44% of S’porean PhD students believe S’porean universities prefer hiring foreign faculty members
Singaporean PhD graduates don't feel loved in their home country.
Some 44 percent of Singapore PhD students revealed in a survey that they believe Singaporean universities have a preference for hiring foreign faculty members.
This result emerged from a small-scale survey conducted in late 2013 on the academic prospects for Singaporean PhD students.
It is by Carissa Kang, a Singaporean PhD candidate at Cornell University in the United States and the result originally appeared in an article titled, “Where Are My Country(wo)men? The Lack of Singaporean Academics in Singapore’s Universities“.
And it is not as if there is no smoke without fire. Circumstantial evidence currently exist suggesting the number of local faculty members is dwindling.
At present, only one in two tenured faculty members across the board is Singaporean. But there will be a significant number of them who will be reaching retirement age in the next 10 years though.
And at other departments and institutions, Singaporean faculty members are found to be in the minority.
The education ministry has said 28 percent of 25 faculty members of National University’s political science department are Singaporean.
At the university’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, 46 percent of the 82 faculty members are locals.
At Nanyang Technological University’s S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, 41 percent of the 29 faculty members are Singaporean.
And at the university’s Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, 44 percent of the 48 faculty members are Singaporean.
Furthermore, during a parliamentary budget debate in March this year, a member of parliament from the ruling party expressed “shock” at the number of foreign academics hired.
Not that any of this is new.
Since last year, there had already been some private misgivings about foreigners hired using taxpayers’ money to work in universities, but nothing materialised publicly.
But it did emerge in reports in The Straits Times last year that a group of local academics held closed-door meetings with Minister for Law and Foreign Affairs K Shanmugam, the Senior Minister of State for Education and Law Indranee Rajah and civil servants from the education and manpower ministries on the issue.
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