It was a closed door session but the discussions were open and spirited – no issue was off the table and so a range of topics were talked about: like late start times for classes, longer study breaks for exams and of course, the perennial problem of Internet speeds in RP.
When asked what measures will be implemented to ensure a more stable connection for students in the paperless campus, Senior Director (Corporate Services) Mr Eric Teo said: “The Internet browsing experience is dependent on four factors, namely the laptop, the strength of the RP network, the quality of the Internet service provider, and the website being accessed.
“RP has no control over the last two factors but we are continually improving our network bandwidth – and will continue to do so, but with constrained resources,” said Mr Teo who added that 17,000 people access the network on various devices.
RP Principal Yeo Li Pheow urged students to use the Internet for the right purpose and said that there were students tapping on the RP network for personal viewing.
“It becomes clogged at lunch break when so many students are watching their own stuff and trying to download information at the same time. If you want a better network accessibility, you must reduce the surfing of entertainment websites,” said Mr Yeo adding that every day 10,000 RJs are uploaded at 2359 with no issue because no one is streaming.
Students however said it was very frustrating to upload lesson activities or do research for final presentations. The response: the management is doing all it can. “I understand the frustration on the ground. We will work to ensure that student experience and cybersecurity are both addressed,’’ said Mr Yeo.
Mr Yeo also took the trouble to explain that security threats are a big issue – not just for RP but for Singapore and the new Internet security system might be inconvenient but absolutely necessary to protect data and the system itself.
Another bugbear discussed was a request for classes scheduled at 8.30am to be pushed back to 9am in order to accommodate students who lived far away from campus.
On the matter, the RP management stated surveys are conducted every year on incoming students to see where they reside. The results show most students live near MRT stations which makes travelling to school more convenient for these students. The 8.30am start time was also later when compared to secondary school start times.
A few of the other affairs discussed at the dialogue were the eligibility of scholarships for international students, RP’s infrastructure and the newly introduced LifeSkills module for year ones.