Archive for May, 2007

What Entails Success?

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

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

John Hopkins’: The Experiment that failed
July 25, 2006

John Hopkins'

More:

Related readings and articles

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.

Related Chatter:

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)

Financial Readings

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Where blogs are concerned, I’ve been mainly following two blogs:

    (1) Get Rich Slowly
    (2) I will teach you to be rich

Both blogs provide advice concerning finances. Get Rich Slowly has a more down to earth, person next door tone, with a more ‘low-cost living’ kinda approach. I will teach you to be Rich has a more arrogant tone, as seen by the title itself, but nevertheless, shares valuable day-to-day advice which proves quite true.

While all these are helpful, the target audience for these blogs are americans, and so some of the advice given only benefit americans.

For those interested in learning more about investments, there are two sites that have been recommended, to read up on: Morning Star and Fool’s School.

Recently, while being lead from one blog to another via links, I happen to come across some local blogs providing financial advices. It’s always nice to have a general idea of what and how to invest and deal with your finances, and when you hear familar terms like CPF instead of Roth IRA, it just makes you feel more at home:

    (A) Salary.sg
    (B) Qotion
    (C) Five cents ten cents
    (D) Tan Kian Lian

Salary.sg has a tagline: ‘All about Income, Jobs, Career, and Investment in Singapore‘. It’s a relatively new blog, and it still has room to grow. It has some interesting tidbits on it currently.

Qotion is suppose to be a portal for information concerning credit cards. I haven’t found much use for it yet, but maybe it might be useful one day.

Five cents Ten cents talks about alternatives, like borrowing from the national library instead of buying, bringing a bottle of water around which keeps you hydrated, and saves you from buying one too many soda, and stuff like that.

The last one was obtained through a link via Salary.sg. Apparently, Mr Tan Kian Lian, the retired CEO of NTUC Income blogs about finances on his blog. People send in their questions, and he answers them on his blog. He has also created a FAQ for commonly asked questions.

I wish I had resources like this when I was younger. They should teach financial stuff in school. It’s one of those things which will still be relevant long after they leave the school system. Stuff like these are so much more important then the mindless pursuits of paper.

Don’t get me wrong, paper can be beneficial if you know what to do with them. But getting one just because that’s what everyone else is doing really doesn’t help you in any way. These days, paper is no longer a guarantee to a cushioned life.

Anyhow, I guess it’s better late than never.

Update: Just stumbled across another blog called My Money Blog. This blog is interesting as the author uses himself as a real life example, giving step by step advice on how to manage your money, or more interestingly, how to make money (thousands) off credit cards! Dang, how I wish I was in the US. Although the concept is sound, the conditions do not exist in Singapore.