Studying and working in Australia, New Zealand

More Singaporeans expected to study in Australia

Students and their family members on the campus of the University of Sydney after a graduation ceremony. Australian government figures show that the number of Singaporeans enrolled in law, postgraduate medicine and allied health has grown.
Students and their family members on the campus of the University of Sydney after a graduation ceremony. Australian government figures show that the number of Singaporeans enrolled in law, postgraduate medicine and allied health has grown.PHOTO: REUTERS

Numbers may pick up fast with the weaker Aussie dollar and landmark bilateral pact

The number of Singaporean students studying in Australian universities rose to 8,165 last year, up from 7,300 in 2014. In comparison, there were more than 9,000 studying there in 2010.

Fewer Singaporeans have gone Down Under to pursue degrees in recent years because of the high value of the Australian dollar and more university places in Singapore. But, with the recent decline of the Australian dollar and a new landmark agreement between both countries earlier this month, student recruiters expect numbers to pick up - quickly.

Under the agreement, Singapore will recognise Juris Doctor (JD) degrees from 10 Australian universities, whose law degrees are already recognised.The JD programme is a postgraduate course one can take after earning a bachelor's degree in some other discipline.

 
 

The Ministry of Law said in response to queries that the timing of implementation of these changes has not been finalised.

In a boost for the health industry here, Singapore will also recognise postgraduate medical degrees from the University of Queensland and the Australian National University, as well as 15 more allied health qualifications in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy from several institutions such as the University of Sydney and La Trobe University.

Student recruiters said this translates into more options for Singaporeans who want further education in these fields.

MORE OPTIONS

We are expecting greater interest from students, many of whom would be pleased to know that there are more options for them now. We have many talented students with good grades in Singapore but professional degree courses are competitive and Singapore can only take in so many students.

MR DARYL FONG, country director at IDP Singapore, the recruitment agency for international students in Australia.

The Ministry of Health said that these degrees are recognised based on the standards of their programmes as assessed by the Singapore Medical Council and the Allied Health Professions Council, and not based on healthcare manpower resourcing considerations.

Mr Daryl Fong, country director at IDP (International Development Programme) Singapore, the recruitment agency for international students in Australia, said: "We are expecting greater interest from students, many of whom would be pleased to know that there are more options for them now.

"We have many talented students with good grades in Singapore but professional degree courses are competitive and Singapore can only take in so many students."

IDP Singapore sends up to 2,000 Singaporean students to Australia every year. Australian government figures show that the number of Singaporeans enrolled in law, postgraduate medicine and allied health has grown. For instance, in just the first three months of this year, there were 204 Singaporean students in law courses across bachelor, master's and doctoral degree programmes. The figure was 232 for the whole of last year.

  • QUALIFICATIONS FROM AUSSIE VARSITIES TO BE RECOGNISED BY S'PORE

  • ALLIED HEALTH

    • Curtin University of Technology

    • La Trobe University

    • University of Sydney

    • University of Queensland

    • University of South Australia

    POST-GRADUATE MEDICINE

    • University of Queensland

    • Australian National University

    LAW

    Juris Doctor qualifications from these 10 universities, whose law degrees are already recognised:

    • Australian National University

    • Flinders University

    • Monash University

    • Murdoch University

    • University of Melbourne

    • University of New South Wales

    • University of Queensland

    • University of Sydney

    • University of Tasmania

    • University of Western Australia

Adjunct Professor Kevin Tan of National University of Singapore's law school said the approval of Australian JD programmes is a "recognition that many of their institutions are switching to the JD system".

With more universities being recognised, students who aspire to be lawyers and whose parents can afford to send them abroad have more options, he added. "In the long run, Singapore probably can take more lawyers," he said. "But the supply cannot be infinite. There's no guarantee they can practise law even with a law degree."

Separately, last year, 174 Singaporeans were enrolled in postgraduate medical courses, compared to 202 in the first three months this year.

Similarly, 456 Singaporeans were studying in allied health courses last year, compared with 453 in the first three months this year.

Ms Ong Hui Ming, executive director of Econ Healthcare Group, said: "Singapore will benefit from this agreement in terms of supply and quality as we have a shortage of allied health professionals."

Dr K. Thomas Abraham, chief executive of Sata CommHealth, said: "The Singapore Institute of Technology is training graduates in physiotherapy and occupational therapy, but there is room for more manpower as the healthcare sector expands."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2016, with the headline 'More Singaporeans expected Down Under for studies '. Print Edition | Subscribe