Thursday, March 24, 2005

CCA point sytem for NTU hostel allocation.

Sounds pretty serious hor, haha, it's something I posted up in NTU student union forums. Here's the full excerpt.

Citing personal experiences here, I'm sorry if I offend anyone. Sorry for the long post. Had to get this off my chest (at everyone else's expense, hehe)

1. NTU CCA fair: Clubs and school events use hall points as the main attraction and incentive for joining their clubs. When I was a freshie, I was under the general impression that hall points is very important and difficult to earn in order to secure a hostel room. The very first event that the freshies in my batch were 'conned' to participate in was the NTUSU flag day (Unslashable points!). The subsequent CCA fair became a simple choice of which club offers more points (an analogy would be which job offers higher salary).

2. While juggling an IVP/hall sub-comm/misc. clubs' sub-coms, I became calculative in dividing my time amongst the various commitments based purely on the amount of points I get. During that time I would simply compare it with the amount of work proportional to the amount of salary received. I did reasonably good work though, driven by a sense of responsibility of getting things done. However, I lost the passion for the things I really wanted to do. Passion means devotion to your interest, without it, life in NTU would feel so emotionless. I only realised this after my juniors quit a club I was in, saying that the club didn't offer them enough points to stay in the hall. "Not worth the time" was the phrase stuck in my mind.

3. For those who stayed, they didn't feel that their points were justified. A junior who had perfect rehearsal attendence continuously for a full semester in a music CCA and performed, earning only 2 performance points on top of a basic 7 member points. Whereas his roommate got the same amount of points by jotting his name into IBG namelist despite not appearing for the actual games. If not for the seniors who transferred their points to him, he wouldn't even qualify for the registration for hall application. Anyway I decided to stick to only 2 CCAs after that which were to my interests.

So it all boils down to this. 1. Influencing the freshies into thinking materialistically about hall points. 2. Differing priorities in joiing CCAs ( I wouldn't say that their thinking is wrong, they are entitled to whatever they want to believe). 3. Unfair allocation of hall points (not to mention all the underground manipulation that's going on).

Points I'd like to raise.

- there are 'part-time' students in NTU, namely students who spend more time in lotsa different CCAs than on their studies just to stay in halls (talk about skewed priorities).

- Students who stay far and yet can't get a hostel room (opt out in year one) will find it hard to participate in enough CCAs for points due to travelling time and expenses.

- The point system is not all bad, first, it ensures participation in clubs which is not interest based (ie, various school sub-coms), and it does give recognition to students who invests their precious studying time into other school activities. And final year students do get an extra 20 points from their IA for hostel application. It couldn't be helped that demand outstrips hostel rooms available and an allocation system had to be in place.

- Though deemed underhanded, we should be allowed to transfer points. This is applicable to most final year students and those who participate in CCAs and yet chose not to stay in hall. It's our points anyway. Maybe we can pool the 'excess' points and redistribute based on peer appraisal within the club? (couldn't think of another method)

What could be done here is reviewing the current system and have a fairer point allocation. If possible have a hybrid of the point system and others, i.e. distance based (10km from NTU = +15 points), peer appraisals (contributions made in a committee for example), attendence (i.e. 95-100% = +10 points), awards or medals (i.e. gold = +20) etc.

So there, end of the long post.

Here are other interesting points and quotes raised in the thread.

A few flaws in the system are basically:

1. Existence of the Recommendation List
This list of about 120 places enables political games to be played in the Halls. This list is basically a free tool for those in command, which can be used to hold those who do not have enough points 'hostage'. On the other hand, these 'hostages' know too that they need to get into the list and therefore, it creates a bunch of people who goes by flattering those in command.

2. Poor check and balance mechanism for abuse
The PAS is open to abuse. Points from activities (IHG, IHRG, IBG, IBRG) can be transferred at will by those in power and given to whom they like.

3. Gap between people with a lot of points and people with few points
Statistically, the halls that requires the highest number of points are at a level almost twice the GCP. This means, there are some few hogging all the points in order to get into these 'top halls', while the rest are left to pick up the bits, thus meeting only the GCP, or worse, not even able to. It creates a situation where there exist a gap between those who are heavily involved (whether or not they are dedicated) and those who cannot get in due to the lack of opportunities.

4. Unfair distribution of benefits
With reference to the Recommendation List, there are some which uses it to ensure that certain people (e.g. block representatives) stay even though they had not contributed much. On the other hand, the system iteself, while having things like an IVP scheme, does not allow the IVP players to select and guarentee a place in the hall of their choice. This creates an uneven distribution of the system benefits, as it is supposed to benefit those who are more active (and supposedly contribute more) to the university as a whole.


Indicators which we might want to employ for testing the quality of life in NTU.

Academic Standing - ability in expressing theorectical knowledege and performing specialized tasks concerning various disciplines. We shouldn't be talking about grades here because we should be competing with rival universities, not among ourselves (i.e. an 'A' for an NTU module may not be equivalent to an 'A' for a similar NUS module).

Financial Standing - Scores inherent from Academic Standing. The better skilled you are, the more recognized your faculty will be, the more valuable your NTU degree. On the other hand, being able to generate income for oneself while still schooling adds on to this rating. Generally speaking, if the university provides the environment for the recycling of wealth, then it can be said to be operating on an efficient financial model. Currently, you are complaining about the raising of school fees. That explains something, doesn't it?

Cultural Standing - Refering to CCAs (sports, arts, recreational activities). It is usually difficult to rate one University against another whether looking at the macro or micro aspects. Macro aspect being the number of activities and group achievements, micro aspect being the number of participants, rate of attendance, personal growth/achievements. I'm more interested in the micro aspects because that it how we measure personal growth. You join an ECA in NTU, you learn more than you would joining a similar ECA in NUS - that's what we want to achieve (trainer-centered vs player centered).

Social Standing - Ultimately, the university is to nurture pillars for our society. Everyday life in NTU constitutes the build-up to the rating. If you're influenced to cheat, lie, shirk responsibility and backstab others, you say 'oops, it was like that when I was in NTU', good, we take some points off this rating. If NTU Halls are found reeking of tobacco, alcohol and pornography, then we know how much to rate NUS in turn. If the NTU environment is right for incubating male-female relationships, then our youth couples will form strong bonds and subsequently strong family units, procreate and serve the nation with a strong purpose... then I say full marks to this rating - that's what the government wants.


If there's no logic in gaining CCA pts, why do we see so many pple taking up more CCAs than they can cope with, and attending them half-heartedly because they r only there for the points...

Wow, 3rd long post today. =)


Anonymous said...

Very good info you got there... I'm a freshie too and kinda curious how these points work. Sad isn't it? squabbling, politicking in the halls instead of focusing on studies and live up NTU's name above the rest.
Yupz, those living far from NTU should have some priorities ... ain't it fair to decide the points straightforward instead of haggling in the black market?

Anonymous said...

you did mention the point. well said, man!