Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, former President of National University of Singapore (NUS), wrote a commentary in Channel NewsAsia on notable trends and shifts in higher education in Asia. He highlighted three major developments which are reshaping the higher education sector in Asia in significant ways that look set to persist. These include the vast growth in the number of students enrolled in post-secondary education, a focus on the liberal arts education model at several leading universities, and the changing model of research, innovation and enterprise.
One of the major developments is the growing desire to improve the quality of teaching, with a trending rise in interest in liberal arts education programmes among several leading universities in Asia. He noted that besides shifting away from an education model of early deep specialisation towards one with greater academic breadth, this is also a shift from pedagogies traditionally based on rote learning and lectures towards more interactive modes of learning, such as tutorials, symposiums and seminars. The desired educational outcome is to foster greater levels of creative and critical thinking among students. It was with this shift in mind that NUS partnered with Yale University to launch the Yale-NUS College in 2013.
Professor Tan noted that Yale-NUS College is starting to bear fruit and has seen consistently strong demand, receiving nearly 8,800 applications from whom 250 students from Singapore and 45 nationalities were admitted for the class of 2021. The first graduating class has done well with more than 90 per cent securing jobs, fellowships or graduate study positions in a wide range of sectors, within six months of graduation. A number have been awarded prestigious fellowships including a Rhodes Scholarship and a Schwartzman Scholarship.