Quality undergrad education must be priority here

Partnering with top universities is certainly not a simple matter (S'pore's R&D: Expensive lesson or worthwhile investment?; April 16).

Besides the problem of different cultures and traditions, there is the issue of a lack of deep roots and an anchor.

I agree that good research universities do not always deliver good undergraduate education.

Anyone familiar with the university ranking exercises will quickly realise that they can easily be gamed, if a university has enough money.

Paying top dollar to top-notch scientists and laying claim to their publications can easily drive a university up the ranking ladder.

The best undergraduate universities in the United States are not research powerhouses.

There is a perception among some that many of the top research talents hired in Singapore's universities do not teach undergraduate classes and have minimal teaching loads. Yet, they contribute to the relentless upward pressure on the cost of undergraduate education here.

Quality undergraduate education is of importance to Singapore, and this should remain the primary task of the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.

Lim Sai Kiang

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2017, with the headline 'Quality undergrad education must be priority here'. Print Edition | Subscribe