More students seeking bond-free scholarships to keep options open

--The Straits Times, 11 Dec 2014--
More students seeking bond-free scholarships to keep options open


WITH a string of As and an impressive record as a student leader, Hwa Chong Institution's Poh Yu Ting, 20, could have applied for any scholarship.

But she narrowed her choices down to bond-free ones and ended up choosing the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Global Merit award.

More bright students are forgoing government scholarships that come with a four- to six-year bond to take up bond-free ones from local universities, private organisations and foundations.

Government scholarships came under the spotlight recently after Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) scientist Eng Kai Er started an arts grant, partly to protest against her six-year bond tying her to a job she was not interested in.

She was roundly criticised for wasting taxpayers' money, but her case also sparked debate on whether people as young as 18 should be made to commit themselves to a bond.

The preference for no-bond scholarships could explain why applications for the prestigious Public Service Commission scholarships - which lead to top civil service jobs - have plateaued in the last four years at between 2,000 and 2,500 yearly.

This despite the bond period being reduced from six to four years for those doing their first degree here before heading overseas for a master's degree.

Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and NUS, on the other hand, saw demand spike.

For NUS, applications rose from about 2,300 four years ago to 3,300 this year. NTU saw 6,600 applications in 2010 jump to 9,900 this year.

OCBC Bank has seen the number of applications for its local university scholarships rise from 200 to 800 in four years. And Jardine Foundation, which gives bond-free scholarships for study at Oxford and Cambridge, is seeing higher demand.

With more top students applying, the two universities have increased their awards.

NUS, which gave out 340 scholarships in 2010, increased the number to 400 this year. At NTU, the number doubled from 133 in 2010 to 278 this year.

Scholarship holders said the scholarships being bond-free is a major draw, but there are other attractions such as special programmes and overseas stints.

NUS vice-provost for undergraduate education Bernard Tan said such scholarships allowed young people to keep their options open, while not losing out on overseas exposure.

Added Professor Kam Chan Hin, NTU's senior associate provost for undergraduate education: "Students can have their cake and eat it too."

NTU bioengineering student Jodie Tan, 19, turned down a government scholarship for an NTU one which will allow her to do two stints at top universities overseas.

"I don't feel like I lost out in any way," she said. "I get a solid engineering education at NTU plus global exposure. And at the end of the day I am not locked into a specific career path."

More universities training students in 'soft skills'

--CNA, 9 Dec 2014--
With Singapore being an open economy, such skills have become even more critical for the local workforce, and universities here are upgrading their curriculum in response to market needs.  
University students attending a lecture.

SINGAPORE: In a globalised environment, soft skills - such as ambition and the willingness to learn - may be the distinguishing factor between candidates when it come to hiring. With Singapore being an open economy, such skills have become even more critical for the local workforce.

Tertiary institutions in Singapore are paying attention, with universities are upgrading their curriculum in response to market needs.  The Singapore Management University (SMU) has tweaked its Finishing Touch Programme to become a series of workshops for students. Meanwhile, the National University of Singapore (NUS) introduced new modules in 2012, and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) established its Margaret Lien Centre for Professional Success last year.

Mr Sim Cher Young, director of the Kho Hui Meng Career Centre at SMU, said the university has been working closely with employers with regards to soft skills: "We have been very close with our employers in terms of having them feedback to us, when we share with them: 'this is the content, this is how we want to deliver the programme.'

"Finishing Touch has been at SMU since our inception but of late, I have been taking bearing from the employers because they will tell me: 'I suggest SMU needs to spend more time on looking at the students' self-awareness or the student's attention to unwritten protocol,' or even things such as ethics and governance that the student needs to be really aware of before he or she enters the workplace."

Associate Professor Susanna Leong, vice-dean of graduate studies at NUS Business School, said that curriculum involving soft skills is regularly revised and updated: "We constantly review our programme, enhance our curriculum to help our students meet industry needs.

"For example, in the NUS MBA programme we have launched the management communication module, and it is a compulsory module for all full-time and part-time students. This is a module that goes beyond merely presentations and speaking skills, it also covers important topics such as leadership influence."

The Government has been pushing out initiatives to support education and skills upgrading for workers. As part of the efforts, the recently-formed the SkillsFuture Council will look into developing an integrated system of education, training and career progression for all Singaporeans. This is to promote industry support for individual advancement based on skills and foster a culture of lifelong learning.

Mr Dominic Salomoni, associate director at Robert Walters, said: "I think Singapore is similar to other developed markets. There will always be good candidates and there will always be average candidates. The best candidates are generally those with the better soft skills and more likely to be successful in terms of getting through the interview process and then potentially through the careers, just because they have really important traits that one needs to grow their career."

- CNA/ac

Top universities for graduate employment – in full

--The Telegraph, 8 Dec 2014--
The Global Employability University Ranking has listed the top universities in the world for graduate employment, including 12 UK institutions

Cambridge climbed from third last year to first in 2014  Photo: Alamy

The Global Employability University Ranking, published by the International New York Times, names Cambridge as the world's top institution for graduate employment.

The institution was ranked as the global leader in new US-based rankings that measure universities for the production of graduates who are “ready to work”, expertise in a particular field and reputation.

In all, five British universities were named among the top 20 – one more than last year – and 12 were in the top 150. The UK had more top-ranking universities than any country, other than the United States.

Figures show Cambridge climbed from third last year to first in 2014 while Oxford fell from first to fourth. Harvard and Yale, in the US, were named second and third.

Check out the full list here:
1. Great Britain – University of Cambridge
2. USA – Harvard Univ.
3. USA – Yale Univ.
4. Great Britain – University of Oxford
5. USA – California Institute of Technology
6. USA – Mass. Institute of Technology
7. USA – Stanford Univ.
8. Germany – TU München
9. USA – Princeton Univ.
10. Japan – Univ. of Tokyo
11. USA – Columbia Univ.
12. USA – Univ. of California, Berkeley
13. Canada – Univ. of Toronto
14. Great Britain – University College London
15. Great Britain – Imperial College London
16. Hong Kong – Hong Kong Univ. of Sciences and Tech.
17. France – École Normale Supérieure Paris
18. Great Britain – University of Edinburgh
19. USA – Johns Hopkins Univ.
20. China – Peking Univ.
21. France – École Polytechnique ParisTech
22. India – Indian Institute of Science
23. Australia – Australian National Univ.
24. France – H.E.C. Paris
25. Great Britain – University of Manchester
26. Japan – Tokyo Institute of Technology
27. USA – Duke Univ.
28. Canada – McGill Univ.
29. Spain – IE Univ
30. USA – Univ. Of Chicago
31. Germany – Univ. Heidelberg
32. USA – New York Univ.
33. Australia – Monash Univ.
34. USA – Brown Univ.
35. Great Britain – King's College London
36. China – Fudan Univ.
37. Switzerland – Swiss Federal Inst. of Tech. Zurich
38. Switzerland – Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
39. Singapore – National Univ. of Singapore
40. Italy – Univ. Commerciale Luigi Bocconi
41. USA – Cornell Univ.
42. France – École des Mines ParisTech
43. USA – Boston Univ.
44. Great Britain – London School of Economics
45. Spain – Navarra
46. Germany – Goethe-Univ. Frankfurt am Main
47. Canada – Univ. of Montreal, H. E. C Montreal
48. Australia – Univ. of New South Wales
49. France – École Centrale Paris
50. Germany – Ludwig-Maximilians-Univ. München
51. USA – Carnegie Mellon Univ.
52. USA – Univ. of California, San Francisco
53. India – Indian School of Business
54. Japan – Kyoto Univ.
55. Canada – Univ. of British Columbia
56. China – Tsinghua Univ.
57. Hong Kong – The Chinese Univ. of Hong Kong
58. China – Shanghai Jiao Tong Univ.
59. USA – Northwestern Univ.
60. Great Britain – University of Birmingham
61. Switzerland – Univ. Zürich
62. USA – Univ. of California, Los Angeles
63. Great Britain – University of Nottingham
64. Switzerland – Univ. de Lausanne
65. Australia – Univ. Of Melbourne
66. USA – Dartmouth College
67. Sweden – Stockholm Univ.
68. Belgium – Univ. Gent
69. Denmark – Univ. of Copenhagen
70. USA – Univ. of Pennsylvania
71. USA – Univ. of Washington
72. France – École de Management de Lyon
73. France – ESSEC
74. Great Britain – London Business School
75. Italy – Politecnico di Milano
76. The Netherlands – Technische Univ. Eindhoven
77. Germany – Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin
78. Great Britain – University of Bristol
79. USA – Georgetown Univ.
80. Canada – McMaster Univ.
81. Germany – Frankfurt School of Finance and Management
82. The Netherlands – Utrecht Univ.
83. Belgium – Katholieke Univ. Leuven
84. USA – Boston College
85. USA – Michigan State Univ.
86. The Netherlands – Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
87. Germany – Georg-August-Universität Gottingen
88. Switzerland – Univ. Bern
89. The Netherlands – Erasmus Univ. Rotterdam
90. Sweden – Lunds Univ.
91. Finland – Univ. of Helsinki
92. USA – Brigham Young Univ.
93. USA – Rutgers Univ.
94. France – Sciences Po Paris
95. USA – Univ. of California, San Diego
96. Brazil – Univ. de São Paulo
97. The Netherlands – Technische Univ. Delft
98. USA – Univ. of Southern California
99. USA – Univ. of Texas, Austin
100. Switzerland – Univ. Basel
101. USA – Texas A&M Univ.
102. Sweden – Karolinska Institutet
103. Switzerland – Univ. St. Gallen
104. France- Univ. Pierre et Marie Curie
105. South Korea – Korea Adv. Inst. of Sciences and Tech.
106. USA – Rice Univ.
107. Hong Kong – Univ. Of Hong Kong
108. Spain – Esade/ Univ. Ramón Llull
109. Brazil – Fundação Getulio Vargas
110. Ireland – Trinity College Dublin
111. Japan – Waseda Univ.
112. Great Britain – University of Warwick
113. Israel – The Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem
114. USA – Ohio State Univ.
115. USA – Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
116. Mexico – Tecnológico de Monterrey
117. USA – Univ. of Virginia
118. USA – Case Western Reserve Univ.
119. Canada – Univ. of Waterloo
120. India – Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
121. Mexico – Univ. Nacional Autónoma de México
122. France – Univ. Paris-Sud
123. Japan – Osaka Univ.
124. South Korea – Pohang Institute of Science and Technology
125. China – Nanjing Univ.
126. China – Zhejiang Univ.
127. Germany – Technische Universitat Berlin
128. USA – Washington Univ. in Saint Louis
129. USA – Georgia Tech.
130. South Korea – Seoul National Univ.
131. USA – Purdue Univ.
132. Israel – Technion Israel Institute of Technology
133. Japan – Nagoya Univ.
134. USA – Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
135. USA – Univ. of Pittsburgh
136. Taiwan – National Taiwan Univ.
137. USA – Univ. of Arizona
138. Russia- Moscow State Univ.
139. Taiwan – National Tsing Hua University
140. Singapore – Nanyang Technological University
141. Sweden – Uppsala Univ.
142. Denmark – Tech. Univ. Of Denmark
143. South Korea – Yonsei Univ.
144. Italy – Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa
145. India – Indian Institute of Technology kanpur
146. Hong Kong – The City University of Hong Kong
147. China – Harbin Institute of Technology
148. Norway – Univ. Of Oslo
149. India- Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
150. New Zealand – Univ. of Auckland