Stephen J. Appold
Department of Sociology, National University of Singapore
10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260


Singaporean universities have had to adapt to dramatic changes in occupational structure.  As elsewhere, scaling up to meet increased labor demand may endanger educational quality.  Short-term incentives can overpower long-term pedagogic concerns leading to institutional decline.  The conflict between immediate and delayed gratification combined with a lack of information about the long-term effects of instruction provide incentives that privilege the short-term.  The labor market, on the other hand, reacts to the long-term characteristics even if that reaction is delayed by a reputation hangover and possibly masked by overheated labor demand.  The effect of that reaction could be to deny resources to the institution, hastening further decline.  Models of lean production suggest that appropriate feedback available to empowered employees can overcome the situation.

Presented at the Second Symposium on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 2002, Center for the Development of Teaching and Learning.  National University of Singapore, 4-6 September 2002.

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