NTU shouldn’t make research scholarships for foreigners bond-free

March 24, 2008 at 5:44 pm 3 comments

This ST forum writer obviously doesn’t know the difference between undergraduate study and graduate research, or that between DBA and PhD (anyone?).

March 24, 2008

NTU shouldn’t make research scholarships for foreigners bond-free

I APPLAUD the move by Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to award new scholarships to encourage further research. However, I question the move to offer them bond-free to foreigners. I am not against foreigners doing research studies in Singapore per se, but what will they do in return for Singapore after they graduate?

A search of NTU’s website shows that currently, of 33 PhD students in its business faculty, 91 per cent are foreigners from China. I suspect this is probably the case in other faculties. Does this mean there are no Singaporeans interested in research studies?

Judging by the number of working adults coughing up $50,000 to $60,000 to do DBA programmes with foreign universities, I think the interest is there but not the opportunity. And, given the disproportionately high number of Chinese PhD students in NTU, it is more likely that all available places are taken up by foreigners and Singaporeans do not have a chance in their own country.

Over the past many years, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and NTU have churned out many non-Singaporean PhDs. How many of them have remained here to contribute and how many have moved on to greener pastures? Surely, both NUS and NTU must have the statistics to justify continuing providing scholarships to foreigners. It is high time both were transparent about it.

Unless the foreigner can be made to contribute economically to Singapore, it is a zero-sum game. Every dollar spent on a foreigner is a dollar less for a Singaporean – and a dollar wasted.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

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Entry filed under: education, Grad school, scholarship, Singapore.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sigilx  |  May 16, 2008 at 3:15 am

    I think DBA refers to Doctor of Business Administration. I’m not certain how useful a degree that is but I believe a lot of financial practitioners are pursuing that so they can refer to themselves as “Dr. AAA” and add a patina of academic respectability to their titles. After all, why buy your insurance from a plain ‘ol BS, when you can buy from a Doctor! 😉

    I’m uncertain as to where in the article the author confuses undergraduate and graduate study, as you imply?

    Reply
  • 2. k-m  |  June 21, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Well, sure there might be interest in business administration, but definitely not in graduate research in engineering, which is what NTU largely offers. NTU could infact use more graduate students, there just arent enough Singaporeans applying.

    Reply
  • 3. Donaldson Tan  |  September 4, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Firstly, all PhD scholarships should be bond-free as PhD study is effectively research work carried out under the university, and all intellectual properties and discoveries arising from the study belongs to the university. Instead, PhD study should be viewed as an academic work contract which leads to a PhD upon successful completion. For example, non-EU PhD students are given a work visa instead of a student visa in Netherlands.

    Secondly, I concur it is alarming that most of the PhD students at our local universities are almost entirely from China. It highlights the lack of interest among Singaporeans to enrol in PhD program and the lack of appeal to do a PhD in Singapore. To attract Singaporeans to enrol in PhD programs, the tax-free PhD stipend should be comparable to after-tax salary of a typical graduate from the private sector, since PhD research, in no less regards, is still academic work fit for a university, and PhD students do have graduate qualifications, such as a Bachelors or Masters.

    Thirdly, there should be greater focus to attract ASEAN nationals (including Singaporeans) to enrol in PhD programs in Singapore. After all, universities are the best place to foster ASEAN regionalism which contributes to our security and build up relations between our local intellects with other ASEAN intellects..

    Last but not least, I am opposed to the misnomer scholarship, If the scholarship contract has provision for bond, it should be re-labeled as sponsorship.

    Reply

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