'Singapore's global schoolhouse strategy: The first ten years'


Peter Waring, Associate Professor and Deputy CEO, University of Newcastle Singapore
Vicky Drewe, Academic Registrar, University of Newcastle Singapore

In 2002 a high level Economic Review Committee led by now National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan recommended that Singapore try to capture more of the $2 trillion higher education market by positioning itself as a 'Global Schoolhouse'. An ambitious target was set to attract 150,000 international students to Singapore by 2015 and to lift the education sector's contribution to GDP from 1.9% to 5% in the same timeframe. The Global Schoolhouse was viewed as producing a number of policy complementarities, including population, labour market, and economic priorities.  In this paper we review the last ten years of Singapore's global schoolhouse strategy from its inception until the present time. We examine the policy successes and setbacks, and present statistical evidence of its performance. In particular, we examine the development of both the public and private higher education sectors in Singapore, the growth of the tuition grant scheme in the public Universities, and the introduction of the Private Education Act 2009 in the private sector. We argue that the 2011 General Election in Singapore has proved to be an historic watershed in the evolution of the Global Schoolhouse strategy which will shift policy emphasis away from the public education sector to the private.

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