Sunday, April 20, 2008

Republic Polytechnic

Nestled in the heart of Woodlands town is Republic Polytechnic (RP), Singapore’s newest polytechnic (just 6 years of operation since its inception in Tanglin Campus).

What set this polytechnic apart from its peers are its innovative teaching concept and its commitment to the community and the environment. RP is not only just an academic institution; it is also a cultural icon of the north, a social and community space as well as an environmental stalwart.

I have the good opportunity to visit this lovely institution and would like to share some of the interesting points:

a. Admiralty park is just next to RP and it is a lovely park which is frequented by the Woodlands residents.

b. Applied science and arts are some of the most popular faculties for this institution.

c. The staff’s telephone numbers start with the number ‘3’ and not ‘6’ as all the phone number of staff are configured in internet telephony. Laptops are compulsory for all students and teachers in this campus. The campus is wi-fi all throughout the premises and the public is welcome to tap on this free internet network for their laptops on the campuses. The campus is fenceless, no barriers to segregate from the public as the school management believes RP is part of the community, and hence the public could come in as and when they like, to tap on the free internet network, to use the libraries (but no borrowing of books) and to leverage on the heavily subsidized prices of premium coffee and restaurant food. The sports facilities and pool are open free to public.

d. There is no lecture conducted at RP, only tutorials based on RP’s problem-based teaching. Laptops, group discussions, online curriculum, project and homework are typical features of a RP student’s life.

e. The 1st and 3th level of all blocks in RP link together.

f. For every one minute that a student is late for, 0.5 point will be deducted from his or her Grade Point Average.

g. RP is spacious and large, akin to Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. There are lots of open space throughout the campus, to stimulate thinking among the students. There is an even an artificial water pond with a tear drop in the centre to represent the fact that all big achievements arise from a small spark of an idea.

h. The Republic Cultural Centre is the esplanade of Northern Singapore with its acoustic of the same quality and grade as that of our National Esplanade.

i. Paper can be scare in RP in a bid to save the environment and conserve the trees. Use of paper, (unless for necessary uses) is not encouraged in the campus.

j. There is an Adventure Learning Centre which is open to booking for the public and other bodies.

k. A bowl of lobster porridge cost a hefty $80 in one of the restaurants in the campus.

l. Community and corporate trainings are regularly held at the campus.

As you can see from the points mentioned above, RP is not a typical polytechnic, it is so much more: it is a dynamic landmark of Singapore.

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