Singapore plans to allow a major foreign university to set up a campus in the city-state as part of its bid to capture a bigger share of the international student market, officials said yesterday.
"We are talking to a few serious contenders. They are from the US, Europe and Australia," said a spokeswoman for the Economic Development Board (EDB), a government agency tasked with luring foreign investments.
She declined to give details.
The Straits Times reported yesterday that the new university would accomodate up to 15,000 students -- 70 percent of them expected to be foreigners -- and offer undergraduate courses in competition with local universities. The fees would be similar to those charged in the foreign university's home country, the newspaper said.
Singapore also plans to allow a few private secondary schools to open up and admit foreign and local students alike, it said.
High schools are now fully run by the government, which wants to overhaul the educational system. The private high schools will be given greater liberty to design their academic programs than state-run schools.
The Straits Times said Singapore is aiming to triple the number of foreign students here from 50,000 to 150,000 within a decade, with Asian students particularly Chinese as the main target.
The global market for international students is estimated to be worth US$2.2 trillion, with Australia currently grabbing a large chunk of the Asian market, including Singaporean students.
The EDB also wants to bring in high-profile specialist schools like the London Institute, which includes fashion and arts colleges, as well as the French culinary school Le Cordon Bleu, the report said.
At present, Singapore only offers limited post-graduate courses run by elite foreign institutions like France's INSEAD business school.