The Tempinis diaries

May 23, 2009

New University in Singapore

Filed under: education, singapore — Tags: , — toru @ 3:41 am

Singapore is set to open a new university. The preliminary ground work seems pretty impressive.


MIT tie-up to kick-start 4th uni
By Amresh Gunasingham

‘Traditionally in Singapore, we have established universities that start off with undergraduate studies, before moving on to postgraduate studies and then research,’ Dr Tan explained. — ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

A US$100 million (S$146 million) international design centre is in the works to kick-start Singapore’s fourth university.
A tie-up with the the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the centre would meld architecture, engineering and information systems to come up with, say, a must-have electronic gadget, or the best transport system for a fast-expanding Singapore.

The idea is to have research efforts firmly rooted before taking in students, said National Research Foundation chairman Tony Tan. Announcing the ambitious new proposal on Friday, he said that if all goes well, the centre could be up and running next year, a year before the university is even ready.

This would turn the current approach to university education on its head.

‘Traditionally in Singapore, we have established universities that start off with undergraduate studies, before moving on to postgraduate studies and then research,’ Dr Tan explained.

‘Under the proposed model, we will establish a research centre with a sound research base first before taking in graduate students and undergraduate students.’

Research universities around the world were no longer just education institutions, but were making their mark as key driving forces of economic growth, he added.

‘They are places where new knowledge is created by faculty members and students which facilitates the transformation of this knowledge into new industries and commercially viable enterprises.’

At MIT, for example, researchers and students have founded enterprises that produce output equivalent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the 17th largest economy in world. ‘This is significantly larger than our GDP…and underscores the importance for universities to be able to produce original research,’ he said.

Dr Tan, speaking during a visit to the Centre for Quantum Technology (CQT) at the National University of Singapore, said the design centre would add to the diversity of the tertiary education landscape here, and expects it to be well received by students and parents.

March 5, 2009

Pact to link funding with projects

Filed under: education, Uncategorized — Tags: — toru @ 2:58 pm

Instead of designating an apex university, Malaysia could have gone the Australian way of linking funding to specific research projects and centres of excellence. That means universities would have to compete for funding by proving that they have a worthwhile project or a track record of research excellence. There is nothing like competion to raise standards.

COMPACT agreements between the Commonwealth government and universities that link funding to specific missions will be introduced as part of the Government’s shake up of higher education, research minister Kim Carr said today.

USM Treating Indonesian Cleft-lip Patients

Filed under: education — Tags: , — toru @ 2:51 pm

What a wonderful project! Kudos to USM Dentistry department.


March 05, 2009 22:18 PM

USM Treating Indonesian Cleft-lip Patients

KOTA BAHARU, March 5 (Bernama) — The higher education ministry has applauded Universiti Sains Malaysia’s (USM) move to help treat children born with cleft-lip and palate in remote areas of Indonesia.

Deputy minister Datuk Idris Haron said the social service made Malaysia the first Islamic country to offer such a treatment in Pekan Baru, Riau.

Wrong Partnership for UM

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — toru @ 2:47 pm

This comment is a little late in coming. But this arrangement with Unisim is, in my view, the wrong kind of partnership for University Malaya. With respect to the staff and students at Unisim, the fact is that Unisim is not a research university like NUS, NTU and SMU. It is not a very strategic move for UM, the premier research university in Malaysia, to be collaborating with Unisim. Perhaps, in future University of Malaya will try to form meaningful research collaborations with NUS, NTU or SMU.

Sunday February 8, 2009
Pact signed

Dr Ghauth (third from left) exchanging documents with Prof Cheong. Also present are (from left) UM’s Dr Mohamad Mokhtar Abu Hassan, Deputy Director, Academy of Malay Studies, Prof Dr Azirah Hashim, Dean, Faculty of Languages and Linguistics, and UniSim’s Provost Prof Tsu Kai Chong and Registrar Assoc Prof Yip Woon Kong.

UNIVERSITI Malaya (UM) has agreed to collaborate in advisory and training services with the Singapore Institute of Management University (UniSIM) for the latter’s Bachelor degree in Malay Language and Literature.

March 2, 2009

George Mason University, Among First With an Emirates Branch, Is Pulling Out

Filed under: education — Tags: — toru @ 1:31 pm

Uh-Oh…It seems that the recession is also hitting the higher education sector.

March 1, 2009
George Mason University, Among First With an Emirates Branch, Is Pulling Out
In 2005, George Mason became one of the first American universities to open a branch campus in the United Arab Emirates — but in May, it will become the first to close its campus there, never having graduated a single student.


September 6, 2008

Why Choose USM over UM?

On further research and reflection, I am coming round to the view that the conferral of apex status on USM over UM is a mistake. I did an ISI Web of Knowledge search this morning using the all databases section. This database search includes the highly respected Web of Science database which contains high impact scientific journals. Here are my findings when I typed in the following terms under the “address” field:

1. “University of Malaya” – results – 1,679 hits

2. “Malaya” – results –  7,076 hits

3. “University Sains Malaysia” – results – 160 hits

4. “sains malaysia” – results – 4,010 hits

5. “science malaysia” – results – 1 hit

6. “National University of Singapore” – results – 10,278 hits

7. “Singapore” – results –  79,679 hits

8. “Nanyang Technological University” – results – 1,586 hits

9. “Nanyang” – 20,032

Based on this very simple and primitive search, my impression is that USM is currently very far behind UM in terms of international reputation and publication record. In academia, the crude maxim of “publish or perish” still rings true. A university’s rankings and reputation is only as good as its publications and research. Based on the figures, USM still has a long way from catching up with UM, let alone placing in the top 100 universities in five years time.

I should add a qualification that I could be wrong, of course.  If USM’s “hits” were more recent than UM, then this could indicate an up and coming institution (USM) as compared to one resting on its laurels (UM).

Now the interesting question is whether Khaled Nordin and his Ministry of Higher Education do a proper analysis of these figures before conferring apex status to USM?

June 29, 2008

Setting Up an International Academic Advisory Panel for Higher Education in Malaysia

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , — toru @ 11:58 am

Malaysia should seriously consider setting up an academic advisory panel for higher education. Singapore set up one in 1997. Take a look at the composition of its members here. Singapore panel’s is really impressive in its diversity and the quality of the people on board. Besides the obvious benefit of tapping into these talented people’s expertise, it would be easier to forge collaborations with the foreign universities in question if their Vice Chancellor or President is on the advisory panel.

For an example of how an advisory panel may benefit Malaysia, see the story below of the panel’s recommendation on how Singapore should go about setting up a fourth university. Singapore’s careful approach has prevented the problem of low quality institutions, like what happened in Malaysia, when governments rushed into opening universities without proper consideration. Singapore Management University took three years of planning before it was launched.


June 17, 2008

Foreign Students: Raising the Bar

Filed under: education, singapore, studying in Singapore — Tags: , , — toru @ 1:59 pm

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (“NTU”) recently won an Asian debating contest. The interesting thing is that the debaters from the winning NTU team were all Indian nationals. While there is the perennial debate raging in Singapore about the necessity of foreign talent in Singapore and how they marginalize the locals, the undeniable fact is that these foreign students in Singaporean universities do, in general, raise the bar and competition for local students.


They’re Asia’s best debaters

Loh Chee Kong
WITH three teams in the semi-finals this year, there was no better chance for a Singapore university to be crowned Asia’s king of varsity debate after an eight-year hiatus.

And so it proved, with a classic David versus Goliath battle no less: The team from Nanyang Technological University — comprising relatively inexperienced debaters — stunned seven-time regional champions, the Philippines’ Ateneo de Manila University, in the 4th Asian Universities Debating Championship (AUDC) two weeks ago.

Squad captain Madhav Janakiraman, 20, who was part of the three-member team in the finals, said: “We were quite nervous. We knew we were the underdogs. But we prepared very strategically, trying to assess what the other team’s weaknesses were and how to take them on.”


June 16, 2008

Studying in Taiwan

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , , , — toru @ 3:15 pm

An interesting story below on studying in Taiwan. This could be an option for students who have strong Chinese capabilities. It might be difficult to get a job back in Malaysia with a Taiwanese degree. But if a graduate has a strong technical degree such as Engineering, I don’t foresee much difficulty in getting a job in Taiwan, China, Hong Kong or Singapore.


Sunday April 15, 2007

Good place to network


Looking for a place where you can learn and grow at an affordable price? Check out Taiwan.

AS a student in Taiwan, one of the things that struck Teoh Seok Ai most was the openness of its society.

“I was surprised when I heard my classmates speak so openly about the political situation in Taiwan. I had not expected to see young people so passionate about politics in their country,” says Teoh, who studied psychology in the central part of Chia-yi County in Taiwan five years ago.

“They are not afraid to bring up an issue if they have valid reasons for doing so. It could be about anything, from accommodation to the university’s facilities or lecturers,” she adds.

The international students of Yuan Ze University in Taoyuan county seen here are among the 13,000 studying in Taiwan. – Pic courtesy of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia


June 9, 2008

Reviewing Khaled Nordin’s Higher Education Plan

Filed under: education, malaysia — Tags: , , , — toru @ 1:24 pm

Star’s interview with Khaled Nordin (see below) is a pretty depressing read. There doesn’t seem to be any substantive changes that Khaled Nordin, the Minister of Higher Education, intends to implement. There’s also mention of the half baked Setara exercise filled with UKM professors. As I have written before, the whole assessment exercise is a complete embarrassment. That’s bad news. If Malaysian tertiary institutions are to compete globally, nothing short than a radical overhaul is required. To give him credit, there are some positive moves mentioned below, namely, the improvement of accommodation for foreign students. These soft factors are crucial in attracting global talent.

Currently, the main pre-occupation of the Ministry seems to be this process of identifying apex universities. Now the identification of the so-called apex universities is not a panacea to all the ills in higher education in Malaysia. Realistically, only three universities in the country have the potential to compete globally i.e. UM, UKM and USM. Khaled Nordin does not make it clear what kind of support would be given to an apex university. Will they dismantle the quota system for at least one of the apex universities? As I have written before, what is really killing the universities in Malaysia is the quota system. The solution to improving universities is quite simple really. But is there the political will to do so? It is far better to have one decent university which operates on merit rather than have more than a dozen lousy ones filled with unqualified candidates who got in through the quota system.


Sunday June 8, 2008

Doing it his way, with team support

BELOW are extracts from StarEducation’s interview with Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

Since his appointment on March 27, Khaled has been making the rounds of university campuses. At a briefing on UKM’s strategic plan at its campus in Bangi, Selangor, in April, he speaks to VC Prof Datuk Dr Sharifah Hapsah Syed Hasan Shahabudin.

Q: What do you see as the top priorities and challenges in higher education?

A: The Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) is translating the national mission and the Ninth Malaysian Plan into an actionable National Higher Education Strategic Plan, to develop first-class human capital.

My predecessor (Datuk Mustapa Mohamed) has done a good job in identifying the strengths and weaknesses in order to bring about change. My task now is to engineer the change, and implement what has been planned to ensure that we achieve the targets.

The higher education sector has evolved to meet global challenges.

We are moving in the right direction.

I now have a clearer picture of what is happening and should be done.

I would also like to see the universities in the country move up in the world rankings. By 2020, we hope that our universities can be

The amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 are expected to be tabled in Parliament in August. On May 29, Khaled (right) and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak (second, right) received a memorandum on the amendments from USM Student Representative Council president Muhammad Syukri Ibrahim (left) and his counterpart from UM, Afandy Sutrisno Tanjung.

ranked among the Top 50 worldwide.


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