NUS was among the 15 leading Asian universities which formed the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA) to collectively address regional and international challenges in higher education and the economy, as well as in terms of scientific and technological advancement. NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Professor Tan Eng Chye represented NUS at the launch of AUA on 29 April in Beijing, China.
Speaking of NUS’ participation, Prof Tan said, “The alliance is a timely one where Asia is on the rise and we need to build upon the momentum. Higher education will play an increasingly important role in future Asian economies and there are rising expectations for universities to contribute more to enhancing national growth and competitiveness, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, and address major societal challenges.”
He added that the University’s participation would further deepen ties with member universities such as Seoul National University, Tsinghua University and University of Tokyo, with whom NUS has enjoyed multiple long-standing and productive partnerships. The alliance would also give rise to new opportunities for collaboration in the areas of education, research, as well as student exchange and learning.
The Alliance hopes to achieve several key objectives — promote the mobility of students, scholars and staff among all member universities; strengthen research collaboration and joint innovation, establish high-level dialogues and forums to discuss higher education strategies and policies; and to compile and publish annual reports on Asian higher education. Prof Tan shared that working in collaboration, members of the alliance are able to detect trends which are likely to affect Asia, such as climate change, rapidly ageing societies, the need for healthcare system transformation and the increasing impact of technology.
“Our mental construct of a university education has to change,” highlighted Prof Tan. “In this VUCA [volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous] world and age of technological advancement, we need to prepare our students to be future-ready and to encourage a culture of lifelong learning where our students as well as graduates can learn and adapt as they develop their careers.”