SIM University (UniSIM), Singapore's fourth university dedicated to providing upgrading opportunities for working adults, has been given the green light by the Education Ministry to launch the country's first and only Bachelor's degree in Tamil Language and Literature (BATL). There will be two intakes per year and about 50 places are available in each intake for the part-time degree. Classes for the first intake will commence in January and the second in July.
The BATL is offered in response to the call for UniSIM to provide an upgrading opportunity for non-graduate Tamil language teachers and Tamil language enthusiasts to pursue a degree. Before the launch of the UniSIM programme, studying in the state of Tamil Nadu in India was the only option. UniSIM's BATL programme now allows students to pursue a degree of similar academic rigour and standards in Singapore without the need to travel overseas.
Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, Founding President of SIM University said, "Through our mission of providing upgrading opportunities for working adults, UniSIM will play an increasingly significant role in shaping the quality of Singapore’s workforce. To do that, we keep abreast of the market and consider its needs when deciding which programme to offer. We are pleased to launch the Tamil degree programme in response to the need to provide an upgrading opportunity for Tamil language teachers. UniSIM’s English and Chinese language programmes are well established. The launch of the Tamil degree is a natural extension of the repertoire of language programmes we offer."
"Tamil teachers have waited 30 years for this programme. In the past, our teachers have to uproot themselves and spend three years in Tamil Nadu to get a degree. This is especially difficult because most Tamil teachers are ladies with families. Each year, only about 5 to 6 of them manage to pursue a degree. With UniSIM’s Tamil degree programme, the biggest hurdle has been removed. UniSIM has given Tamil language teachers a great incentive to upgrade their knowledge and skills. We are grateful to MOE and UniSIM for launching the programme," said Mr S. Samikannu, President of Singapore Tamil Teachers' Union. There are about 600 teachers in the union and only about half of them hold a degree in Tamil language.
Jointly developed by UniSIM and leading Tamil language scholars from Tamil Nadu, the syllabus and standards for the Tamil B.A. programme are similar to those offered in India. On top of this, local content has been specially included for Singapore’s learners. Professors from Madurai-Kamaraj University (MKU) and other established universities in Tamil Nadu will also be invited to teach at UniSIM.
Run as a modular programme, it will adopt the open and flexible mode of learning, which is a key feature of UniSIM. Students will learn through a suite of learning support avenues such as print, multi-media, audio-visual and online materials, and e-mail and discussion forums. On top of these, lectures and tutorials give valuable face-to-face time with faculty members and opportunities for in-depth discussion.
The degree can be completed within 3 years but students have up to 8 years to complete the degree. They are required to complete twelve courses. Ten credit units will be awarded for each course and students can take up to 20 credit units per semester. Some of the courses include modern literature, history of Tamil literature, translation, grammar, linguistics, Sangam classical literature, and folk arts and literature.
The entire programme costs S$21,420. The fees are inclusive of GST and applicable to local students only. Applicants are required to hold two GCE 'A' level passes and a good pass in Tamil language at either the GCE 'AO' or GCE 'O' level, be at least 21 years old and have a minimum of 2 years' working experience.
Non-graduate teachers will be considered for emplacement on the graduate salary scale by MOE after completing the programme.
UniSIM will be holding its first open house on 20 August 2005, from 11 am to 6 pm at SIM Headquarters, 461 Clementi Road. Mr Kalaimani s/o Retnasamy, Programme Chair of the B.A. Tamil Language & Literature, will conduct a briefing in LT 2.11 between 4pm to 6pm on that day. For more information on UniSIM's open house or BATL programme, please call +65 6248 9777.