In the light of the current coronavirus situation in Singapore and based on the latest advisories received, The Straits Times Education Forum on Reimagining Universities will be postponed.
The forum slated for Feb 15 at the Singapore Management University Law School had already more than 500 sign-ups that included students and educators from junior colleges and polytechnics. Education Minister Ong Ye Kung was to deliver the keynote address for the event.
The Straits Times and its partner for the event, the Singapore Management University (SMU), said the decision to postpone the event for now was taken given the current spread of the coronavirus.
Straits Times editor Warren Fernandez said: "It's unfortunate to have to defer this event, but we thought it prudent to do so, under the circumstances. We will be back before long to engage with our young audience on issues that are of interest to them, as the forum aims to do."
SMU president Lily Kong said: "The decision was a difficult one to make, given the very strong positive responses for attendance to the forum from over 500 people. However, the safety of our participants is our top priority.
"Our foremost concern is to safeguard the health of our participants, of whom the majority are students from various schools across Singapore."
Singapore moved its disease outbreak response up a level to "orange" on Friday as the coronavirus spread further within the country, with new cases announced of unknown origin. This included a junior college teacher.
The Ministry of Education introduced new measures for schools, including the suspension of inter-school and external activities till the end of the March school holidays. These include the National School Games, learning journeys and camps.
Schools will continue with earlier implemented measures, such as classroom-based assemblies, school-based co-curricular activities in smaller groups and staggered recesses.
ST and SMU urged those who had signed up for the forum to register again once a new date for the forum is set. Professor Kong said: "We certainly look forward to hosting all who registered when we set a new date for the forum."