Sunday, June 03, 2007

UNSW finally starting to do the right thing?

Hi Friends,

From the Australian media, UNSW has apparently come out with a substantially improved package for those UNSW Asia campus students who had fallen victim due to UNSW's poor management decision and its subsequent flip-flop.

UNSW may finally be taking the correct steps to right a wrong.

I do not think my comments to UNSW ( which I wrote to UNSW or someone close to it) had anything to do with this turnaround?

I said ( in comments in my blog),

“It is a moot point but this wouldn’t have been necessary if UNSW had not pulled the plug.

I am sure famous case studies like the "New Coke" market failure and how Johnson & Johnson dealt with the aftermath of the Tylenol poisoning episode showed all of us how to behave in a damage control situation.

Those students are victims- overwhelm them with “goodies” so that UNSW would come out of this smelling of roses. How many students are there?- 143 plus foundation students and UNSW seems tardy and reluctant to assist them unreservedly. Why split hairs about non-Singaporeans and Singaporeans? Think about the goodwill gained if they get more than they asked for! Anyway it is a once off and UNSW is unlikely to do any silly things like this in Prof's lifetime right?”
End of quote

Now UNSW would not be labeled as being “Penny Wise-Pound Foolish” and these latest steps may go some way in repairing its damaged reputation.

So, is the EDB going to come clean too? Damage control lessons like the J&J case also applies for Singapore Government agencies.


Dr.Huang Shoou Chyuan

The article

UNSW to assist Singapore campus students
The Age June 2

The University of NSW will pay students up to $85,000 to study in Sydney after the collapse of its Singapore campus.

Up to 148 students who enrolled at the campus will have their travel, visa and accommodation costs in Sydney covered by the university until the end of their degrees, with students to receive as much as $85,000 each.

The university will compensate a further 126 students with return airfares to Australia and a year's housing after the collapse of the Tanglin campus, which may end up costing the university more than $40 million in lost revenue, compensation and redundancies, Fairfax reports on Saturday.

The university had anticipated first semester enrolments of 300 and the shortfall was expected to cost $15 million in revenue.

UNSW Vice-Chancellor Fred Hilmer said the university had spent $17.5 million on the campus before it opened.

An Australian academic, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Fairfax many professors had given up senior positions to move to Singapore.

He said the reputation of UNSW and other Australian universities had been damaged by the collapse.

"UNSW has killed off any hope of ever marketing itself as an international university, certainly in our lifetime," he said.

"It has been a monumental mismanagement."

UNSW student representative council president Jesse Young said it was a disappointing waste of taxpayers money that could have been spent on the Sydney campus.

A team of people from the university have flown to Singapore to help students with visas.
© 2007 AAP


Aaron said...

It amazes me that a doctor knows more about PR than their PR officer. They really could have come out of the episode unscathed, but they completely botched it.

nofearSingapore said...

Hi Aaron,
Yes if even a doctor knows better than their PR people, the old outfit must be in bad shape!
The latest I heard from people in the education circles is that the whole scene will start to get ugly when UNSW start to point fingers and lots of dirty linen gonna be exposed!
I hear one side is trying to seek legal redress to get back money that was blown away.

Anonymous said...


"one side is trying to seek legal redress to get back money that was blown away."

Which side? We have a lot of money blown away and the government does not seem to be anxious enough to seek legal redress to get those money back.

nofearSingapore said...

anon 2.28:

Akan Datang ( Coming soon!)
Perhaps the EDB is checking with their lawyers and revealing how much they think has been lost now would put them in a weaker bargaining position in the court-room. But all this is conjecture only.

rse said...

I think UNSW was hoping to get away scott-free, and the situation would blow over. Alas, that was not to be. The Australian press started baying for blood.

Hence all the frenzied damage control now.

Anonymous said...

there's many things the Singapore govt could have done for transparency and better PR... but they still have the "God" syndrome, as set by a certain Old Guard in the government.

And coming upfront would be to admit to making a mistake... our govt never makes mistakes right?

and once u make a mistake, you must own up and take responsibility...surely, none of them can do that right?

Think about it - The cock-up over Shin Corp purchase, the Biotech cockup with John Hopkins, the cockup with Virgin, the cockup over HK Telecoms purchase...just to name a few.

The GST rise, the ministers' pay increment - all these would be better accepted by the citizens if the govt really explained themselves well - and with humility.

we dont make mistakes, our govt only do re-thinks or U-Turns, i think.

Clarence said...

Coooool, it's great that you wrote to them even if it's none of your business. Singaporeans are really becoming more civic-minded!

And yes, the right thing. I'm glad for the students (or rather ex-students) of UNSW Asia. I hope all's well that ends well for them.