Nanyang University

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Nanyang University
南洋大学
Nanyanguni.png
Motto People, Progress and Productivity
Type Chinese language
Active 1956–1980
Founder Tan Lark Sye
Location Singapore Singapore
1°20′33.9526″N 103°40′57.0083″E / 1.342764611°N 103.682502306°E / 1.342764611; 103.682502306Coordinates: 1°20′33.9526″N 103°40′57.0083″E / 1.342764611°N 103.682502306°E / 1.342764611; 103.682502306
Campus Urban
500 acres (2 km²)
NanyangUniversity.png
Merged with University of Singapore in 1980, assets transferred to National University of Singapore
Main Building of Nanyang University, Singapore
A surviving monument of Nanyang University, at Nanyang Technological University. See higher resolution version.

Nanyang University (Chinese: 南洋大学, abbreviated Nantah, 南大) was a university in Singapore from 1956 to 1980. During its existence, it was Singapore's only Chinese language post-secondary institution. In 1980, Nanyang University was merged with the University of Singapore to form the National University of Singapore (NUS).

History[edit]

The idea of a Chinese university in Singapore to provide higher education to the Chinese community was first mooted by Tan Lark Sye in 1953, then chairman of the Singapore Hokkien Association. A fund was set up for this purpose, drawing donations from people of all walks of life and with Tan himself donating $5 million. The Singapore Hokkien Association donated 500 acres (2 km²) in the western Jurong area, which was then largely undeveloped rural land.

Nanyang University started classes on 15 March 1956, offering courses in the arts, sciences and commerce. Construction of the entire campus was not completed until two years later. In 1958 the university held its official opening ceremony, officiated by Tan and then-Governor William Goode.

[edit]

The three circles in the logo represent values long held to be important in Chinese tradition. They represent a trinity of values: people, progress and productivity. The linking shows the interdependence between the need for people to work together productively and achieve progress. This symbol can now be seen in the National University of Singapore's crest. The circle with the yellow star represents "people," signifying the importance placed on human capital in Singapore.

Merger with the University of Singapore[edit]

In 1970s, Nanyang University encountered problems in student enrolments as many students were attending English-language schools. Then prime minister Lee Kuan Yew moved the university to adopt English language within five years. Subsequently in the same year in March, a joint campus scheme was introduced to allow students from Nanyang University to jointly study with students from the University of Singapore.[1]

In 1980s, Nanyang University was merged with the University of Singapore to form the National University of Singapore (NUS). in part due to the government's desire to pool the two institutions' resources into a single, stronger entity and promote the English language as Singapore's only main language. The proposal of a merger was pushed by then-prime minister Lee Kuan Yew, who feared potential social issues as he saw that the students who enter it usually have poorer grades and may not be able to compete against English-educated graduates for jobs, and may create unrest.[2]

The merger was met with strong opposition from the university's alumni in particular, as well as the Chinese community. They considered the university a people's university due to their financial contributions and believed it is a bastion of Chinese education, culture, and social development. They also believed that the merger was a political move by the Singapore government. The promotion of a single education system based on English medium of instruction in pre-tertiary education, however, severely reduced the student catchment pool of Nantah, thus hastening its demise. Education with Chinese as the main medium at university level thus ended with the decision of this merger.

Relationship to Nanyang Technological University[edit]

With the merger, the Nanyang University grounds was taken over by a new technical institute, the Nanyang Technological Institute (NTI), in 1981. In 1991, the NTI was upgraded to university status as Singapore's second English-medium university, the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). NTU is technically a distinct institution from the old Nanyang University, and has a distinctively different culture from the former institution although the name Nanyang continues to be used. There have been calls to rename Nanyang Technological University as Nanyang University to bring back the old heritage, particularly with the support of NU's alumni. The administration of NTU has long resisted this move, and the idea receives a lukewarm response from the alumni and current students of the new institution. Many alumni members of NU object to the move, citing the distinction between the two institutions and the need to preserve the heritage of the old university.[3] Part of the opposition stems from concerns over confusion in the market and the effect it may have on the industry goodwill NTU has cultivated over the years.

Chinese Heritage Centre[edit]

In 1995, the former Nanyang University Library and Administration Building was reopened as the Chinese Heritage Centre, an autonomous research institute of Nanyang Technological University. It was the first and only university institute in the world that specializes in the study of the ethnic Chinese communities from different parts of the world. It currently served as a research centre, a library and a museum.

Proposed renaming of Nanyang Technological University as Nanyang University[edit]

The NTU administration announced in 2003 the decision to rename Nanyang Technological University as Nanyang University by 2005, justifying the move based on the university's introduction of non-technology-related schools and its expansion into a full multidisciplinary university.[4] A year before this came into effect, the administration backtracked and postponed the move.[5]

List of former Nanyang University Chancellors[edit]

Name Term start Term end Notes
Lin Yutang 林语堂 1954 1955 Began term on 2 October 1954, resigned on 3 April 1955
Zhang Tianze 张天泽 1956 1959 Chairman of the Management Board. Nanyang University set up its Management Board as the highest administrative body on 5 March 1956, with Dr. Zhang as its chairman presiding over school affairs and taking over the duties of the President.
Zhuang Zhulin 庄竹林 1960 1964 Vice-Chancellor
Liu Konggui 刘孔贵 1964 1965 Interim chairman of the Management Board. Zhuang resigned on 1 July 1964, and the University set up an interim Management Board on 8 July with Prof Liu as chairman, presiding over school affairs.
Huang Yingrong 黄应荣 1965 1969 Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor
Rayson Huang 黄丽松 1969 1972 Chancellor
Hsueh Shou Sheng zh:薛寿生 1972 1975 Chancellor
Lee Chiaw Meng 李昭铭 1975 1976 Vice Chancellor
Wu Teh Yao 吴德耀 1976 1977 Acting Chancellor
Lu Yao 卢曜 1968 1977 Vice-Chancellor (Administrative). From 15 August 1977, the position of Chancellor was vacant and a special committee was set up to manage the university. Chen Zhuqiang 陈祝强 served as University Secretary, and carried out the decisions of the committee. On 7 July 1980, Nanyang University was closed and merged into the new National University of Singapore.

Publications[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Board, National Library. "Nanyang University". National Library Board. Archived from the original on 4 July 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  2. ^ Citizen, The Online (12 August 2014). "Whose decision was it to close Nantah?". The Online Citizen. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  3. ^ "Nanyang University and Beyond -051- 真正的南洋大学历史只有一部". www.nandazhan.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  4. ^ Lee, Jane (29 March 2003). "NTU set to drop that middle T". Straits Times. Archived from the original on 2 September 2017. Retrieved 2 September 2017 – via NewspaperSG. (Subscription required (help)). 
  5. ^ "News report". 

External links[edit]