A Canadian exchange student recently shared on Facebook that he was not allowed to take the Chinese Language module at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University for being Chinese.
Canadian-born Chinese Derek Leung took to Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits to share his experiences from a few years ago.
Raised in Canada, Leung grew up not learning the Chinese language and was hoping to study it in Singapore. However, when he tried to apply for the module at NTU, the university’s Office of Academic Services sent him an email informing him that he was rejected because of his race.
In his post, he also wrote that he was rejected a second time when he tried to make an appeal with NTU’s course coordinator. The post, which generated thousands of reactions, sparked comments accusing NTU of discrimination.
Others, however, pointed out that the policy was put in place to ensure the system is not abused by those who take the course even with prior knowledge.
A spokesperson for NTU later clarified in a statement released to Mothership that Leung was rejected from taking the Chinese Language module back in 2015. According to the representative, NTU’s policy was updated in 2016 so that one’s race or nationality is no longer a consideration in language modules.
“We are sympathetic to Mr. Derek Leung, whose case happened in 2015. The previous policy aimed to give opportunities to students to learn non-native languages,” the spokesperson said.
“Since 2016, ethnicity, race or nationality are no longer considered when signing up for language courses. The only requirement to a level-1 language course is that the student must not have any prior knowledge of that language, which they are required to declare when registering for the course. For admission to higher-level courses, students must sit for a placement test.”
Feature Image via Derek Leung