The paradoxical usefulness of ‘useless’ higher education

Dr Adrian Kuah, Director of Futures Office at NUS’ Office of the President, and Senior Research Fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at NUS, wrote that when British moral philosopher Mary Midgley asked how “useless” academic research and scholarship should be, she is making a crucial point that knowledge creation is an inherently messy business, one in which what started out being denigrated as useless could turn out to be useful and transformative. He opined that we need a balanced higher education system in which we have our feet on the ground and our heads in the clouds.