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I WAS IN SINGAPORE AT THE END OF APRIL THIS YEAR (2008) AND MADE SURE TO SWING ROUND THROUGH THE COLLEGE AND STUDENT DISTRICT OF THE CITY, TO SEE WHAT NEW THINGS WERE HAPPENING. On my way back to my hotel on Changi Road in the surprisingly beautiful East Coast neighbourhood, in the cool respite of a convenience store, I picked up a copy of The Straits Times. On the front page of the edition (Friday, April 25) was a story by Tania Tan which I found interesting (A win-win tie-up for polys and businesses):
"Ten years ago, a software application was developed at Ngee Ann Polytechnic specifically to help its teaching staff keep track of student assignments and tests.
"A young businessman with his own start-up, using the software as a platform, worked with the polytechnic to create a suite of educational tools for teachers to create quizzes, grade assignments and track homework.
"That young man, Mr Yee Jenn Jong, is today the chief executive of AsknLearn which, together with help from the National University of Singapore, is now an online learning systems provider with an annual turnover of $7 million.
"He said of Ngee Ann's innovation: 'It was a godsend. The technology gave a young company like ours the edge we needed in the dotcom era.'
"Now part of India's largest education company, AsknLearn has clients hailing from more than 120 schools both here and in the region.
"Another innovation from a polytechnic here is flashing away in advertising billboards in Australia and Mexico.
"Touting everything from cars to soft drinks, these billboards are just as eye-catching as neon, without being as electricity-hungry.
"The product, the result of a tie-up between electrical engineers at the Singapore Polytechnic and local company Nejilock, has brought in over $100,000 in revenue for the company in its first year.
"Success stories like these have raised the profiles of the polytechnics, and the wherewithall to do more is starting to roll in.
"The high-level Research Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC) last month announced that polys will also get a cut of this year's $1 billion purse dangled before researchers to entice them to take the plunge into the business world.
"This is the first allotment for polys since the RIEC's inception in 2006. Universities and research institutes were the main beneficiaries of the two previous payouts..."

b o s t o n + o f + t h e + e a s t

A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO SINGAPORE ANNOUNCED THAT IT WANTED TO TRANSFORM ITSELF INTO THE "BOSTON OF THE EAST" -- THE ULTIMATE HIGHER EDUCATION CAPITAL OF ASIA. As the island nation's education minister Teo Chee Hean put it at the time, the goal was to develop Singapore into a "knowledge economy", a place in which "intellectual capital is a prized resource". Building up the nation's universities was central to the goal. As was attracting foreign students to study in Singapore -- up to 150,000 of them. Now, it should be noted here straight away that there are about 60 academic institutions enrolling close to 400,000 students in the Boston area, including such heavyweights as Harvard and MIT. Singapore has only five universities. So becoming the Boston of anywhere, even the "Boston of the East", is going to be no easy feat. Furthermore, Sinagpore faces some tough competition -- South Korea, Taiwan, China and Japan have all been investing heavily in the education sector. Ditto for Malaysia. Nonetheless, it must be conceded: Singapore has a pretty advanced educational infastructure, and is brimming with fine universities and centers of learning. One university, the National University of Singapore, was recently named the third best in Asia, just behind the legendary Tokyo University. On top of that, the island is a funky little high-tech tropical paradise and is a great place to study and live. That is what this website is about -- it is for people who want to study and live in Singapore. It aims to list the major tertiary educational facilities on the island, how to get in contact with them, and to chronicle the latest Singaporean education news. It will also give you some practical information about living in Singapore, such as dealing with the heat and humidity, how to go about finding a house or apartment, and touch upon the excellent dining and nightlife scene on the island.

But first, the obvious question: why study in Singapore? Looking for an answer, I turned to the Internet (or more specifically, Google.) Here is a random splattering of quotes I found on why Singapore is hot, from various websites:

++++ "Over the years, Singapore has evolved from its traditional British-based education system to one that endeavors to meet the needs of individuals and seeks to nurture talents. Now in the 21st century, where the knowledge-based economy is the driver in the global community, education has become even more critical in shaping Singapore's future. By being in Singapore, you will get a chance to be plugged into an education system that promotes excellence and be part of a progressive, cosmopolitan community..."

---- "The strength of Singapore's Education system lies in its bilingual policy (English and Mandarin) and a broad-based curriculum where innovation and entrepreneurship command a premium. Individuals acquire the relevant skills and abilities to survive in competitive environments, equipped for a brighter future...

++++ "The presence of such an international mix of institutions, a high quality and rigorous education system, and a nation that believes in investing in education, will together offer students here and all over the world, an enriching and fulfilling learning journey...

---- "With a GDP of S$160 billion in 2002, the island state though small in size and population (4 million people) has become a reputable financial centre, a key regional trading centre, the world's busiest port, and a top location for investment."

s i n g a p o r e + b a s i c s

FROM THE MOMENT YOU TOUCH DOWN AT SINGAPORE'S ASTOUNDING CHANGI AIRPORT, YOU KNOW YOU ARE SOMEWHERE DIFFERENT. What other airport in the world has a free cinema inside the transit area, as well as tropical gardens and swimming pools? In what other city will you find highways lined by miles and miles orchids and other beautiful flowers? It sure beats the urban nightmares of Tokyo and Bangkok!

Having said that, the place sure is hot! Singapore has a warm and humid climate all year-round, with temperatures ranging from 23 to 33 degrees centigrade. Sunshine is the norm, except when you are being battered with torrential rain (seemingly come out of nowhere!) Singapore's safety, low crime rates, and high standards of living are well renowned, offering international students an ideal environment for study. And when it's time to put away the books, a myriad of sports, entertainment, and other fascinating sights and sounds are available to relax your mind and fill your senses. With surprises awaiting you at every corner of the island, you'll never want to leave!

s i n g a p o r e + c o l l e g e s

AS STATED EARLIER THERE ARE FIVE MAIN PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES IN MALAYSIA, INCLUDING THE NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY, THE NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE, AND THE SINGAPORE MANAGEMENT UNIVERSITY. In 2007 a private university -- the University of New South Wales Asia -- will open on the island. In addition, the privately owned Singapore Institute of Management University opened in 2005, with 6500 students. All five of these universities are described below. Other tertiary institutions conferring graduate and postgraduate degrees are the Singapore Institute of Commerce, the PSB Academy, Informatics Holdings, INSEAD (Asia Campus) and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (Asia Campus) (source: Wikipedia.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU): . Phone: 603/7967 7022/3273. Fax: 603/7956 0027. Web: website here. Email: cco@um.edu.my.
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was ranked 48th globally by The Times Higher Education Supplement in the 2005 ranking of the world's best universities. Placed 26th among technology universities, NTU remains well within the upper echelons of the world's best science and tech universities. Which is exactly where it always wanted to be!
NTU has 4 colleges, comprising 12 schools. The College of Engineering, with six schools focused on technology innovation, enjoys wide renown and currently ranks fourth in the world in engineering publications. The College of Science is at the forefront of Singapore's life sciences and science initiatives, while the Nanyang Business School (which is the College of Business) offers one of the world's top 100 MBA programmes. On average, NBS' MBA graduates chalked up an increase of 110% in salary three years after graduation. Join the MBA revolution -- get your MBA at NBS! The College of Humanities and Arts boasts Singapore's first professional art school offering degree courses in art, design and interactive digital media, the Humanities and Social Science School, and the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, one of the best communication and information schools in Asia.
The 13th school, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, will be inaugurated in 2007. An important component of this autonomous school is the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, long recognised as a world authority on terrorism.
NTU is also home to the internationally-acclaimed National Institute of Education, Singapore's only teacher-training institute.
The 200-ha residential campus, located in the south-western part of Singapore, was originally developed by the Chinese community for a Chinese language university, Nanyang University in 1955. The university was established with donations from people from all walks of life and of all ethnicities in the region. In 1981, Nanyang Technological Institute was established on this campus to educate engineers for the rapidly developing Singapore economy. In 1991, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) was inaugurated and in April 2006, NTU was corporatised as an autonomous university.
Focused on grooming global leaders ready for success in the high-tech economy of the 21st century, NTU launched The New Undergraduate Experience in 2003 to provide students a strong, broad academic foundation, professional preparation, global immersion and an unforgettable campus experience. While NTU's broad-based education that covers science and technology, business and the arts, entrepreneurial and leadership skills, prepare students for the global working world, its students also hone their leadership skills through residential living and self-governance. Not surprisingly, graduates of the university are sought-after and well-paid.
Strong international relationships and collaboration programmes is also a hallmark of the university. This includes the Singapore-MIT Alliance, Singapore-Stanford Partnership, Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, Singapore-University of Washington Alliance in Bioengineering and in Financial Engineering with Carnegie Mellon University. NTU has also in place Global Immersion Programmes (GIP) with Peking University, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, University of Washington and Georgia Institute of Technology, universities in France, Sweden, Switzerland, and soon, India. GIP, which offers an exceptional multi-country experience of language, culture, industry and entrepreneurship, will cover 13 cities in five countries by 2006.

National University of Singapore (NUS): 21 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Singapore 119077.
Phone: (65)6516 6666. Web: website here. Email: qsmanager@nus.edu.sg.
Image copyright NUS The National University of Singapore (NUS) was recently named one of the top three global universities in Asia and Australasia by international magazine Newsweek. Worldwide, NUS is now ranked in 31st place.
NUS President Professor Shih Choon Fong said that the latest ranking was in recognition of the University's pursuit of global excellence in education and research, which is attributed to our culture of imagination, openness and courage. "This is a call to further raise Singapore's reputation and visibility in the global education landscape," he added.
NUS has 13 faculties offering a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. It also enjoys a close teaching-research nexus with 13 national-level, 12 university-level and 80 faculty-based research institutes and centres. These include a music conservatory. Currently, it has five overseas colleges at major entrepreneurial hubs in Silicon Valley, Bio Valley, Shanghai, Stockholm and Bangalore. A total of 22,000 undergraduate and more than 6,000 graduate students from 80 countries are enrolled at the university.
The NUS degree is internationally recognised... the highest degree conferred by the university being the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). Other courses include Dentistry, Electronic Commerce, Environmental Management, Law, and Public Management. NUS also provides special programmes with leading international tertiary institutions like MIT, Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins.
Together with the with the Singapore Management University [SMU], NSU has a student exchange program with the Nanyang Technological University [NTU. Each university may send up to 20 students annually for one semester at the other two universities.
I m an indian & i ve applied for an undergraduate course in NSU,singapore.how to send bank DD?

Singapore Management University (SMU): 81 Victoria Street, Singapore 188065.
Phone: (65)6828 0100. Web: website here.
This is one of the newest universities in Singapore, riding on the back of the island nation's plans to become an educational superpower. One of the biggest guns in SMU's arsenal is its MBA Master of Business Administration programme. SMU Dean Professor Pang Eng Fong wrote on the university's website: "Asia needs leaders and entrepreneurs. If you would like to be one, I recommend you consider the SMU MBA, the cornerstone postgraduate programme of Singapore Management University...
"Our MBA programme is unique in several ways. First, it emphasises management and leadership training. Such expertise is often cited as the most valuable training one can get from an MBA programme and sought by most companies but is often left in the shadow of MBA curricula. Second, to make the most of in-class time, basic finance and accounting concepts are studied prior to starting the programme. This ensures fuller in-class discussion and a solid basis to start this accelerated MBA. The full support we provide gets everyone up-to-speed before you begin."
Also from the university website: "Today, SMU is home to over 3,800 students and comprises four schools: Lee Kong Chian School of Business, School of Accountancy, School of Economics & Social Sciences and School of Information Systems. With respect to the development of the School of Information Systems, IT-renowned Carnegie Mellon University is playing a strategic partnership role in conjunction with SMU.
"SMU offers bachelor's degree programmes in Business Management, Accountancy, Economics, Information Systems Management and Social Science. The university offers master's degree programmes in Wealth Management, Applied Finance, Professional Accounting, Applied Economics and in Economics and Finance (by research). The university will continue to introduce new master's programmes and there will also be development of a university-wide PhD programme. SMU also has a dedicated Office of Research and provides public and customised programmes through Executive Education.
"Formerly occupying Singapore's historical Bukit Timah campus, the university has recently moved into its permanent campus right in the heart of Singapore. The new state-of-the-art 4.5 hectare campus, located in the civic district of the city, will support the university's eventual 6,500 undergraduates, along with students in its future graduate programmes."

University of New South Wales Asia (UNSWAsia): Changi.
Yeah, I know it, I know it. UNSW Asia doesn't exist anymore. It existed for a couple of months in 2007, before it was closed due to a lack of interested students. So why I am keeping this entry on my website? It is because UNSW Asia deserves to be part of the historical record, because it started something, a trend which is right now developing into a tradition. I am speaking of course about the Australian university invasion of Singapore. As the Straits Times reported (and I got this story via Beautiful Monster): "WHAT a difference a year makes. This time last year, polytechnic graduate Sharmaine Rose, 20, was worried about finding a university or private school to further her education.
"She had been offered a place by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Singapore and even paid up her first-year fees. She was due to start on her business degree studies in August.
"But in May came the shock announcement of the closure of UNSW Asia. The Australian university said it was pulling out of Singapore after just three months, citing poor demand from the region.
"Students like Ms Sharmaine, who could not afford to transfer to UNSW's Sydney campus, were left scrambling for another local university or private institution that would take them in.
"She found a place at the Singapore branch of another Australian university, the James Cook University (JCU). But at the back of her mind, she wondered if it too would pull out if enrolment fell.
"She need not have worried. JCU Singapore, which started five years ago with 50 students, soon faced the opposite problem of having to find a bigger site when its student numbers swelled to 1,200. It was occupying six floors of the Spring Singapore building in Bukit Merah.
"It is moving to a new 18,500 sq m campus in Upper Thomson Road next week, offering students more and bigger teaching rooms, as well as sports facilities. It expects to have 3,500 students by 2012.
"Said Ms Sharmaine, who is looking forward to the new academic year in the new campus: 'Looks like UNSW had it wrong. It said Asian students will not want to come to Singapore to enrol in Australian university programmes. But look at how James Cook has grown. And there are other Australian universities coming in as well.'
"She was referring to the Curtin University of Technology, which announced in March that it had partnered Australian education company Navitas to set up a campus here. The venture will be financed to the tune of $40 million.
"The Perth-based university will occupy the former Institute of Technical Education campus in Balestier and start offering business degree courses to over 1,000 students before the end of the year.
"It hopes to add more programmes including mass communications, nursing, engineering and design modules and enrol up to 5,000 students eventually.
"Another Australian institution, the University of Adelaide, which operates out of Ngee Ann Kongsi's Tank Road premises, intends to double its intake to 900 by next year.
"And Perth-based Murdoch University, which has been offering degree programmes at the Singapore Manufacturers' Federation's (SMa) School of Management premises in North Bridge Road, has spent $1 million to set up an international study centre there.
"It said the number of Singaporeans doing its degree courses here has increased sharply from just 22 in 2004 to more than 1,000 and it plans to double this by the end of next year.
"Dr Dale Anderson, chief executive officer of JCU Singapore, is not surprised at the increasing presence of Australian institutions here.
"'Like James Cook University, they clearly recognise the viability of Singapore in attracting students from around the world,' he said, revealing that his university had spent about $5 million so far on its new campus but was confident of growing its enrolment.
"'We have had to hold back on launching some new programmes and taking in more students because of the lack of space. But now we can go ahead and add more programmes and students.'
"Mr Rod Jones, executive director of Navitas, said: 'We are a publicly-listed company so we did our homework before venturing here. There is a shortage of higher education opportunities for students in the region and Curtin will provide a good opportunity for them.'
"He also pointed out that UNSW Asia had aimed to be a research-intensive university which is expensive to maintain.
"Curtin will focus instead on teaching and learning, which will enable it to keep its costs low and charge students lower fees than in Perth.
"Murdoch's deputy vice-chancellor (Faculty, Enterprise & International) Gary Martin said the Singapore centre is the third such overseas facility for Murdoch, after Dubai and Tokyo. The target is for the Singapore centre to enrol 2,000 students in three years' time.
"He believes that with Murdoch's promise to deliver high quality programmes, the Singapore centre will easily meet the target.
"'Singaporeans as well as foreign students want quality. Courses delivered at the Singapore centre are the same as courses offered at the Murdoch campuses in Perth,' he said...

p o l y t e c h n i c s & o t h e r - i n s t i t u t i o n s


Singapore Polytechnic (SPI): 500 Dover Road, Singapore 139651. Phone: 604/646 3687. Fax: 604/646 2473. Email: info@fris.edu.my. Web: website here.
Singapore Polytechnic International Pte Ltd (SPI) was set up in 2004 as a wholly owned subsidiary by Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to offer SP's brand of technology-based education to countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
According to the Institute: "SP has over 50 years of history training technologists and professionals who are intimately linked to the various phases in the growth and development of Singapore. It has evolved and changed over the years in tandem with the evolution of the Singapore economy from a low-tech, high labour-intensive manufacturing base to high-tech, knowledge-based and capital-intensive economy today. Our vast knowledge and experience gained over the last fifty years can be used to train technologists who are able to create products and services to support the growth of the Asia-Pacific economies."
Currently there are 16,000 full-time and part-time students, about 10% of whom are from countries in the region, pursuing a total of 63 diploma and post-diploma courses in its Schools of Business, Chemical and Life Sciences, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Design and the Environment, Media and Info-Communications Technology, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and the Singapore Maritime Academy. The prestigious Singapore Polytechnic Diploma is not only internationally recognised by employers but also by local and foreign universities.

s in g a p o r e + p o w e r h o u s e

Little India, Singapore, photo taken by Rob Sullivan Jan 2003 IN THE OCTOBER 2004 EDITION OF SINGAPORE BUSINESS REVIEW, DAMIEN DUHAMEL WROTE: "In less than 10 years, Singapore has made very significant inroads in the lucrative and strategic education sector, which accounts for about 2.2 percent of Singapore's GDP. (Ed.'s Note: The Government's goal is to reach five per cent.) It employs slightly more than 52,000 people and represents a total market worth about S$3.77 billion. Like the city of Boston in the US state of Massachusetts, Singapore is fast becoming a mecca for diplomas, degrees and higher education. In 1986, the Economic Committee led by then Minister of Trade Lee Hsien Loong identified education as one of the key service sectors to be promoted. Then, in 1998, the Economic Development Board (EDB) embarked on a plan to attract at least 10 world class institutions to Singapore within 10 years. Today that target has been exceeded. John Hopkins Singapore was set up in 1998 and INSEAD opened a US$60 million (S$102.8 million) campus in 2000 while the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (GSB) was the first leading US business school to have a permanent campus in Asia offering an executive MBA programme. The National University of Singapore (NUS) has partnered with Georgia Institute ofTechnology to set up the Logistics Institute Asia Pacific and its NUS Extension, which is geared towards fulfilling the tertiary needs of post-graduates and professionals, has also formed alliances with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and University of California, San Diego in the past year. There are even more projects in the pipeline. In April this year, the EDB announced that the University of New South Wales is to set up the first foreign private university in Singapore. The campus will open in 2007 and will have acapacity of 15,000 students. At the same time the Singapore Management University is building a new and much larger campus right in the city centre to cater to a boom in both local and overseas student applications. The new campus will have a capacity of about 8,000 students and is geared to open by the middle of next year. Singapore becoming a powerhouse in education services? If the continued stream of foreign students flocking in is anything to go by, we can only assume that Singapore must be doing something right. The country has made tremendous progress in attracting some of the region's top talent, with about 51,000 foreign students, and there are plans to double this figure by 2010. In contrast, the vast Australian continent only has about 150,000 overseas students. Growth year on year is reaching approximately six percent and a recent study completed by Synovate Business Consulting indicates that it will accelerate post 2005 to reach 10 percent. It is clear that Singapore will eventually have the potential to cater to more than 150,000 full fee paying students. Certainly, demand for quality education in the region abounds. Globally, there are already two million international students pursuing higher education abroad. Close to half ofthese students come from Asia; with China, Korea, Malaysia,India and Japan as the top five sources. South East Asia is also seeing a growing number of students from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Demand for quality higher education is growing together with disposable income and the expanding middle class in Asia..."

This is the rosy view of Singapore's higher education revolution. For something a little more sombre, read what Philip G. Altbach, SJ Professor of Higher Education at Boston College, wrote: "Singapore is not alone in aspiring to use the knowledge economy as a means of economic growth. For example, South Korea's recently announced "Brain Korea 21" program has similar aims. Asian countries have invested heavily in higher education and research, with mixed results. The links between universities and technology industries at Hsinchu in Taiwan, begun two decades ago, proved to be quite successful. Japan's Tsukuba University has had more mixed results. Peking and Tsinghua universities in Beijing have also linked with high-tech industries, and there is talk of merging the two institutions. While these, and other, initiatives have yielded impressive results, none has yet produced the "Boston of the East." There are some interesting reasons for this. One can build institutions, but it is more difficult to instill an intellectual environment of sustained creativity and academic innovation...

"Singapore's aspiration to become the "Boston of Asia" will not be so easy. Boston, after all, started its academic quest in 1636. And the structural problems are formidable. Some, such as commitments to academic freedom and diversification, are attainable. Others, such as size, are more difficult, although regional consortia may be a partial answer..."

c u l t u r e + s h o c k

CULTURE SHOCK AFFECTS AND AFFLICTS THE BEST OF US, AND IS IN FACT, A SIGN THAT YOU ARE LEARNING TO ADJUST TO A NEW CULTURE AND SOCIETY AND A NEW WAY OF BEING. My tried and true formula for dealing with culture shock, has always been, to go to the nearest bar and get plastered -- or at least to do someting which reminds you of home, or makes you feel at home. Culture shock is something which should be worked through gradually, and serenely -- don't go flying for the door, but rather work through your homesickness in the Zen fashion (ie, by doing nothing). On her website, Julia Ferguson has this to say about culture shock (and how to beat it):

Almost everyone who studies, lives or works abroad experiences some degree of culture shock.
This period of cultural adjustment involves everything from getting used to the food and language to learning how to use the telephone. No matter how patient and flexible you are, adjusting to a new culture can, at times, be difficult and frustrating.
It is easy to get lost, depressed and homesick. You may even want to go back home!
Don't panicE½cthese are all totally normal reactions and you are not alone. Sometimes it is hard to remember why you decided to leave home. You are on an adventure - a wonderful opportunity to grow and learn - but it does not always seem that way. Although you cannot avoid culture shock entirely, we have a number of tips that will help you get through difficult moments:
* Start a journal of the new things you come across every day and your reactions to your new home. Writing things down will help you keep them in perspective, and are funny to look back on!
* Never confuse your ability to speak the new language with your intelligence; it is easy to feel stupid and get down on yourself, but there is no reason to. It takes everyone some time to adjust and become comfortable with a new language.
* Be physically active! Walk, swim, run, play tennis or do some other physical activity you enjoy often. You will feel better, meet new people and keep in shape.
* Keep your sense of humour. Try, no matter how hard it is, to see something of value in every new experience and challenge you come across. Laugh now, not just later!
*Take advantage of services that your university, church or community offer. Contact a counsellor at the International Students Office, a resident advisor if you live in residence halls, someone at your churchE½c. If you are having a problem with something, tell someone! They will want to help you, and you will feel a lot better having people to support you. Don't be afraid to speak up.
Adjusting to a new culture can be difficult and frustrating, but it can also be a wonderful, thought provoking time of your life during which you will grow as a person.

Contact us by email:
phone: (090) 6039-9341 (JAPAN)