Singapore Universities Cancel Hong Kong Exchange Programmes After MFA Advisory
Students from Singapore’s 3 public universities will not go to Hong Kong on exchange programmes for the time being.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU), National University of Singapore (NUS), and Singapore Management University (SMU) told students through email that their exchange programmes to Hong Kong would be cancelled.
This comes after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) published a travel advisory on 16 Aug warning Singaporeans to not go to the special administrative region unless necessary.
Exchange programmes are an example of non-essential travel.
The ongoing protests in Hong Kong have threatened to erupt in violence recently.
When the airport became a scene for demonstrations which turned violent, the MFA and universities decided the situation there had become unsafe.
Students left without classes as they didn’t enroll
The sudden cancellation has left students without classes because modules are usually selected before the start of the semester, and the semester in local universities have already begun.
Both NTU and NUS started classes on 12 Aug while SMU started theirs on 19 Aug.
Students who talked to TODAYOnline say their main concern is regarding their classes, with one from SMU advised to attend classes while the university sorts out their timetables.
Cancellations unfortunate, but safety comes first
The universities were apparently going to do their best to ensure students’ safety in Hong Kong amid the unrest, according to a report by The New Paper on 6 Aug. Most of the students were going to travel there despite the protests.
However, Hong Kong’s issues with mainland China have gone beyond the original reasons for the protests and there might not be a peaceful solution any time soon.
The violence at the airport that took place on 12 and 13 Aug also makes the situation increasingly unsafe for Singaporeans, and so it is better to be safe than sorry.
Hopefully, the affected students manage to eventually sort out their classes for the semester without their grades suffering.
Featured image adapted from Facebook.