Singapore Institute of Technology was started in 2009 to provide more opportunities for polytechnic graduates to further their education. Here are the 10 key moments in our journey.
To provide more education pathways for Singaporeans
Recognising the need to provide more education pathways for Singaporeans to obtain a university education, the Singapore Institute of Applied Technology (SIAT) was incorporated in September 2009.
It served as an expansion of the Polytechnic–Foreign Specialised Institute (Poly–FSI) initiative to provide more opportunities for polytechnic graduates to obtain recognised degrees.
SIAT was renamed to Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) in that same year to offer foreign university degrees locally from reputable overseas universities.
Global learning, local teaching. Best of both worlds.
SIT brought together some of the most reputable overseas universities in the fields of Engineering, Game Design and Hospitality.
These programmes were taught locally with a global outlook. The Overseas Immersion Programme (OIP) was also introduced as a component of the programmes, so that students would be able to experience onsite learning at the overseas campuses as well.
Our unique relationship with the overseas university partners allowed us to build the foundation to offer specialised, industry-relevant degrees.
Bringing the world to you
The SIT website went live after barely a year of planning for the inaugural Open House in 2012. With 10 degree programmes from five overseas university partners, we finally opened our doors to the public.
Held at the headquarters of Ministry of Education, the momentous event was aptly branded ‘Bringing the World to You’. We matriculated our first 500 students after the first admissions exercise, which yielded close to 2,000 applications.
In a move away from traditional grade-based admissions, we held interviews in consideration of each applicant’s passion, interests and non-academic achievements to identify those that will do well in their chosen fields.
Once a SITizen, always a SITizen
On 1 February 2013, Professor Tan Thiam Soon was appointed President of SIT, taking over the reins from founding President, Professor Tan Chin Tiong. It was then that we crystallised our vision and mission, and positioned ourselves as a leader in innovative education by integrating learning, industry and community.
Prof Tan instilled a mindset within SIT that university education is a lifelong learning journey. It is about building skills, rather than just the pursuit of a paper qualification. There is a saying within SIT, “Once a SITizen, always a SITizen,” which adequately describes our students’ lifelong learning journey, from the time they enter SIT.
During this period, key initiatives, such as the establishment of the Professional Officers division and the signature Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), were also introduced.
Launching our own degrees
SIT was gazetted as Singapore’s fifth Autonomous University on 28 March 2014, through an act passed in Parliament. This recognition was an important step towards redefining Singapore’s higher education landscape.
It also gave us the impetus to launch three degrees offered by SIT, the first of many to come, within the next few years. From being a “start-up” university in 2014, we now offer over 40 degree programmes.
Able to learn, unlearn, and relearn
Students embody the values of the institution they belong to. We want to nurture and imbue our undergraduates with traits to help them cement their identity as a student of SIT. First defined in March 2014 as the ‘SIT-DNA’, the four traits are likened to those of an individual’s DNA.
The first trait, ‘Thinking Tinkerers’, stems from the way that students are trained — to learn by doing, while being able to think on their feet.
The second trait, ‘Able to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn’, hinges on the premise that whatever students learn today may become obsolete by the time they graduate. Therefore, it is important to be able to accept that learning occurs throughout one’s lifetime.
Third, ‘Catalysts for Transformation’ emphasises the need for students to effect change in their workplace by creating value through innovation, not to be afraid to take calculated risks and be open to learning through failure.
Finally, being ‘Grounded in the Community’ serves to remind students that their skills and knowledge should be shared generously with the community they live and work within. Giving back to others yields more joy than one can imagine.
The SITizen-DNA continues to serve as a guiding principle in steering our curriculum design, pedagogical approach, student interaction and culture.
Comprehensive real-world applications
Our Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP) has disrupted the traditional internship model. Students can immerse themselves in a real work environment for six to 12 months through work attachments with our industry partners. This enables our students to have a first-hand taste, and better appreciate the demands of the working world, even before they graduate.
Likewise, employers get to understand the capabilities of our students and discover how SITizens are different from others. With close mentoring by our Professional Officers (POs) and their industry supervisors, students get to work on actual projects at their IWSP companies, and tackle real-world issues for their final-year projects.
The IWSP is a mandatory component for both joint and SIT-conferred degree programmes. It enables students to experience and understand their specialised professions intimately and shift their mindsets towards a work-learn continuum.
We have come a long way since the inaugural IWSP cohort. The programme has now become a salient feature of our education experience and remains a key pillar of our applied learning approach.
SIT’s integral role in the future economy
“SIT has an important role to play in the future economy.” That was the key message that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong delivered at the inaugural ‘Dialogue with SITizens’ on 24 October 2016.
Citing the example of four student journeys, PM Lee encouraged SITizens to stay resilient during trying times, while seizing the opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn, and be ready for the future.
90% of SIT graduates were employed within six months
In 2017, the inaugural cohort of SITizens graduated from two degree programmes offered by SIT— Bachelor of Accountancy and Bachelor of Hospitality Business.
In 2018, another three of our pioneering cohorts graduated from three degree programmes offered by SIT— Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Sustainable Infrastructure (Land), Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Information and Communication Technology (Software Engineering), and Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Information and Communication Technology (Information Security).
From the pioneer graduating cohort, more than 90% were employed within six months of graduation. Over the years, the Graduate Employment Survey (GES) results continue to be a testament to our model of applied learning.
A smart university campus for everyone
Our future campus is located within the Punggol Digital District (PDD), situated in the north-eastern region of Singapore. It is set to be a vibrant and inclusive district underpinned by cutting-edge technology.
Occupying a total land area of approximately 91,000 square metres, the centralised campus will be able to accommodate around 12,000 students – twice the combined capacity of our current satellite campuses.
The campus is envisioned to be a ‘living lab’ that integrates research and innovation for our industry partners. Students will be exposed to industry know-how by working on interdisciplinary projects, as well as test-bedding smart technologies. We hope to bring students, faculty and industry professionals together to collaborate on projects that can benefit the community.
Other campus features include open, public spaces, such as an 800m long Heritage Walk, that Punggol residents will be able to enjoy as well.