Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong says universities feel strain as competition gets tougher


SINGAPORE: As the competition for talent and resources gets tougher, some universities are also feeling the strain as they make cutbacks.

But there are exceptions, and Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, made this point on Thursday at celebrations to mark Cambridge University’s 800th anniversary.

He said: “The competition for talent and resources has become tougher. The global financial crisis has shrunk endowments and resulted in smaller and fewer donations.

“Even well-endowed universities have to tighten their belts. Some are retrenching staff and cutting back on academic programmes. Cambridge, fortunately, is not in such dire straits.”

In the current atmosphere where longstanding institutions have taken heavy tumbles, to be around for 800 years is no mean feat.

And Cambridge has been reinventing itself – reaching out to alumni as it competes for the best students, researchers and industry link-ups. This is something American Ivy League universities have been doing for some time, and which Singapore universities have also started doing.

Cambridge has a long history of links with Singapore – Mr Lee is a former student, and so is his father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.

There are currently about 200 Singaporeans studying at Cambridge.

By Asha Popatlal, Channel NewsAsia


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