‘Liberal Arts have special place in Singapore’s higher education landscape’

“Liberal arts occupy a very special place within Singapore’s higher education landscape, providing many options to suit students’ different interests, aptitudes and styles of learning. This would, in turn, produce more diverse talents,” asserted Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) while speaking at the graduation ceremony of Yale-NUS College. About 120 students participated in the graduation ceremony.

Yale-NUS College was established as Singapore’s first liberal arts college in 2011
Yale-NUS College was established as Singapore’s first liberal arts college in 2011. Photo courtesy: yale-nus.edu.sg

He also urged graduates to use their skills to give back to the community, and for them to keep that “sense of adventure, fearlessness …and some of that youthful foolishness” they possess.

Professor Richard C Levin, president emeritus of Yale University.
Professor Richard C Levin, president emeritus of Yale University. Photo courtesy: yale-nus.edu.sg

Professor Richard C Levin, president emeritus of Yale University, also spoke on the occasion. He observed how the graduates are entering a workforce where certain values are “under attack”. He mentioned anti-globalisation sentiments, which are “much stronger than a decade ago”, as well as xenophobia.

Yale-NUS College was established as Singapore’s first liberal arts college in 2011 through a partnership between Yale University and the National University of Singapore (NUS). More than 60 per cent of the pioneer graduating cohort of Yale-NUS College in Singapore have secured jobs or university places for graduate studies.

Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills)
Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) of Singapore. Photo courtesy: Wikipedia

Those who have been offered jobs will be going into consulting work (24 per cent), the public sector (24 per cent), and the education industry (14 per cent). Others were offered jobs in startups, the science and engineering field, finance, communications, and more.

Meanwhile, some of the students pursuing graduate studies have been accepted into universities such as Harvard University and University College London, while others will be taking up the Princeton in Asia Fellowship, and the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, for example.

From August next year, Yale-NUS College aims to take in 250 students yearly, up from the 200 or so students that it accepted last August.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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