James Cook University opens US$3.5m campus at Upper Thomson

Australia’s James Cook University opened its US$3.5 million campus at Upper Thompson on Thursday.

It has plans to double its student enrolment in Singapore to more than 2,500 students by the end of next year.

When James Cook University first opened in Singapore in 2003, it had 50 students. Now, it has 1,200, of whom about 60 per cent are foreign.

This stands as a stark contrast to the University of New South Wales, which pulled out in May 2007, citing poor demand from the region.

Lt Gen John Grey, chancellor, James Cook University, said: “We’ve grown because we did it slowly. We started at the Spring Building and we worked very slowly to build our base up, and understand Singapore and work with government officials.”

Speaking to Channel NewsAsia at the opening ceremony, Mr Anthony Byrne, Parliamentary Secretary to the Australian Cabinet, said the university would build bridges between both countries.

James Cook currently offers 15 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. It will be launching a Master of International Tourism & Hospitality Management programme later this year.

The James Cook University is just one of several Australian universities which have been expanding their presence here in Singapore. Others include the Curtin University of Technology, Murdoch University and the University of Adelaide.

With more foreign students arriving and more polytechnic students aspiring to go to university, foreign universities have been integral to meeting student demand.

Currently, some 16,000 students attend courses offered by Australian institutions in Singapore. This number is expected to grow as Singapore fulfils its vision of being a global school house.

Source : Channel NewsAisa – 4 Sep 2008

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