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The future of further education

The presidents of Singapore's six universities discuss the country's evolving higher education landscape over the years, the challenges in recruiting the best students and faculty, and what they hope to see in the Republic's university education scene in the coming decade

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"This year, NUS celebrates its 110th year of founding together with Singapore's 50th year of independence. We are truly privileged to have among our alumni, distinguished men and women who have made - and are still making - meaningful contributions to the country and beyond, in diverse areas that include business, civil society, design, engineering, law, medicine, politics, public policy, the sciences, as well as the arts. This tradition of service and contribution to Singapore and to society is something that we treasure dearly." - Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, President, NUS
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"Singapore now has one of the best education and research environments in the world. Today, Singapore is top in the world, with two universities in the global top 40 and Asia's top 10. Thanks to the high standing and quality of the country's higher education system, Singapore has created a valuable brand name for itself in education worldwide, especially in the areas of mathematics and science." - Professor Bertil Andersson, President, NTU
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"Vision 2025 is an aspiration and a road map for SMU over the next 10 years. We will continue to meet the challenges to stay relevant in our research and to Singapore, and to be excellent at everything we do. We have built SMU into a complete, specialised university, and built up a reputation regionally and internationally for being a centre of Asian knowledge. We have launched many new programmes. Now, we need to make sure our students receive the best education they can get, and land good jobs at the end of it." - Professor Arnoud De Meyer, President, SMU
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"As a university of applied learning, our mission is to produce graduates who will be in high demand and who can continually adapt to a changing economy. Our students will be taught deep, specialist skills through our applied pedagogy. In the long run, SIT aims to produce thinking tinkerers who will graduate as best-in-class specialists. To succeed in their careers and in life, our students must be able to learn, unlearn and relearn to adapt to the ebb and flow of a changing economy through time." - Professor Tan Thiam Soon, President, SIT
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"We need to establish a vibrant, passionate, innovative university culture, a culture in which talented students are bursting with enthusiasm to change the world, in which they feel an obligation to tackle society's most significant and most exciting challenges. At the Singapore University of Technology and Design, we have taken it upon ourselves to create that culture - through our curriculum structure, the way we teach, our focus on research, and our deep collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology." - Professor Thomas Magnanti, President, SUTD
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''We have grown from just one publicly-funded university to six, and many thousandsmore each year have access to good quality university education.Wehave a more comprehensive university system now with places for both pre-employment education provided mostly by the five existing Autonomous Universities and post-employment degree upgrading provided primarily by SIM University, which is privately-funded. There is greater inclusivity and a variety of pathways for our citizens to obtain a degree.'' - Professor Cheong Hee Kiat, President, UniSIM
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Q: How would you describe the current state of Singapore's university education landscape, and how has it evolved over the last 50 years since independence?

Tan Chorh Chuan: The development of Singapore's university education landscape over the past 50