UNSW Asia closure enters realm of Singaporean pop culture

The closure of the University of New South Wales campus in Singapore (UNSW Asia) in May 2007, after only three months of operations and plenty of marketing, has generated a lot of discussion and debate in Singapore, Australia, and most global higher ed circles. The initial phase of deliberations is ably reviewed in the Beerkens’ blog. Since then a variety of discussions have been underway in both Singapore and Sydney regarding compensation for students, faculty, and staff. The shock of the closure has generated more heat than light on the development process to date, in part because UNSW has stated that contract details with the Government of Singapore are ultimately governed by Singapore’s Official Secrets Act. Most media stories (e.g., see this new one on Singapore’s Global Education Hub development strategy in the Christian Science Monitor) make reference to the event, and its potential impacts. There is even a blog (Asia Intelligence) specifically devoted to the closure.

GlobalHigherEd will be developing a full analysis of the closure by the end of 2007. For now though it is worth noting that the closure has entered realm of popular culture with the local Singaporean band King Kong Jane holding UNSW to task (with “(UNSW) Uncle Now Study Where?”) for the situation (thanks to Asia Intelligence for this information update). How many universities have songs written about their crises and disasters?!

Kris Olds

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