University of Chicago, Others Move Programs Out of Singapore

North American and European universities are increasingly interested in setting up campuses in China to take advantage of a growing desire for business education among young Chinese nationals. The University of Chicago recently announced that it will be moving its top-ranked MBA program from Singapore to Hong Kong to get closer to China, according to Kenneth Foo of Bloomberg News.

The University of Chicago executive MBA program was ranked No. 1 by Bloomberg Businessweek last year.

According to Riva Gold of The Wall Street Journal, students who have already started or will begin their MBA at University of Chicago's Booth School Of Business in Singapore this fall will be able to complete their programs in the city-state. However, the new candidates of executive MBA program will be attending classes in Hong Kong starting next June.

The University of Chicago's Singapore campus, opened in 2000, currently is not accepting more executive MBA candidates.

"Asia is a critical region to University of Chicago faculty, students and alumni, and the University brings its distinctive intellectual approach to the region in many ways," said Robert J Zimmer, president of the University of Chicago. "By establishing programming in Hong Kong, Chicago Booth takes an important step in this growing engagement," according to Shreya Roy Chowdhury of Times of India.

This relocation threatens Singapore's goal of boosting the number of international students to 150,000 by 2015. Singapore's education targets already are facing serious threats after some top-level universities announced plans to move to ather locations in Asia or closing their schools entirely.

Prior to the University of Chicago, New York University's Tisch School of Arts and the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) announced that they will be closing their Singapore campuses in the next two years. In 2007, Australia's University of New South Wales shut its campus on the island after just a semester.

NYU pointed to a budget shortfall driving the campus's closure, as "[the] school's subsidies to operate it were expected to exceed S$30 million by August."

The University of Nevada intends to shut its Singapore location in favor of another Asian city. According to Richard Linstrom, associate dean at UNLV's Singapore campus, the university considers Macau is an ideal location.

"There will be a negative impact in our quest to be an education hub to attract and keep world-class schools here for longer," Inderjit Singh, a lawmaker who's a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, told Bloomberg News. "We'll have to assess the reasons why they are leaving."

Singapore did receive some good news from Yale University, which plans to open a liberal arts campus in Singapore next month. The move wasn't wholly popular among staff, though, as Yale University's venture with the National University of Singapore drew criticism from Yale professors who "raised concerns about civil rights in Singapore, where the government has restrictions on public assembly and speeches."

According to Yale, the university will make sure that its Singapore campus won't impose censorship policies.

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