SINGAPORE – College orientation season is right here.
In contrast to earlier years, although, there aren’t any loud, boisterous cheers or crowds of freshmen on campus grounds.
As a substitute, most freshmen orientation programmes on the autonomous universities in Singapore have moved on-line because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Straits Occasions noticed one such digital session on the Singapore Administration College (SMU) on Wednesday (July 29), the third day of a four-day orientation programme.
About 1,900 incoming SMU college students out of a 2,300-strong cohort had been concerned within the on-line orientation, which featured programmes akin to video games and webinars.
Over 200 present pupil facilitators, 30 pupil organisers and 20 workers trainers had been additionally concerned.
On Wednesday, a bunch of 12 freshmen had been hosted by two senior pupil facilitators in a teleconference name on the platform Webex.
The incoming college students had been eager to know extra about points akin to bidding for modules, which is a observe in SMU.
Former Schooling Minister Ong Ye Kung additionally joined the group, collaborating in some video games and to talk with the scholars.
Mr Ong informed them: “One of many issues I did earlier than I left the Ministry of Schooling… is (to make sure) that when universities open, you’ll be able to have 50 to 60 per cent of footfall again in campus, which I believe is a vital factor to do.
“As a result of for younger individuals, to remain at house and do on-line studying is simply not the identical. College can also be actually about friendship, assembly individuals, and typically assembly your professors nose to nose, asking questions and exploring queries that you’ve got.”
One of many group’s facilitators, third-year accountancy pupil Mikail Ismail, stated he took on an identical function in final yr’s bodily orientation programme.
It may very well be more durable to forge shut, significant relations with the freshmen with an internet programme, the 22-year-old stated.
“On Webex, there can normally solely be one speaker at a time. Final yr, we had been shifting round faculty, orientating them to the bottom, and as we moved from place to put, we may have small speak in between. Small speak is basically the baseline of how individuals get to know one another.
“However I am hoping that when every little thing will get higher, the college can and can present alternatives for them to get to know one another higher, to have enjoyable.”
Incoming enterprise administration pupil Terrence Seow, 23, stated he loved the webinars organised by the college, including that his two facilitators did properly in serving to the group gel.
Mr Seow stated: “Earlier than I got here for the camp, I did not have excessive hopes. However my facilitators and group mates are very participating and I am very fortunate to have the ability to make buddies with them, and hopefully, bid for modules collectively.”
Different universities have provide you with related digital orientation programmes.
The Singapore Institute of Expertise (SIT) will likely be holding a week-long one for its 2,800 freshmen from Aug 24 to Sept 1.
It should characteristic digital campus excursions at every of the six SIT campuses, in addition to actions akin to having freshmen meet with their respective programme college, seniors and course mates through scheduled Zoom periods.
The Singapore College of Social Sciences (SUSS) held related programmes for its incoming college students in July, and so they included stay chat periods with SUSS competitors teams such because the swimming, observe and discipline and tennis groups.
Greater than half of its incoming cohort attended the e-orientation. An SUSS spokesman stated this was a slight enhance in comparison with attendance for the bodily orientation held in July final yr, including that this may very well be because of extra individuals with the ability to attend the occasion from their properties.
On the Nationwide College of Singapore, freshman orientation programmes between June 1 and Aug 7, together with these performed by halls, residential faculties and residences, have been and can proceed to be performed on-line.
Ms Rachel Teo, an orientation camp programme director on the college’s Temasek Corridor, stated: “Our focus this yr is to not attempt to make it as near the true factor (as attainable), however relatively create a brand new and unconventional camp on-line that would present the freshmen the identical intrinsic expertise and engagement as earlier than.”
Nanyang Technological College additionally stated its faculties, residential halls and pupil organisations are placing collectively over 40 on-line transition programmes for some 6,000 freshmen this month.
In the meantime, the Singapore College of Expertise and Design is the one establishment nonetheless planning to have a bodily orientation programme as scheduled from Sept 10 to 11.
Its interim provost Lim Seh Chun stated the programme is designed with the present Covid-19 state of affairs in thoughts and can adhere to secure distancing measures.
Prof Lim added: “College students will likely be divided into small teams with no cross mingling between teams… (however) if a face-to-face orientation is (nonetheless) not attainable, we’ll endeavour to interact our new college students just about.”