Yale university in the US has announced plans to start a campus in Singapore, despite the ruling government less-than stellar human rights record. Find out why it’s still probably a good thing for Asia
Top ten american universities in terms of global impact on the Internet and social media during 2010
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QS World University Rankings Top Five Universities in 2011
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Yale University will open a college in Singapore, the first overseas campus in the institution's 300-year history, to bring liberal arts education to Asia.
The school, which begins operation in 2013, will have about 1,000 students and be jointly administered by Yale and the National University of Singapore, according to a statement released Thursday by Yale, based in New Haven, Conn., and NUS. Yale-NUS College will grant bachelor's degrees conferred by NUS, which will bear the costs of running the institution, the universities said.
Yale will be the latest U.S. college to teach students in Asia. Duke University, based in Durham, N.C., runs a medical school in Singapore with NUS and is planning a campus in Kunshan, China, while New York University announced Monday it will open a school in Shanghai. The Yale-NUS College will be Singapore's first liberal arts institution and introduces the Western tradition of broad-based studies into an education system where students focus on one discipline, according to the statement.
"It's a tremendous opportunity for Yale," its president, Richard Levin, said in an interview Wednesday before the news was released. "We will have an opportunity to influence the shape of higher education for a region that constitutes half of the world's population."
Among its ventures in Asia, Yale operates a plant genetics research center in Beijing with Peking University and an exchange program for professors with the University of Tokyo.
Yale's administration was first approached by NUS two years ago, Levin said. The universities signed a memorandum of understanding in September and Yale's board voted to approve the deal at its February meeting, he said.
Yale's administrators are convinced that academic freedom will be protected, Levin said. Singapore's government restricts public speech, stifles dissent and controls information in the press, according to Human Rights Watch, a New York-based nonprofit organization.
"We feel very comfortable," Levin said. "We've done a lot of due diligence. There's a widespread sense that faculty in Singapore is free to teach what they want to teach and publish what they want to publish."
An education that encourages critical thinking will be increasingly important for Singapore students to compete globally, said Tan Chorh Chuan, president of NUS.
"More and more students are going to realize the value of a liberal arts education," Tan said. WASHINGTON POST-BLOOMBERG