"Elite" students of Yale-NUS will now be forced to mingle with "commoners" at NUS

Aug 27, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership

Singapore - Yale-NUS College, a liberal arts institution set up by Yale University and the National University of Singapore in 2011, will cease to exist in 2025.

NUS, in a press release on Friday (Aug 27) morning, said Yale-NUS will merge with NUS' University Scholars Programme (USP) to form a new college that will open by August next year (2022).

In merging the two schools, NUS said it aims to bring together the best features and extensive experiences of USP and Yale-NUS.

The New College - a placeholder name for now - will seek to continue the legacy of world-class interdisciplinary liberal arts education.

NUS initiated the merger

On its news site, Yale University said NUS announced its intention to withdraw four years in advance, which gives current students the chance to complete their undergraduate studies as planned.

The affiliation agreement signed in 2011 between NUS and Yale has always given either party the opportunity to withdraw in 2025, said the Connecticut-based university.

Most students, however, did not expect the the merger.

Charlene, as well as a group of other Year 3 students from USP, were “quite concerned” at first about their graduation certificates, and how the new college would affect their prospects in the future.

“We were all very very surprised by this, we definitely didn’t see it coming,” she added.

For Jordan (not his real name), who is Singaporean but has lived overseas his whole life, coming to Yale-NUS was a dream - and he “didn’t even think about other schools”.

He expressed concern about applying for jobs in the future, as he thinks employers “will have to do some digging” for background on his university.

Ailing Yale a hurdle to NUS ambitions?

Globally, NUS and its Singapore counterpart, Nanyang Technological University (NTU), is ranked 11th and 12th respectively in a league table of 1,300 univerisities. Both universities are also named Asia's best universities in the 2022 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) annual higher education ranking.

Yale university is currently ranked 14th, up 3 spots since the 2021 edition.

NUS and NTU also ranked well globally in specific subject areas.

The two local universities had 24 degree programmes in the top 10 globally - 16 from NUS, eight from NTU.

QS evaluated around 5,000 universities, taking into account factors such as academic reputation, standing with employers, faculty-to-student ratios and citations per faculty.

By attaching itself to a poorer performing brand, NUS risks getting its elite reputation muddled with mediocrity.

And in Asia, anything or anyone performing poorer than you is mediocre.

S'pore firm develops first Omicron-specific testing kit

Dec 06, 2021 | 🚀 Fathership
Home-grown biotechnology firm BioAcumen Global has launched Singapore's first Omicron-specific Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) kit.

This means that a person taking the test will receive one of three results: Covid-19 positive and Omicron positive; Covid-19 positive and Omicron negative; or Covid-19 and Omicron negative.

Currently, PCR kits here that are capable of detecting Omicron require an additional gene sequencing step to confirm the specific variant. This takes an additional day.

Some PCR kits, such as those currently in use by medical technology firm Acumen Diagnostics and biotech firm MiRXES, are able to detect both the Delta and the Omicron strains, but to confirm if a positive case has been infected by Omicron, gene sequencing is necessary.

Mr Jimmy Toh, director of BioAcumen Global, said: "We are looking at ways to cut down the steps and time needed to run this test. This is crucial, especially at the borders where accurate tests need to be done on-site. There is no time to wait on sequencing results to know if a positive sample is infected with Omicron."

Mass production of the kit has begun, and the BioAcumen Global team hopes this kit will provide much needed help locally and in the region for the surveillance and control of this new variant, Mr Toh said.