Support from the Government
Frankly speaking, SMU would not be where it is after 18 years, if it would not have been for the unwavering support by the government. Yes, they are challenging and they have their own objectives and their own expectations. But overall—and I travel a lot —there are very few governments in the world that have such an unrelenting commitment to education. And not only at the university level, but also at other levels. Of course, that unrelenting commitment is translated in resources, the financial resources that the government makes available per undergraduate student, not for the masters students which are all full fee-paying, but per undergraduate students there’s a significant commitment by the Ministry of Education and by the government as a whole.Secondly, I am quite impressed by the willingness of the Ministry of Education to let us experiment and to let us be different. This whole concept of an autonomous university whereby we are, on paper, a private company—I mean a company by guarantee that has the right to grant degrees by an Act of Parliament and where we have a performance and a policy agreement with the government—it’s a very interesting way of organizing universities because it ensures that universities are aligned with the goals of the country. But at the same time, it gives the management of universities sufficient freedom to run the place the way the management wants to run the place.