Source: CNA

The merger of Yale-NUS College (YNC) and the University Scholars Programme (USP) will not have any implications on any of the current and future partnerships that Singapore has, said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing in Parliament on Monday (13 Sep).

According to Mr Chan, the decision to announce the merger of YNC and the USP was discussed and jointly determined by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Yale University.

As to why the current students and staff were not consulted on the merger, Mr Chan noted that “NUS did not do so because the decision involved discussions between the senior leadership of two universities, and with their respective boards, on sensitive issues of strategy and finance”.

“Instead, NUS, once having settled the broad parameters, wanted to give maximum time for the transition to occur and for the stakeholders to be involved in working through the transition issues,” he added.

Following this, the Workers’ Party (WP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Sengkang GRC He Ting Ru asked what other options and alternatives that were considered prior to the merger decision, and why weren’t they taken.

Ms He further questioned, “Secondly, what do you feel on the future possible tie-ups and also some of our existing tie-ups — for example, Duke-NUS?”

“There’s a certain expression given that even though we might approach other parties for similar collaborations in the future, will we then suddenly decide that actually we’ve had enough, we’ve benefitted enough, we’re gonna forge ahead. So, I think that really ties into our academic standings and reputation,” she argued.

In response, Mr Chan cited NUS President Tan Eng Chye who said in his op-ed piece that there were various options to consider but the most important thing is to remember what were the guiding considerations in deciding on any of the options.

The Minister went on to explain two guiding considerations for the merger decision – to create a more able and global generation of students, as well as to ensure a more inclusive, affordable, and accessible experience.

Mr Chan added that the best way to achieve both of the aforementioned objectives is to combine YNC and the USP.

As for Ms He’s second question, the Minister said that Singapore is in the process of building up new partnerships with other universities around the world.

However, Mr Chan asserted that Singapore must also “bring value to other people” in such partnerships, adding that “we cannot just copy on the basis that they are better for us”.

He continued, “Even when we try to learn from others, we must be prepared to and be confident to chart out our own way to have our own unique value propositions. And that is how we will continue to go forward.

“So, at this point in time, I don’t think this partnership, coming to its natural checkpoint, will have any implications for any of the other partnerships that we are in or exploring with others.”


Also read: Yale Wasn’t Consulted On Closure Of Yale-NUS Or Merger With NUS: Yale Daily News

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