Monday, June 09, 2008

Crossover vs UniSIM

Dear Mrs Koh,

Thank you for your explanation. I will accept the Board's decision.

However, I must register my dissatisfaction with the fact that the criteria for admission is not made known to student teachers. If I had known my poly grades would be of such detriment to my admission chances, I would not have raised my hopes so high. Besides, my inferior grades were in an unrelated area of study, while my credit was in a related area of study. Why then should such heavy weightage be given to my poly performance? By doing well in Dip Ed, I was hoping to redeem my lack of effort in poly. But it seems that we are being punished twice for our past mistakes and not being given sufficient opportunity to redeem ourselves. I am disappointed in myself for not realising the value of education in poly 5 years ago, but even more so now with NIE & MOE for valuing the efforts of Dip Ed-ers so cheaply.

As for the Advanced Diploma, I'm sorry to say that it makes no sense at all. Why would I want to spend 1+ years getting another diploma when I already have two, with no impact on my emplacement and no direct guarantee of a degree? It would take me 3+ years to eventually get my degree, with little economic benefit to me in the meantime. It is no wonder that many Dip Ed-ers are forced to pursue unrelated part-time degrees at UniSIM etc at the expense of their work-life balance to get the emplacement they need.

I do hope you will reconsider the criteria for degree programme admission and provide more viable and realistic opportunities for us to get our degree.

Yours sincerely,
Aaron Wong
Dear Mr Wong


1 I refer to your email below appealing for crossover to the degree programme.

2 For Diploma graduands to crossover to the NIE's degree programme, both your performance in the Diploma in Education programme and your polytechnic diploma results are taken into consideration. This is part of an overall set of admission criteria that ensure the high standards of candidates who are admitted into the degree programmes in the university. You have obtained a Credit in the Diploma in Education but your polytechnic diploma results fall below the university’s minimum admission requirements. Based on the admission criteria, the NIE Board of Examiners collectively decided that the institute is unable to admit you into the degree programme.

3 NIE is fully aware that we must provide alternative pathways where Diploma graduands like you can have an opportunity to further their studies academically. With this in mind, NIE has put in place the Advanced Diploma programme in the relevant subject area, which we would like to invite you to consider applying for. When a candidate does well in the Advanced Diploma programme, he or she can use this additional qualifications (on top of their NIE diploma and polytechnic diploma results) to apply for the degree programme. Further advice on how to sign up for the Advanced Diploma may be obtained by e-mailing or calling 67903944. We are happy to let you know that some teachers have entered the Degree programme through obtaining good results in the Advanced Diploma studies.

4 We wish you all the best in your future endeavours and hope to see you pursuing the Advanced Diploma in the not too distant a future.

Yours sincerely,
Dear Mrs Koh (Hd FP Adm Off),

I received with great disappointment my results for my final semester in Dip Ed. I realised that I was not offered an opportunity to further my studies in the BA(Ed) programme. I called the FPO and was informed that I did not meet the criteria for crossing over, despite a GPA of 4.36 and a pass in my practicum. I was informed that NIE and poly results were taken into account in considering who should be offered the degree option.

My purpose of writing is twofold:
1. To appeal to be admitted into the BA(Ed) programme,
2. To urge NIE to review the criteria and transparency of selection for BA(Ed).

I am guessing that in the end it was my mediocre poly results that did me in for admission into BA(Ed). Honestly speaking, I did not take my polytechnic education that seriously until my final year. However, on coming to NIE, I finally found something that I could excel in. I applied myself enthusiastically and diligently during my time in Dip Ed finally achieving a CGPA of 4.36, virtually an A-average. I was also a member of the ELL Club (Ref: Mr Jason Loh, ELL Club ex-adviser) that organised activities for Year 1s. I was hopeful of continuing my pursuit of excellence in the BA(Ed), but now having been informed otherwise, I would like to appeal to be admitted into the programme, where I believe I can be a credit to the cohort of Dip Ed crossovers.

Secondly, I implore NIE to review the selection criteria for crossing over. The criteria has been made confidential, and we were only able to hear rumours about what the criteria was. This was totally unhelpful as we were not able to target a certain GPA or involvement to achieve. If we put it bluntly, I was doomed the moment I stepped into NIE, due to my inferior poly grades. I feel I have not been given a chance to improve myself or turn over a proverbial new leaf, despite doing my best to. It feels like a kick in the teeth that I never stood a chance. If convicts are given a chance to turn over a new leaf in seeking new employment, why am I being judged on what I (did not) achieve in the past? I believe I have acquitted myself well during Dip Ed, and more than made up for my inadequacies in the past.

I urge NIE to place greater weightage on performance in NIE rather than previous qualifications, which have less relevance in excellence in teaching. Moreover, if past results are taken into account, then my 'O' Levels would be in my favour, but apparently they are not considered at all.

I also urge NIE to be more transparent in communicating criteria of crossing over in official channels, instead of leaving us in the dark where we were trying to do our best but not knowing if we were on track at all. If PSLE and 'O' Level students know the score they need to get into the school they want, why shouldn't student teachers know what they need to achieve to cross over? I believe such transparency would help NIE get the elite students they want, as these would be the people that really do their best in NIE, to be excellent in their teaching.

I hope you will consider my appeal favourably and allow me to further my studies at the cradle of Singapore education.

If you need references of NIE tutors/lecturers, I'm sure Prof Douglas Edge (MME), Mr Jason Loh (now HOD Eng, Innova Pri) and Ms Jo-Ann Netto-Shek (ELL) would be glad to oblige.
6 Jun 2008, 1245hrs
I have not been offered the crossover option despite a GPA of 4.36. That's virtually an A-average. Jasmine says it's because I only got a pass at practicum, though that's another issue. Jon says it's because of my poor poly grades. But tell me, isn't busting your gut to do well in NIE after realising the importance of education enough to earn your place? Apparently not. Above is my letter of appeal.
23 Aug 2007, 0045hrs
To all aspiring crossovees, Aaron has done the math for you so you can decide if you should crossover to BA or BSc(Ed) next year if you are offered it.

My calculations assume you are graduating from Dip Ed, as I am, in June 2008, and will begin work in a primary school in July 2008. It assumes you enjoy a pay adjustment for NS. It also assumes you get three-months' bonus each year.

This calculates your net loss/gain till June 2011. Why June 2011? Well, assuming you start studies in UniSIM immediately after graduating from NIE, you will graduate from their part-time degree course by that time. So here goes:

Crossover to 2-year BA(Ed) programme at NIE:
Stipend: $10,000
Salary [GEO1: Jul 2010 - Jun 2011]: $42,330
Studying full-time

Four-year bond [CAA 2011]
Education degree [too specific]


3-year part-time degree at UniSIM, English major with another field:
Salary [GEO2: Jul 2008 - Jun 2011]: $95,310
No bond [CAA 2011]
General degree [non-education]

Course fees: $21,000
Working full-time & studying part-time


So, the question is, are you willing to work and study for three years, albeit a degree you have more control over and is more saleable outside, just to gain $21,980? I know I am. =]
Duncan brought up a very pertinent point though. Optimistically, if I can add another tuition student [total: 2] at $22.50/hr for 4 hrs/wk, I can make $720/mth, or $25,920 in 3 years, more than making up the shortfall. Now the picture is not so rosy.

MOE will even loan you $14,000 interest-free & bond-free to study part-time.


Kai said...

when you say work part time, you mean tuition right?

reply me at

i'm really interested to know cos i'm considering the option you took.

aaronie said...


Seenah said...

Hi I am a diploma holder and considering taking a 3 year degree from uniSIM and later trying for post graduate diploma in education.My poly grades aren't good. I applied for dip in ed and I guess it's unsuccessful as I did not hear from them.

I wanna know did you self-finance for dip in ed?

Do you think the chances of getting admitted to pgde wil be higher if you had done uniSIM's 3 year degree?

Now I'm so scared to invest my money in uniSIM's BA English as the only reason I would take a degree with english major is to teach in govt schools. So if they weigh my poly grades together with this degree I really don't know if I could be admitted to pgde. (after reading your experience). :'(

aaronie said...

you can go both ways.

i suggest you get a degree that suits your interest area at any local uni, before applying for PGDE. MOE accepts degrees in any area now.

Seenah said...

Thanks for ur reply Aaron.

I have relief teaching exp. Poly grades not good. I did not apply for BA(Ed), just Diploma. It's 3 weeks already.

Do u mind telling if u were selected for Dip in Ed or you self financed for the course? Abit confused since u said your poly grades were not good. Is it easy to get in Dip in Ed despite my bad poly grades? GPA 1.9 =(

aaronie said...

MOE will pay for your education if you get in. Leverage on your relief teaching experience and get a letter of recommendation from your school's principal. Apply for DipEd - it's your best chance.
MOE would not have decided in 3 weeks. Wait at least 2 months.

Seenah said...

Thanks for your words of encouragement.and Sorry for asking too many questions. U said they look at your poly grades and dip in ed for crossover. Lets say if u dont have dip in ed and Suppose you did a degree at unisim.. they might not consider for pgde bcos of bad poly grades despite a good degree right?what u think?

aaronie said...

i'm not sure, but i think they would look chiefly at your higher qualifications.

Anonymous said...

Did u pay for your Diploma in education?

aaronie said...

Course not. Sponsored by government, with full salary too. =]

Anonymous said...

what's your poly gpa? Now u doing any degree at uniSIM?

Anonymous said...

hey dude,

how do u know if you crossover?
do you have to be posted to schools first before they tell u?
or it will reflect in your results or a letter will be sent to u in june?

i seriously think dip ed results should be place a high focus too. sighs.

Wee said...


I would like to know the email address so that I can write in to appeal. Apparently my A level results enables me to go into local Uni and my NIE results are good too but I din get to crossover.