Published on: 01-Sep-2016
Professor Bertil Andersson
President, Nanyang Technological University
SCHOLARS AWARD CEREMONY 2016
Thursday, 1 September 2016, 2.00pm
Colleagues, distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and welcome to the NTU Scholars Award Ceremony 2016.
Congratulations to all our scholars and scholarship recipients! Allow me to also congratulate all the proud parents here – we know it’s hard work to push the students.
You should be proud, because getting an NTU scholars award is a highly competitive exercise. Today, we have 483 young individuals who have been selected out of several thousands of applicants, with many of them accepted into one of NTU’s premier scholars’ programmes, awarded the Nanyang Scholarship -- or both. That means a success rate of down to about 5 per cent. You realise, this is tough competition.
As Nanyang Scholarship holders, including those joining the Renaissance Engineering Programme, the CN Yang Scholars Programme, the University Scholars Programme and the NTU-NIE Teaching Scholars Programme, you are about to embark on an amazing educational journey.
We also have with us today 31 graduate students who will be receiving the Nanyang President’s Graduate Scholarship Award. Congratulations on pursuing the next stage of your education at NTU and I’m sure you will find the journey enriching in many ways.
More top students joining NTU
Over the years, NTU has been a magnet for top students, like a huge cluster of PokeStops. Those who have played the game Pokemon Go – I guess you all do – know that. Indeed, NTU is attracting the brightest and talented students, raring to “level up” their achievements.
In fact, we see a 110 per cent increase in top A-level students admitted this year compared to 2011, when the first of our premier programmes was introduced. This is a total revolution in Singapore as so many top students choose NTU today. We introduced innovative offerings such as the Renaissance Engineering Programme, which is today’s No.1 most popular engineering programme for top students here in the country. I should also mention that NTU continues to be the choice university for top polytechnic graduates today.
There’s no better time to join NTU. In the 2015 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings, NTU is placed 13th globally, ahead of renowned universities such as Yale, Johns Hopkins and Cornell. We may be a young university that was inaugurated only 25 years ago, on 30 June 1991, but that has not stopped our ascent among the Ivy Leagues. We are also the number one in the world for young universities, meaning universities under 50 years of age.
You are also joining a university that is recognised globally for producing impactful research. All universities do research, but you have to look at impactful research. NTU is ranked No. 1 in normalised citation impact amongst the top Asian universities according to Thomson Reuters which is a major provider of statistics in the world.
Exciting developments at NTU
Rankings are of course important in today’s world but admittedly it’s not everything. In NTU, we also emphasise the importance of a holistic education for our students. We make sure that we have a world class campus benefiting a world class university and world class students.
There are plenty that you can look forward to in the next few months or even weeks. Our three new residential halls at North Hill which offer more than 1,800 places will be ready in just a few weeks. I understand that some of you here are the lucky ones who will move into these absolutely brand new modern and energy-efficient halls.
Next year, another four new halls at Nanyang Crescent will be ready. This means that by then, a big population of students at NTU can stay on the campus. 17,000 students living on campus, that is almost a Guinness world record. As many of your seniors will testify, hall stay is one of the most memorable and remarkable experiences for an NTU student. We have many alumni that lived in the university for like 20, 25 years ago. They still see their own fellows, they are friends in the halls. These are friends for life. That is very important.
As we know, Singapore is a super sports nation with an Olympic gold. For those who are into sports, we open a completely new sports hall, a wooden sports hall. I come from Sweden, every house is made of wood but in Singapore, it is unique to have a big wooden sports hall. It’s built in a very eco-friendly way, consuming 40 per cent less energy than a conventional school building.
It has a remarkable seating mechanism that allows it to transform to 13 full-sized badminton courts or into three basketball, volleyball, and netball courts. This is absolutely state-of-the-art.
And of course, we see the very attractive The Hive building that has won many architectural prizes. If you look at it from outside, it is a big wow factor. But the most important thing of The Hive is the inside, because it contains almost 60 smart classrooms, where we have our future learning in Flipped Classrooms.
So how do you learn today? In my generation, we were sitting in lectures taking notes. But in today’s world, top students are not passive consumers of lectures. The top students today, and all students, are active learners and using the latest ICT technology to do that. We are going from Gutenberg to Gates in education. That, of course, is a smarter way of learning. The medical school at NTU, as one of the leaders (in smart learning), basically don’t have any lectures and tutorials but go by ICT-based learning.
NTU is, if I may conclude, a fast rising star in research and you are lucky to be part of that. You are lucky to part of the best programmes at NTU, the best of the best. You will have many exciting opportunities, with world-class facilities but even more importantly, world-class professors. You see, the most important thing in a university is the people. The second most important is also the people, and even the third. So as you start on your path, remember to grab the opportunities that are before you. If I may borrow the famous catchphrase from Pokemon –- “Gotta Catch ’em All!”
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