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More leeway to excel at universities here

Educators confident quality of graduates will not suffer as varsities ease norms

Published on Aug 13, 2014 7:20 AM
NUS students performing at a Rag Day event at NUS University Town last week. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

Dropping poor grades, lower criteria for the honours' track and doing away with names like "third class".

Universities here are getting kindler and gentler. But life on campus will not become easier, said experts.

Amid concerns of lower standards after recent changes by Singapore's two biggest varsities, educators are confident that the quality of graduates will not suffer.

"It's a message to students that they can relax a little and enjoy learning," said Dr Timothy Chan from private institution SIM Global Education. "But there are still exams and assessment, and they need to do well in the next few years."

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Background story

Honeymoon year for freshmen


Freshmen can drop any "F" grade in up to six courses in the first year. They must retake the course or take another with the same academic weightage.


Freshmen can exclude grades in up to five modules in their first semester.

Other changes

  • The grade to qualify for the honours year in four schools in NUS has been lowered from a cumulative average point of 3.5 to 3.2. Applies to students who enrolled from 2012.
  • From next year, NUS degrees will be renamed, to give better recognition to students. Second lower honours, for instance, will be known as honours with merit.