Thursday, December 29, 2011

Singapore Management University

Have you known that there was a prison at the grounds of Singapore Management University campus on Bras Basah Road? Singapore and the straits settlements served as the nineteenth-century penal destination for more than twenty thousand prisoners from the South Asian colonies of the British Empire. On 18 April 1825, first batch of penal convicts arrived in Singapore and they were housed in temporary huts along Bras Basah Canal. From 1841 to 1936, four prisons were built by the British to house the convicts, and the Bras Basah was the first prison to be built.

The Bras Basah Prison was a large site used to occupy the open area known as Bras Basah Park (which eventually became the current site of the Singapore Management University). The prison was well known to the local population as "Lau Khaku Keng Kau" (mouth of the old jail) or "Ken Kau" (ankle chains). It was an extensive prison facility back then and occupied three blocks. According to the archival records, there was a prison break on February 13th 1875 involving sixty Chinese prisoners.

Singapore Management University Logo
Singapore Management University Logo

Today, the prison grounds are occupied by the Singapore Management University (SMU). SMU was set up as Singapore's third university in 2000 to provide a different model of university education and the university moved to its current location at Bras Basah in July 2005. SMU has 7,000 students and has six Schools offering undergraduate, graduate, and PhD programmes in Business Management (Lee Kong Chian School of Business), Accountancy (School of Accountancy), Economics (School of Economics), Information Systems Management (School of Information Systems), Law (School of Law) and the Social Sciences (School of Social Sciences). Singapore Management University is the first to introduce American-style pedagogy to Singapore's tertiary education. SMU is also the first to occupy a city campus, joining major cities like London, Paris and New York which all have established downtown campuses. Located in the hearth of the city within the historic and cultural district of Singapore, 4.5-hectare urban campus has six buildings.[1]

Singapore Management University was ranked 65th worldwide by The University of Texas at Dallas Top 100 Worldwide Business School Ranking.
[1] National Heritage Board

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