Singapore — Certain inconsistencies were spotted regarding the National University of Singapore (NUS) merger with Yale-NUS College and NUS’s University Scholars Programme (USP).
As a result, students call for transparency on the issue.
NUS announced on Aug 26 that it would merge Yale-NUS College and NUS’s USP in 2025 as a part of a larger reorganization of NUS’s academic offerings.
The aim of this change is to provide a greater number of Singaporean students access to an immersive, interdisciplinary liberal arts education, noted YaleNews online.
In consequence of this change, Yale-NUS College will cease in 2025, after its current first-year students have graduated.
“The New College (a provisional name) will not bear Yale’s name, but I trust Yale’s spirit will be infused throughout its academic and residential life,” said Pericles Lewis, Yale’s Vice President for Global Strategy.
In response to the news, students have expressed concerns regarding the decision.
They noted turning down a spot at prestigious universities abroad to enter Yale-NUS and now feel short-changed that the college will cease to exist in a few years.
A student has written to The Independent Singapore to highlight discrepancies during a USP meeting on the future of Yale-NUS.
“There were various inconsistencies with what the NUS President, Tan Eng Chye, claimed and what was presented in the document (excerpts from the meeting),” the student said.
When asked if the New College will retain USP’s curriculum and be a “liberal arts college,” it was revealed that the new entity would “not literally” retain USP’s curriculum. “It is also not a liberal arts college. It’s what we call an honours college, just like how we are right now.”
“This stands in complete contrast against what NUS claimed. During our town hall meeting, the NUS administrative board repeatedly claimed that the supposedly New College will retain features of a liberal arts college system,” said the student.
When asked how long the plan to create the New College or merger has been in place, it was noted that administrators had been pushing “quite hard” for the combination in the last 18 months.
“I would say that for the past 12 months, we’ve been thinking about how to do it properly so that the transition is smooth,” said a speaker at the meeting.
In response, the student said, “It was also claimed that the decision to merge both Yale-NUS and USP was made in June 2021. However, later during the USP meeting minutes, it was revealed that this recent development was an idea already in motion for the past 12 months, directly contradicting whatever was publicly disclosed.
If so, why wasn’t the plan publicly announced bit-by-bit? This vastly important piece of information was only suddenly disseminated after the Class of 2025 freshmen have matriculated.
There are other various inconsistencies and contradictions identified by other YNC students in our internal Telegram group chat.
Many of us are deeply exasperated, disappointed and angry at the sudden and abrupt decision.
At the ground level, the merger is clouded with controversy, as evident by the array of Facebook posts and independent articles springing up online.”
Students collectively hope that a more reasonable and transparent explanation as to what’s really going on behind the scenes would be given. /TISG
Read related: Lim Tean expresses outrage at closure of Yale-NUS
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