Singapore

No lack of free study spaces, yet many willing to pay

Pay-per-use study areas have sprung up in recent years


Over the past two years, pay-per-use study areas have sprung up in Singapore.

Much like co-working spaces, they offer amenities like Wi-Fi and access to power points - but are targeted at the student budget.

For an average of $1 an hour, students can choose to stay as long as they like. Some are even open 24 hours a day.

It is an entrepreneurial solution to an issue that has long hogged headlines here during exam season - students depriving customers of seats at cafes and fast-food restaurants while they revise there.

Still, some wonder whether forking out around $10 a day is too much to pay for a space to study.

Free study spaces abound here. Most universities and polytechnics keep their doors open during revision season. Some schools and junior colleges even offer night study programmes.

And neighbourhood libraries and community centres also offer free space.

So it is perhaps not so much the shortage of these spaces that has convinced some to pay for such facilities, but rather the unhealthy Singapore spirit of "kiasu-ism" and the tendency to "chope" resources.

The Singaporean practice of revising intensely for exams has become so prevalent that it has even earned its own moniker - "mugging".

But if we are serious about the push to transform our students from paper-chasers into problem-solvers and creative thinkers in the future, then the need to selfishly reserve free spaces to "mug" should be lower if assessments involve less regurgitation of content and more practical work.

This does not mean that study areas, whether free or paid, will become obsolete.

Instead, they should evolve, becoming community spaces that encourage networking, collaboration on hands-on projects and the exchange of ideas between both students and working adults.

SingaporeUniversityPolytechnic