In light of the recent reports on the Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) hall allocation results that have sparked outrage among the student community, one student took to Reddit to explain why NTU students are “unhappy” with the university’s administration.
Previously, it was reported that NTU students who failed to secure accommodation on campus were forced to move out by 15 July, causing an uproar within the student community as the eviction also applies to international students residing on campus.
In an email sent to TOC, a second-year student at NTU claimed that the campus only released its hall allocation on 1 July at 2am, forcing many students – including international students – to evict themselves on the grounds of reserving rooms for COVID-19 isolation.
Speaking to Mothership on 2 July, an NTU spokesperson explained that safe management measures and an “exceptionally strong demand” for hall places have contributed to the shortage of hall rooms this year, and assured to review the capacity.
One Reddit user, who goes by the moniker ZeroPauper, shared the “real stories” of NTU undergraduates which he has experienced or heard about, hoping that his sharing will encourage current students to speak up and push the NTU to take action.
He noted that the NTU administration has had a reputation for neglecting the students’ welfare, adding that the campus will only take action “if they get negative media coverage”.
“I would hope that these glaring issues can be made aware to prospective students and their parents,” said the Reddit user.
Referring to the hall allocation fiasco, the student noted that he came across a post on Reddit which alleged that the delay of hall allocation results was actually published in the form of “an obscure notice” on the hall application portal.
“This delay meant that students had to undergo STARS course registration before they can confirm if they have a hostel room, causing issues such as fatigue from travelling >3 hours a day to attend classes in the morning instead of the 10 minute journey from hall,” he wrote.
The NTU administration subsequently pulled a u-turn on its policies in less than a day, provided all year one and two students with hall placements, and allowed international students to retain their accommodation on “an exceptional basis”, said the Reddit user.
“This suggests some glaring issues with the hall allocation processes and COVID-19 policies,” he added.
The student also brought up the issue of internal shuttle bus services at the NTU, noting that the shuttles are in “short supply” with irregular bus arrival intervals.
He claimed that students will have to wait for five minutes or up to 30 minutes “with no in-between” for the shuttle bus to arrive, and despite students have made complaints on the matter, the campus did no improvement to such irregularities even after “decades”.
“Last year, NTU introduced a ridiculous directive that disallowed standing on campus buses to ‘reduce crowding’, but failed to increase the flow of buses to stem the overcrowding at bus stops. Students had to crowd at bus stops and miss 3-4 buses before they could get onto one,” he added.
In 2019, the NTU cited “low ridership” for the cancellation of several shuttle bus services.
However, in its reply to a student’s queries, NTU stated that the shuttles were cancelled due to “increased diesel taxes” which has led to higher operational costs, adding that the cancellation is to ensure that there will be no additional financial burden to students.
Referring to that, the students said: “On the topic of transparency and accountability, it appears that the administration might have been dishonest about the actual reason why the heartland shuttle buses were cancelled.”
The Reddit user also mentioned NTU’s Student Automated Registration System (STARS), which allows students to register for modules, noting that the server is “archaic” as students will have to wait 30 minutes for the webpage to load.
He included a link to another thread on Reddit – which shows a screenshot of an email sent by NTU’s staff to a student – noting that the staff has also admitted that the system consists of “ageing hardware and obsolete technology stack”.
This a “laughingstock” for a university that claims to be “one of the top universities in the world”, said the student.
What’s more, he revealed that the cost of food on campus has also increased due to the “exorbitant” rental rates for food stalls, and that the university offers fewer halal options for Muslim students.
The student also alleged that NTU has given “false advertising” to people about its quality of education.
“NTU promises quality education with its global standings, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. For the ‘don’t expect to be spoonfed’ crowd, there’s a difference between demanding spoon-feeding (giving all the required information for exams), and questioning the quality of teaching (how information in slides are ordered, how they are explained).
“We do not require professors to spoon-feed us all the content for exams. What we do require are professors who can explain concepts(which are already in their current lecture slides), without confusing everyone,” he explained.
Though the university has been “doubling down” on infrastructure upgrades in the past years, he noted that the purpose of these “massive upgrades” are only meant to boost NTU’s reputation and not for the well-being of its students.
“For example, a sheltered walkway from the campus rider bus stop at TCT lecture theater to the main building stem has been suggested by students for years, given the high footfall of students using campus rider services and how it gets very slippery on rainy days.
“But till date, no such improvements are being made. But the peculiarly, makeshift shelters that cover certain areas of the school can be put up during big events,” he noted.
Other students compare NTU to NUS
Meanwhile, several other students commenting on the thread made comparisons between NTU with the National University of Singapore (NUS), with many of them voted NUS as a better university than NTU.
One Redditor wrote: “I’ve looked through the NUS curriculum and I still regret not choosing NUS instead. Even though EE may not be the forte of NUS, their modules are so modern and interesting.”
“A few years ago, I was trying to decide between NUS and NTU. I couldn’t make it to the NUS open house, but going to the NTU open house a lot of things felt subpar and I ended up choosing NUS despite never setting foot in it. Glad I was right,” said another Redditor. One Redditor, who claimed he was transferred from NUS to NTU to study psychology, highlighted that NTU is “a lot more caring” towards students than NUS, and listed out his reasons.