October 25, 2005

Letter to the Editor–Warwick Boar

The Warwick Boar, 24.10.2005

Dear Editor,

I picked up on Warwick’s “Singapore fiasco” a little later than others, but now that I have, the choice of Singapore as a destination for providing Warwick with the much-needed “international profile” baffles me. The issues about freedom of expression and academic enquiry that are at the heart of the controversy were always there – why the Council failed to realise the stringent Singaporean rules regarding this earlier eludes me. Moreover, is Singapore really a viable destination to tap into a large potential market for overseas students?

In my opinion a much better option for an international Warwick campus would be India. To begin with, there are already hundreds of Indian students at Warwick which makes the institution quite familiar among student circles there. Then there are the beauties of freedom of expression and democracy which Warwick can benefit from. Moreover, set-up and operating costs would be much lower in India, both due to the cheaper cost of living and the availability of well-qualified academics in eminent institutions there. General levels of English proficiency are yet another factor in its favour.

David VanDeLinde would be much better served by shelving the Singapore idea and refocusing on a Warwick India venture.

Aruni Mukherjee, BA History/Politics, Final Year

- 4 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Slight problem, in that the only reason Warwick looked into creating a Singapore campus was that the Singapore Economic Development Board offered funding and made the initial proposal to the university. Without that, there wouldn't have been any consideration of the overseas campus at all. It's all in the article. Much as Warwick India might be a good idea, it would be a completely different proposal to the one currently under consideration.

    25 Oct 2005, 17:46

  2. Yes, and I was suggesting shelving the current proposal all together and approach the Ministry of Education in India. Universities such as Cambridge and Oxford have already successfully opened local franchises which offer parallel courses, albeit nothing remotely close to a full-fledged campus. Given the impetus the current government is giving towards upgrading higher education, Warwick might just find that it is welcomed in cities like Mumbai and Bangalore, given Warwick's corporate flavour.

    25 Oct 2005, 18:28

  3. It's certainly possible—better idea than the Singapore proposal, anyway. It strikes me as pretty unlikely that the Indian government would make a similar offer to the Singaporean, though, and I'm not sure Warwick should make a habit of opening overseas campuses.

    26 Oct 2005, 22:30

  4. The Indian government will be less pro-active, i.e., it may be prepared to give tax breaks and cheap land, but it will not go out of its way to invite Warwick (since we already have an established and diverse higher education system that attracts many foreign students). Indeed, Warwick will face stiff competition for students from the Indian Institutes of Management (IIM), the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) and the establishes universities.

    However, the market is huge- because fees will be lower in Warwick India vis-a-vis in the UK, and India being a highly price elastic market, response will indeed be massive. The foreign brand is also quite attractive among the Indian middle classes.

    Perhaps Warwick could begin by starting a specialised centre such as the English Language Teacher Education (CELTE) or the Warwick Business School. But it's definitely a doable and potentially profitable venture.

    27 Oct 2005, 17:42

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