The Singapore government is fully committed to the success of the Yale-NUS College, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday at the ground breaking ceremony on Friday.
The first college bearing Yale's name in 300 years, the new institution, which is in collaboration with the National University of Singapore, came under media spotlight earlier this year as some faculty members from the U.S. campus expressed concern over Singapore’s lack of support for civil and political rights.
Addressing an audience from Yale, NUS and a batch of college students at NUS’ University Town, Lee said that diversifying Singapore’s tertiary sectors is crucial to meet students’ wider interests and society’s changing needs.
PM Lee said that he hopes Singapore’s first residential liberal arts college will not only give high-calibre Singaporean students another option to pursue degree at home instead of going overseas, but also attract top students from the region.
He noted that many high-quality applicants have already turned down overseas places to study in Singapore.
The prime minister also believed that the new college will not be replica of Yale, but will be a “bold effort to create something new and different”.
Since its launch, the college has already recruited over 30 faculty around the globe under the leadership of Professor Pericles Lewis, who was named Yale-NUS president in May.
The new campus officially opens in 2015. The first batch of 150 students will start classes August at NUS University Town.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and several Cabinet members have increased the pressure on Indonesia to take control of the haze situation.