Memo #179 (Video)
Featuring Philip Holden – ellhpj [at] nus.edu.sg
The role of the university in Asia has changed over time. Many Asian universities were colonial institutions, and then incubators for nationalist thought. In contemporary Asia, they have key economic functions, attracting foreign students and research capital, often in state capitalist societies.
In the last ten to 15 years neoliberalism, marked by market-based structures of evaluation, governance, and public relations, has entered Singapore universities more quickly than in comparable institutions in North America or Europe. Yet in Singapore, these changes have resulted in the university’s social role becoming a matter of public concern.
Singapore has maintained confidence in the university as an indisputable public good, in contrast to the United Kingdom and the United States where fees have been increased and budgets cut at state universities. As Singapore universities gain greater international prominence, it is thus likely that their position will become more politically contentious, perhaps restoring them to the social prominence they occupied in the process of decolonization.
The Role of the University in Singapore (5:00 min)
Dr. Philip Joseph Holden – Professor, English Language & Literature, National University of Singapore.
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