR2005-4.aspx
11. University for working adults. (2005, January 15). The New Paper, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Singapore University of Social Sciences (2005, April). SIM Open University Centre keeps up the numbers for eight year running. Retrieved 2017, September 28 from Singapore University of Social Sciences website: http://www.suss.edu.sg/Happenings/newsrelease/Pages/MR2005-4.aspx; Davie, S. (2005, April 27). UniSIM. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Lee, U-W. (2005, April 27). A uni with a differenceToday, p. 6; Ng, J. (2008, October 10). Surge in UniSIM degree applicantsThe Straits Times, p. 47. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; SIM University. (2005, April 27). SIM transformed [Press release]. Retrieved 2017, September 28 from SIM University website: http://www.unisim.edu.sg/Happenings/newsrelease/Pages/MR2005-2.aspx
14. Davie, S. (2005, July 12). Applications open for 1,000 UniSIM placesThe Straits Times, p. 6; Davie, S. (2006, September 21). President to be patron of UniSIMThe Straits Times, p. 8; Ng, J. (2008, October 10). Surge in UniSIM degree applicantsThe Straits Times, p. 47. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. Singapore Institute of Management Pte Ltd. (2017). Discover SIM GE. Retrieved 2017, September 28 from SIM Global Education website: http://www.simge.edu.sg/gePortalWeb/appmanager/web/default?_nfpb=true&_st=&_pageLabel=pgDiscover



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Politics and Government>>Education
Education--Singapore
Education
Adult education--Singapore
Education>>Higher education>>Colleges and universities