Govt Support + Reputable “Branded” School = Success?
It’s never that simple.
University of New South Wales Singapore campus to shut in June
By Pearl Forss, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 23 May 2007 1715 hrs
SINGAPORE: The University of New South Wales (UNSW) will close its campus in Singapore next month.
The announcement came less than two months after its grand opening.
The school said it was facing a financial shortfall of $15 million a year due to lower-than-anticipated student enrolment numbers.
Its target was 300 students in its first semester.
But it only got 148 students, 100 of whom are Singaporeans.
If it were to continue building its campus in Changi, it would have to borrow $140 million.
The school said both factors led to an unsustainable financial burden and it decided to call it quits in Singapore.
Students have already paid their fees, which range between S$26,000 and S$29,000 a year.
UNSW says these students will be offered a place at its home campus in Sydney.
There will also be scholarships to help with the cost of travel and accommodation.
UNSW has already invested over S$22 million (A$17.5 million) in its Singapore campus.
It was invited by Singapore’s Economic Development Board in 2004 to establish what would have been the first private comprehensive university in Singapore.
The EDB had said the school was expected to contribute at least $500 million a year to the economy in direct spending.
The EDB refuses to reveal how much it invested in the school.
The episode is clearly damaging to Singapore’s aim to be a global schoolhouse.
But the EDB, which drives the global schoolhouse initiatives, believes it will still reach its target of attracting 150,000 international students by 2015.
There are currently 80,000 foreign students in Singapore.
Aw Kah Peng, EDB’s Assistant Managing Director, said: “The learning point is that we have to continue working very hard. Truly, with every institution, it will be different. With each one, we have to put everything we can to think about all these issues of whether we can make it work, how long it will take for us to make it work, what will it take for us to make it work. We will then have to step forward on that basis.”
UNSW says it would have stayed on in Singapore if it has been allowed to scale down its student enrolment numbers to 2,000 students by 2012.
But this would be quite far from the original bargain with the EDB which had set a target of 15,000 UNSW students by 2020.
The UNSW closure does not mean that the EDB will no longer work with the school.
The EDB says there are many areas of cooperation between UNSW and Singapore which are mutually beneficial.
These include foundation schooling for university entry, research collaborations, University of New South Wales school competitions and joint programmes with Singapore institutions.
EDB says it will continue to pursue these areas and strengthen its relationship with UNSW. – CNA/ir
At least the John Hopkins’ deal lasted 8 years. With UNSW lasting less than 1 year, it’s just seems kinda … fishy.
But then again, in Singapore, fishy is normal I guess.
– Another one closes by takchek (May 24, 2007)
– EDB’s funding for B-standard education a big flop for UNSW by Singapore Election Watch (May 24, 2007)
– EDB’s refusal to disclose lost UNSW money is an outrage by Chee Soon Juan (May 24, 2007)
– Straits Times blames UNSW for it’s own failure by Straits Times via Singapore Election Watch (May 24, 2007)
– EDB, MOE hiding from truth by Today via via Singapore Election Watch (May 24, 2007)
– Uncle Now Study Where by mrbrown (May 25, 2007)
– TVD’s Picks: UNSW Asia Wants Out by TVD (May 25, 2007)