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More places for S'pore students

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There will be 1,000 more university places for Singaporeans this year, bringing the total number to 14,000.

This means the Government will reach the target of providing university places for 30 per cent of each age group a year earlier than planned.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat (right) announced this in a Facebook post yesterday as he congratulated the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) on being gazetted an autonomous university.

The five-year-old SIT can now confer its own degrees.

The bulk of the new places announced by Mr Heng will come from the expansion of SIT and UniSIM, in Clementi.

SIT, which offers niche degrees from overseas universities, will run its own programmes from next year in infrastructure engineering, software development and accountancy. These courses will add another 200 places to its yearly intake of 1,500, The Straits Times reported.

Mr Heng stressed that the expansion in university places is done in a careful way, to match students' aptitudes.

"Even as we create more places, we want our students to be able to meet the rigours of the programmes, and at the same time, to make the best use of opportunities as our economy grows and becomes more diverse," he said in his post.

"We are increasing the diversity of our higher education landscape, with new institutions, programmes and teaching approaches."

He added that the target is to provide publicly-funded university spaces for 40 per cent of every cohort by 2020. The part-time degree route is expected to enable another 10 per cent of Singaporeans to get a degree.