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11/22/2005

nus/ntu -another mrt in the making

the corporatisation of the two universities, autonomy, merger and acquisition, to be the best we can be, to generate revenue as a business organisations...are these the goals for the future? are we taking the same route as the privatisation of our public transport system and our health services? i hope i am wrong. that we are not turning the two universities into private organisations for more efficiency and better results and profit generation. if these are the goals, we can expect the universities to embark on a trail of acquisition and expansion, recruiting the best among the professors, acquiring the best facilities that money can buy, to make the two universities a brand name, to attract more paying students to generate more profits. look at the busines model. where are the sources of income to support such a grand design? raising funds from the public/shareholders, selling bonds, joint projects with commercial enterprises etc etc but finally up tuition fees. an ambitious plan to be the best would demand a very big appetite and big funds to keep it going. raising funds from the public has its limits. selling bonds is a debt that must be repaid. commercial projects, selling books, publications, research works will not be enough to sustain a branded organisation that wants the best in everything. ultimately the tuition fees must go up. just like the mrt. the commuters, in this case the students, will have to pay. which student is going to pay and carry the burden? foreign students would be given scholarships. the super rich students, no problem. the bottom 10 to 20% may have grants and subsidies. it is the middle crunch. depending on the financial ability of these parents, the lower half will bear the biggest brunt of ever increasing tuition fees. the squeeze will always affect the neither here nor there families. fees will be increased but affordable. affordable to who?

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