Singapore International Education Hub and Its Dilemmas: The Challenges and Makings for Cosmopolitan Learning

Dr Hannah  Soong3

3School of Education, University of South Australia, , Australia

Higher education in Asia is massifying at an exceptional pace and scale. In this paper, I ask how practices and discourses which inform the internationalisation of Singapore’s higher education can provide opportunities for developing cosmopolitan learning that it claims to provide. Cosmopolitan learning is closely related to cross-border student mobility and plays an important role in shaping the international students’ identities, aspirations and worldviews. Based on a recent study in Singapore of a group of international students from various parts of Asia and Europe, this paper attempts to bring the theoretical and grounded realities of cosmopolitan learning in an Asian context into the fore. The aim of the paper is to provide a useful frame for rethinking the purpose of international education for cosmopolitan learning in an increasingly interconnected world that is strewn with ambivalence, and what that means in the context of Singapore as an erudite nation-state critical to building Asian education hub aspirations.


Dr Hannah Soong is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, University of South Australia. Hannah’s research explores the nexus between education and migration, and her current research publications and projects lie in the empirical studies and theorisation of transnational mobility of international students, migrant teachers, and the impacts of parent’s aspiration on their children’s education and wellbeing in Australia and Asia.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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