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THE Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT), which now operates from an interim campus in Dover Road and has satellite branches in each of the five polytechnics, will move to a permanent home in Punggol. This will benefit executive condo residents such as those from The Terrace ECAmore EC and Waterwoods EC who will be able to make use of SIT's facilities such as classrooms, workshops and its multi-purpose hall.

And there, it will be integrated with the new Punggol Downtown and the Housing Board's upcoming Northshore District.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced this at the National Day Rally on Sunday.

SIT, Singapore's fifth autonomous university, was set up in May 2009 to offer more degree opportunities to polytechnic graduates. It provides applied-learning pathways for students who prefer more hands-on learning.

The institution intends to increase its undergraduate intake to 3,500 in 2020, up from about 2,000 this year. SIT now offers 36 degree programmes, including 27 delivered in partnership with 10 overseas universities, among them the Technical University of Munich and Digipen Institute of Technology.

Mr Lee did not say when SIT's new centralised campus would be ready. When contacted, the Ministry of Education told The Business Times that plans for the permanent campus were still being worked out and details will be announced later.

In his speech, Mr Lee described the development of SIT as a long-term effort, making his point by drawing on the Chinese saying that it takes 10 years to grow a tree, but a hundred to nurture a person.

"This is our mindset (when) embarking on SkillsFuture," he said, in reference to the new national movement to give Singaporeans opportunities to develop to their maximum potential throughout life, regardless of their starting points.

As he unveiled an artist's impression of what SIT's new Punggol campus would look like when ready, he added: "We are planting seeds now to bear fruit many years from now."

He also announced that JTC Corporation, the national developer of industrial infrastructure, would build a creative industry cluster across the road from SIT's new home.

"SIT will be integrated with the creative cluster and students can easily go from classroom to workplace and apply what they learn," he said.

The prime minister also spoke fondly of his inaugural visit to SIT's Dover campus in January, when he met the staff and students during a tour.

"They are keen about their future, passionate about what they do. They relish the opportunities for internships to apply what they have learned," he said.

Mr Lee made the point that it was important for Singapore to improve its education system, both in the schools and in the opportunities for lifelong learning.

"(This is) because education enables our people to be self-reliant, and because our workers and students must stay ahead of globalisation and technology," he added.