Knee-jerk opposition to the admission of international students in Singapore’s autonomous universities revolve around familiar themes, yet the counter-arguments thus far are problematic too: First, that besides top-level figures on the proportion of permanent residents and foreigners at the local universities, little is actually known about the distribution within the universities and their schools or departments, as well as funding amounts; and second, that the aforementioned benefits accrue most directly to those within the university, and not necessarily to those beyond it or those who might have been denied admission.
Without offering greater transparency on the distribution of international students and their funding amounts, and without broadening the discourse to include socio-economic issues relating to admissions to and financial support within the local universities – such as that of the class divide – the government will continue to confront the same scepticism, entrenching the same minds on both sides. Continue reading
Yet what is less uncertain, it would appear, is the continued emergence of China as a global superpower. And in the next four or eight years of a Trump presidency in the United States, the geopolitical and economic effects of Chinese ascendancy will be felt most keenly in Asia. “Are we anticipating the end of an era, of American leadership”, Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) James Crabtree asked the speakers in attendance, “[And if so] are we then headed towards an era of no leadership, or is it plausible [for a] Pax Sinica, that we are instead headed towards an era in which China will begin to start shaping the agreements that govern trade and commerce in Asia and beyond?” Continue reading