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11/22/2005

nus/ntu corporatisation - another world cup dream

i don't really know what corporatisation of nus/ntu mean. is it privatisation or a different animal? but looking at the broad direction and goals that these two universities are heading, we can expect them to aspire to be the best in the world. this is like our world cup dream. there is nothing wrong with big dreams and big ambition. both universities are highly regarded and highly ranked among the world best. but we need to touch ground and not get too swell headed and get carried away. how far shall we go? do we want to be better than harvard, yale, mit, princeton, cambridge and oxford? yes, for sure. but at what price? we can bring the world cup home. no big deal. just pay for it. but for what? to make all the football fans in the kopitiam happy? in the case of being the world number one in education, the formula is not that simple. even if we are willing to pay, we can only buy all the facilities and the best professors. but the input, the quality of the students is not going to change much. unless we go for the world best students and tell our own students to go elsewhere. the world best university needs world best students. because of our own national interests, ie to educate our own students, we cannot be a harvard or the equivalent of any top ivy league universities in the usa or uk. our talent pool is just too limited. but we can get the best from the region. so what? what are we trying to achieve? do not let this over exuberance to want the best lead us astray. we need to set a more realistic objective. be the best in our region and among the best in the world. our current ranking may be good enough. yes we can push for a higher ranking, at what price? who is going to pay for it?

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