Republic Poly revokes seats of 16 students on first day of school due to “discrepancies”; family members of devastated students incensed


16 Republic Polytechnic (RP) students, who received their acceptance letter to the institution of higher learning months prior, were devastated when they turned up for their first day at school yesterday and were told that their places at the polytechnic had been revoked.

RP later admitted that these students did not meet the grades cut off point required for admission and were sent acceptance letters due to administration errors.

One of these students, Miss Hou, told the Chinese daily that she received the acceptance letter two months ago, in February. Miss Hou had gone through the entire enrolment process, including medical check-ups, and had even received her RP student card more than one month ago.

However, her hopes and dreams of undertaking the Human Resource Management with Psychology course at the polytechnic in Woodlands came crashing down when she was summoned to the staff office on her first day of school and told that her place was revoked since her O-Level scores did not meet the course’s cut off point.

When contacted by reporters, RP’s registrar Shanmugasundar W said:

“We apologise to Ms Hou for the mistake we made in evaluating her application to Republic Polytechnic (RP), which resulted in her placement in the polytechnic being withdrawn on her first day of school.
RP has worked with Ms Hou to secure her a place in ITE. She has since matriculated into ITE College West’s Higher Nitec in Accounting course. We wish her all the best in her studies.”

Unfortunately, Ms Hou was not the only student affected by RP’s mistake. 15 other students from various other courses were subjected to the same shock of their places being revoked yesterday.

Shanmugasundar acknowledged that RP discovered “discrepancies in the submitted and actual examination / CCA grades of 15 other students during verification checks before the semester started”. He revealed that revoking their places was done out of “fairness to other unsuccessful applicants”.

The registrar added that 9 out of the 16 affected students have accepted alternative placements, with assistance from RP. The rest are either pending acceptance or planning to retake their O-Levels. The school has also reportedly refunded enrolment fees paid by the students.

Shanmugasundar promised that RP will “improve processes to ensure that similar errors would not recur” but declined to answer whether the mistake was made by staff or technological systems. He also declined to answer what measures the school will initiate to ensure that such errors would not re-occur.

Family members of the affected students have been understandably incensed by the incident. Parents and siblings of the affected students have revealed on social media that the affected students were inconsolable that they would not get to study at RP after they had been excited to start their journey at the school, having gone through the enrolment process and orientation:

Netizens also chimed in, angered at the “unkind and ungracious” manner RP chose to handle the matter, especially when young teenagers are the ones affected:


  1. Whose responsibility?
    One moment on cloud nine and the next to the deepest black hole.
    Can they feel the hurt of these children? Can’t the school do something? At least give them the chance if by 6 months no improvement then ask them to look for other courses.

  2. This is terrible. I don’t think anyone will complain much if these students were allowed to stay on condition that they have to maintain a certain level of grades or be asked to leave. At least then they will know what is truly at stake n up to them to prove their worth. This incident only goes to show in sg, nothing matters except tick-off boxes. Inflexible, unfeeling and this is the kind of educational institution that will fail to prove its own worth.

    • Jason Poh nothing in life is fair. Even in JCs back then there are appeal cases where the marks didn’t meet cut off points but the principal accepted them and these students went on to prove themselves. So? If everything is so black n white we get no where. We keep telling children psle scores not important. Then suddenly o level points determine a student potential? What’s 16 spots? Then what about those A level kids whose Cambridge papers went missing? Should everyone be up in arms n scream unfair and everyone should take the whole exams again? In uni, plenty of smart grades but not all can get into medical course or whatever popular in that year. We r mature enough to know life is such. Same score doesn’t mean same outcome. These kids didn’t cheat to get in. It was a mistake and so we should make a positive outcome from it rather than dig our feet in screaming unfair unfair. Like I said, it won’t be a free pass but to let them stay on based on scores aggregate to stay on might be a way out? At least it proves they have the potential to excel and not just because they fk up o level n that’s it.

    • Pauline Tay Here they are trying hard to brainwashed our next generations to be a yes man. No question ask. Just follow orders. Even when ship is sinking,just follow their orders. No compromise. No disobedient. Hmmm. Mentality like robots. Cant understand why cant they just take this 16 students. WHY? After all they still got nothing to lose. The students are not on scholarships. Still have to pay school fees right?

    • Iman Goyang minus first 30 pioneering years… I think the recent 20yrs, plenty of damage already done to mindset n spirit in current gen, ..

      what differentiate us from robot / A.I? The ability to think differently, react accordingly to situation. The Mgmt at RP simply missed the chance to show what being “educators” truly meant. To your question what can they lose? They probably just want to cover backside so no one can “complain” and they can wave the “I follow the rule book” flag. Some people may say this is following rules, I think it’s cowardly, lacking trust n big vision in these 16 youngster to do good. We can only hope in 10 years time, someone will rem these 16 youngsters n hopefully they will prove RP what a huge mistake they made to throw them into the deep sea without a float. We can only wish these kids all the best. I can imagine the emotional beating of given such a false hope…. sigh.

  3. Once accepted RP cannot rescind it’s offer. It’s a breach of agreement. It’s liable to be sued for deception. Let all 16 students in. If the fail their exams then off they go. They should be given a chance to proof to themselves & to RP & the world.
    Many occasions I had seen students did badly in the “O” levels but did very well in poly & uni.
    By just refunding their fees isn’t enough. How to compensate for their psychological distress? They even Went for all the grants & orientation & all books of materials bought.
    Pay all 16 students $1mil each as compensation. Let them choose where else they want to go. If they remain in RP do not marginalize them or another law suit will follow!

  4. Moral of the story…if qualified dont apply this poly. Go to other poly. Boikot this poly. WTF. Poly should honour the place already given. What so great about cut off points. Already made mistake,should just let the student(only 16) continue study there and gives warning that they must pass their 1st year assessment. If fail no chance be given. Everybody happy. You happy,I happy.

  5. I thought the courses you’re eligible for is indicated in the form. How did those with more than 26 points managed to apply for a polytechnic course? If it’s a case of not meeting the cut-off, that’s at least understandable. It seems to me that there’s some serious errors in the Joint Admission Exercise.

  6. Unless the students have suppress information, there is no reason for RP to rescind the offer. They have made the mistake and should honour it as letters of acceptance already given. If this is the way of doing thing, nobody will trust letters send out by government bodies in future.

  7. These kind of things happen all the times in Singapore now a day. They simply later said sorry and regret what happen, and basically don’t care. They still move on with their life. You see anyone in the RP get punish for this? Or get fire?

  8. A really bad decision and judgement call by the senior management of Republic Polytechnic (RP). Where is their accountability and responsibility for the mistake THEY have made in accepting these 16 students in the first place?

    Is this symptomatic of what’s wrong with our system, with our government? Whereby Ministers and those higher up are not held accountable for the many mistakes they have made?

    Talking about being fair, it isn’t fair for RP to tell these students that they have now been “unaccepted” because of a mistake on RP’s part. On their first day of school?! Unbelievable. Is this really what we want to teach our young people? To be so cold, so heartless, so calculating? – “Oh sorry for our mistake, but you did not meet the cut off points. Our bad. But out you go.”

    What will be fair is for RP to take responsibility for THEIR OWN mistake and let these 16 students stay on in RP and prove themselves.

    Give them a conditional acceptance – that if they fail their first year exams, they will only be allowed to repeat their first year once. And if they fail the second time around, then they will have to leave.

    Now, that is being fair. It will give the right message to all concerned – that RP is a responsible and caring educational institution, that their students are given a second chance to prove themselves, and that their dreams can come true through grit, determination and hard work!


  10. Peter Tay, Michael Boey meanwhile I’m sure there are many PRC, India and other foreign students who happily got their place in the school. And I wonder what actions will the affected Singaporean students take against the school or the ministry? In fact will they take any actions at all? Singaporeans are used to suffering in silence.