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Historical Milestones

The history of Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) could be traced back to 1963, when it started out as Ngee Ann College. Its founder, The Ngee Ann Kongsi, had envisioned setting up a quality educational institution to link the Chinese-speaking community to its cultural roots during the colonial-rule era. The College had since morphed into a full-fledged polytechnic, a public institution overseen by an independent Council.

Five decades on, the Polytechnic has become a leading institution of higher learning, anchored on its core strengths of pioneering a broad-based and holistic learning approach, forging strategic alliances and providing enriching overseas experiences to prepare its students for a global workplace. The transformation of Ngee Ann Polytechnic has been a spectacular one, as evident in the key milestones recorded here.  

1960s 1963
Ngee Ann College was inaugurated on May 25, 1963. Located at the Teochew Building on Tank Road, the College offered four-year degree courses in three main areas: language, commerce and technology. The inaugural intake was only 116.  Singapore’s first female college principal, Professor Liu Yin Soon, was appointed to run the College.                         

The College became a legal independent institution governed by a Council, and started offering engineering and commerce courses at diploma level in response to popular industrial demand.

To reflect its expanded role and focus on technical education, the College changed its name to Ngee Ann Technical College.

The College moved from the Teochew Building at Tank Road to its Clementi campus.

1970s 1970
The degree courses were phased out.  So were Malay Language and Chinese Language Studies courses.

English replaced Chinese as the College’s sole medium of instruction. In April, the College welcomed its first batch of non-Chinese students.

The Business Orientation Programme was introduced to give students an insight into the working environment in industrial, commercial and other establishments.
1980s 1981
In 1981, a five-year Phase I campus expansion project took off the ground to cater to an accelerated increase in student enrolment.  Completed in 1986, the first phase covered construction of new buildings including laboratories, lecture theatres, four canteens, a sports complex, three residential apartment blocks and an eight-story administration building.

To reflect its expanded role in providing quality education, the college’s name was changed to Ngee Ann Polytechnic (Ngee Ann). Courses were also revised to promote practical and hands-on training.

The Continuing Education Centre (now renamed as CET Academy) was set up to provide a platform for postgraduates and working professionals to further their education and upgrade their skills.

NP embarked on Phase II campus expansion that added new facilities such as teaching blocks. Two subsequent phases were rolled out in 1990 and 1992.

NP celebrated its 25th anniversary. By then, its enrolment surpassed the 10,000-mark. The late president Mr. Ong Teng Cheong planted a Tembusu tree to mark the occasion. Celebrations culminated in the planting of a time capsule by Dr. Tay Eng Soon, to be unearthed in 2013.


Ngee Ann College at Tank Road

The then PM Lee at the inauguration ceremony of Ngee Ann College


NP's Human Resource Office started the International Fellowship and Visiting Lecturer Scheme, a move which has since attracted lecturers from UK, US, Australia, Japan, New South Wales, China and India.

After the successful completion of Phase IV campus expansion, the Polytechnic’s continuous drive to provide quality facilities saw its move to a new phase of upgrading the campus environment and its existing facilities.  The Phase 1 campus redevelopment programme kicked off in 1994. It was during this phase that the iconic building named The Octagon was built. 

The Polytechnic was the first of its kind to launch Mobile e-Learning, integrating a notebook ownership scheme, a wireless campus network and an e-learning platform.

NP was accorded the prestigious Singapore Quality Class Award.


The Polytechnic launched the Ngee Ann Learning Model (NLM), its unique broad-based approach of equipping students with a judicious blend of hard and soft skills to thrive in the knowledge economy. 

In the same year, NP pioneered a talent development programme to prepare high calibre students for their career and future studies.

The Polytechnic also unveiled the Lifestyle Library, the first library in a tertiary institution to provide a relaxing environment, with non-academic books, magazines, cable TV, Internet access, CDs and DVDs for the enjoyment of our students.

NP rolled out its plan to incorporate interdisciplinary studies into the curriculum.

As part of NP’s Phase 5 redevelopment plan, a spanking two-level 1,800-seat Convention Centre that also houses four lecture theatres was built to replace The Octagon.

The Office for Innovation and Enterprise (IE) (then called Innohub) was formed to offer industry partners consultancy services and showcase the Polytechnic’s technological expertise. It launched the EnterpriZe! Scheme to help enterprising students commercialise their products and business ideas.

Important strides were made overseas as the Polytechnic collaborated with Zhejiang University City College to provide Diploma in Chinese Studies students with the chance to go on a China immersion programme.

The School of Engineering also launched the Common First Year Pathway Programme that allows new students to choose their Engineering discipline after a semester of taking common engineering modules.

NP and SPRING Singapore jointly established the Marine & Offshore Technology Centre of Innovation (MOT COI) at the Polytechnic.  MOT COI serves as a one-stop centre to catalyse the growth of the marine industry by helping SMEs in this industry with technology innovation.

Under the Ministry of Education’s Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institute (Poly-FSI) scheme, NP was the first to strike a degree tie-up with renowned Boston's Wheelock College to offer NP graduates the opportunity to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership at the Polytechnic’s premises.

NP launched a $1 million Solar Technology Centre. Partly funded by the Economic Development Board, the Centre serves as a hotbed for applied research and student projects on solar technology.

A $7.6 million Environmental and Water Technology Centre of Innovation was officially opened in July. The applied research facility helps small and medium enterprises develop commercially-viable products and solutions in the areas of water and wastewater treatment and management, waste management, pollution control, and clean energy.

NP was picked to play a key role in the setting up of the School of Science and Technology (SST) which would tap the Polytechnic’s expertise and resources in applied learning for the design and planning of its curriculum, pedagogy and campus development. SST is Singapore’s fourth specialised independent school, as part of the Ministry of Education’s landmark initiative to inject greater choice and diversity into the secondary school education landscape.

In November, NP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Singapore Media Academy and the Workforce Development Agency to jointly set up Singapore’s first Media CET Centre to train media professionals.  The Media CET Centre is part of a $40 million government initiative to boost the media industry.

NP’s talent development programme was revamped and renamed The Christieara Programme (TCP) to boost the Polytechnic’s efforts in nurturing high-calibre students. A new feature of TCP was the California Challenge, a three-week study trip with a liberal arts focus.

One of NP’s landmarks – the Teo Hang Sam Building – which was the first building erected on its Clementi campus in 1966 and the adjourning Canteen One were demolished to make way for the new block Seventy3.  It marked the onset of the campus redevelopment’s Phase 6 programme.

The School of Film & Media Studies (FMS) officially launched m:idea, the first media conglomerate operated by an educational institution in Singapore.  Through m:idea, FMS students pitch for businesses and undertake commercial projects by offering a full suite of media services including editorial management, video production and events planning.

Ngee Ann launched its first degree tie-up with Boston’s Wheelock College

Ngee Ann’s Solar Technology Centre

2010s  2010
Dialogue in the Dark was set up on NP campus as an innovative training and learning facility helmed by the School of Humanities & Social Sciences. The first-of-its-kind facility in Singapore, it employs the visually impaired as guides who take visitors through a journey in complete darkness.

The Polytechnic also launched Ideawerkz, an innovation incubator that enables NP students to tap on it for funding and mentorship to turn their creative ideas into reality.

The Polytechnic set up a $1.2 million Optometry Centre to serve as an eye consultation facility to the community as well as a learning platform for its Diploma in Optometry students.

To recognise talents among a greater diversity of students, two new scholarships were launched. The NP Engineering Scholarship recognises academically strong engineering students, while the NP Arts Award is for the artistically-inclined who are accomplished in an area of the arts.

The School of Interdisciplinary Studies put in place a revised curriculum framework to inculcate the spirit of Innovation and Enterprise in all Ngee Ann students. The School began to offer three modules that are designed to inspire and encourage creative and innovative thinking as well as unleash students' innovative and entrepreneurial traits.

NP officially completed its Phase 6 campus development programme to enhance its facilities for students. Two of these facilities are a new building for arts and cultural activities named Seventy3, and a revamped Sports Complex.

NP celebrated its 50th anniversary. To mark the occasion, Minister for Education Mr Heng Swee Keat unearthed the time capsule that was planted in 1988.  At the same time, he launched a new time capsule and an exhibition showcasing milestones in the Polytechnic’s history.  As part of the celebrations, NP raised a total of $200,000 for the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and staff committed a total of 1,144 man days to serve community groups.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the Guest of Honour at NP’s 50th anniversary dinner where he launched the Polytechnic's Fourth Strategic Plan (4NPSP). The 4NPSP will guide the Polytechnic in nurturing students to develop a passion for lifelong learning, imbibe values that will anchor them for life, and stand ready to thrive in a global workplace.

Twenty-five outstanding alumni, who personify NP’s values and indomitable spirit, received the NP Alumni Award for their contributions to society. These alumni have made a difference in diverse fields spanning across Arts, Business, Community & Environment, Professional Services, Science & Technology, Sports and Technopreneurship.

NP received the President's Award for the Environment, the highest environmental accolade in Singapore. The award recognises the Polytechnic's role as a pioneer in environmental advocacy and in inspiring many green champions among its students and alumni.

As the appointed sector coordinator for Accountancy and Financial Services, Power Engineering, and Offshore and Marine Engineering, NP has rolled out several SkillsFuture initiatives such as Earn-and-Learn Programmes and enhanced internships during the year.

As part of the SkillsFuture movement, an enhanced Education and Career Guidance (ECG) curriculum was launched in April 2015 to help students make informed career choices right from the start. A total of 460 lecturers across all academic schools also completed a training programme to prepare them for their roles as ECG Advisors.

To further strengthen support for ECG, NP started the Industry Mentors’ Network (IMN) programme. First-year students will be assigned mentors who will provide career guidance throughout their course of study.

The Sandbox was launched in May 2015 to consolidate NP’s innovation and entrepreneurship development platforms. A one-stop centre, the Sandbox provides assistance for NP’s budding innovators and entrepreneurs through initiatives such as the Kickstart Fund, Makers’ Academy and the Incubator.

Block 22 was completed in April 2015 as part of NP’s Phase 7 campus redevelopment exercise. The new building comprises a 1,100-seater food court, an indoor sports hall, three tennis courts, staff training and student project rooms, as well as lounging spaces for students.

Under Phase 8 of campus rejuvenation, the Aerospace Hub at Block 46 was completed in September 2015. It houses flight simulators, an aircraft hangar and an air traffic control tower, as well as a dedicated area for students to work on their projects and build a recreational aircraft.

NP students and fresh graduates can gain access to a diverse range of internships through the NP@Glints portal which also enables students to build and showcase their digital portfolios to prospective employers. This initiative was rolled out by NP in response to a survey which reflected students' interest in having more internship opportunities.

Under a partnership with the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), NP opens up more opportunities for students to intern at the 500 startups that are part of ACE's community, and participate in student-driven entrepreneurial activities.

Launched in March 2016, NP's new signature Service-Learning pedagogy aims at leveraging students' disciplinary skills and knowledge to meet identified community needs. The new pedagogy will be infused into the core curriculum across all the diplomas.

The Global Entrepreneurial Internship Programme was started to provide students with an opportunity to experience the realities of startup life at one of the innovation cities in the world, such as Silicon Valley, Shanghai and Jakarta.

Jointly developed by NP and the Singapore Sports School, the new Diploma in Business Studies programme offers student-athletes a through-train academic option to a post-secondary education while they pursue their sport aspirations.

NP also launched a new Diploma in Tamil Studies with Early Education, in light of the rapid expansion of the early childhood education sector and shortage of Tamil Language teachers in pre-school settings.

More than 300 places in early childhood education courses were offered at the inaugural Early Admissions Exercise (EAE). The EAE, which began this year, allows students to secure a place in a diploma course of their choice before they sit for the O-level examinations.

Students from the School of InfoComm Technology can look forward to new smart learning spaces by 2017, thanks to a partnership with seven leading IT companies. Some highlights include Technology Enhanced Classrooms to specialised facilities that drive innovation and technopreneurship.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the five local polytechnics to enhance the curriculum for students in banking and IT-related courses. This initiative aims to prepare future graduates with upgraded skill sets required for fintech jobs.   

Academic Schools at a glance
The year when they were set up:

School Business & Accountancy
estd. 1963
School of Engineering estd. 1969
School of InfoComm Technology estd. 1982
School of Film & Media Studies estd. 1989
School of Life  Sciences & Chemical Technology estd. 1989

School of Interdisciplinary Studies estd. 2001
School of Health Sciences estd. 2005
School of Humanities & Social  Sciences estd. 2005
​​ School of Design & Environment estd. 2012

Dialogue in the Dark


PM Lee at NP's 50th anniversery dinner

Mr Clarence Ti, the Principal of NP, received the prestigious award from President Tony Tan Keng Yam at the ceremony


2014_envt_award.jpg Blk 22

2014_envt_award.jpg Aerospace Hub at Block 46

NP launched a new Diploma in Tamil Studies with Early Education in 2016

Leadership over the years
Prof Liu Yin Soon
Principal (1963 – 1970)
Dr Lee Chiaw Meng
Principal (1970 – 1975)
Mr Khong Kit Soon
Principal (1975 – 1982)
Mr Chen Hung
Principal (1983 – 1989)
Dr Tan Gee Paw
Principal (1989– 1995)
Mr Khoo Chin Hean
Principal (1995– 2000)
Mr Chia Mia Chiang
Principal (2000– 2014)
Mr Clarence Ti Boon Wee
Principal (2014– Present)


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