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Ngee Ann ties up Newcastle University and Singapore Polytechnic to offer Naval Architecture degree

NP offers second degree tie-up under MOE’s Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institution initiative

Singapore, 22 Nov 2007 – More highly skilled professionals will be ready to support the booming maritime industry by 2010, thanks to a new specialised degree programme to be offered by Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) in collaboration with the Newcastle University and Singapore Polytechnic (SP).

This is made possible through a partnership between the institutions under the Ministry of Education’s Polytechnic-Foreign Specialised Institution (Poly-FSI) initiative. 

This is the second degree programme approved by MOE under the Poly-FSI initiative.  Ngee Ann will take on a lead role and host the administrative set-up of the Poly-FSI tie-up.  Most of the modules will be delivered by Newcastle University at the two polytechnics with Ngee Ann and SP co-teaching the rest of the modules.

The first such degree tie-up involves a collaboration between Ngee Ann, Boston-based Wheelock College and the Regional Training and Resource Centre in Early Childhood Care and Education for Asia (RTRC Asia) to offer the Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Educational Studies and Leadership .

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pave the way for the launch of the Bachelor of Engineering in Naval Architecture with Honours was signed by Ngee Ann and Newcastle University at NP today in the presence of Mr Gan Kim Yong, the Minister of State, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Manpower. 

It will be awarded in the name of Newcastle University, which is also known as University of Newcastle upon Tyne. The university is a member of the United Kingdom’s elite Russell Group of 20 internationally recognised research institutions.

The programme will be the first full-time degree course in Naval Architecture to be offered in Singapore.  The National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU) do not offer full-time degree courses in this field.

The collaboration with Newcastle University will offer selected students from Ngee Ann’s Diploma in Marine & Offshore Technology programme and SP’s Diploma in Marine Engineering programme a seamless progression to a prestigious overseas degree course without having to leave Singapore.     

Students who are Singapore citizens can apply for the MOE tuition grant of $15,360 per year and pay a subsidised tuition fee of $7,100 per year. Singapore Permanent Residents and foreign students who wish to take up the tuition grant will pay a subsidised fee of $7,810 and $10,650 per year respectively. Similar to the arrangement in NUS, NTU and SMU, subsidised students who are not Singapore Citizens have to fulfill a 3-year service obligation to work in Singapore upon completion of the Poly-FSI degree programme.

Pledging to do everything possible to make the programme a success, Mr Chia Mia Chiang, the Principal of NP, said: “Ngee Ann Polytechnic is delighted to partner Newcastle University for this new degree. Together, we will produce top-quality graduates who will, in time, make their own mark to propel the marine and offshore industry to greater heights.”

Professor Ella Ritchie, Newcastle University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for teaching and learning in Newcastle University, also expressed her delight at the collaboration with Ngee Ann. 

“Our overall goals in making education accessible and relevant to the society and industry of the future are well aligned. Our collaboration over the programme in Naval Architecture should give both Ngee Ann and Newcastle a new international focus and create a partnership based on mutual learning and respect.” she said.

Looking ahead, Mr Chia said: “Ngee Ann is also actively pursuing other potential degree programmes under the Poly-FSI framework. These are in two more niche areas – advertising and integrated marketing communications, and film and TV.” 

Why Newcastle University?

Mr Chia said that, as part of the due diligence, several universities in a number of countries were considered.

He said that there were several factors in Newcastle University’s favour. These include its excellent reputation as a premier institution known particularly for its courses in marine and offshore technology, strong track record in the successful commercialisation of research, excellent links with businesses, and familiarity with Singapore’s marine education.

Newcastle University is also a popular destination for Singaporeans pursuing further studies in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. It boasts a long list of illustrious alumni, one of whom is Mr Choo Chiau Beng, the former Chairman of the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Council who is currently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Keppel Offshore & Marine Ltd.

What’s in store for students

Elaborating on the new degree, Prof Ritchie said: “The B.Eng in Naval Architecture is a two-year honours programme which will enable diploma-holders to attain a degree-level qualification, specialising in either Marine Engineering or Offshore Engineering. The curriculum is designed to cater for needs identified in the Singapore economy but is based on existing, highly successful provision at Newcastle and will be developed in exactly the same way and to the same standard as if it were taught at our home campus.  Successful candidates will receive their award from Newcastle.”

Newcastle University will assume leadership in designing the innovative undergraduate programme, which will be purpose-built for graduates of Ngee Ann’s Diploma in Marine & Offshore Technology and SP’s Diploma in Marine Engineering. 

The degree course will commence in September 2008 with a first intake of 60 students who will graduate in 2010.

The programme will be supported by the engineering facilities of the two polytechnics and a new project lab to be built by Ngee Ann on its campus at an estimated cost of $120,000.  These graduates will be granted a one-year advanced standing by Newcastle University, thus enabling them to acquire the degree in two years instead of three.

Graduates from other engineering diploma courses offered by all the five local polytechnics can also be considered for the programme as they would have acquired a good foundation of engineering concepts. However, they will be required to complete a bridging programme first.

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