singapore as an education hub
we are strategically located in a region with a 3 billion population, flanked in the north by northeast asia and vietnam, india in the northwest, indonesia in the south and our asean neighbours. being the most highly developed country and a very admirable education system, it is a right move to position ourselves as the primier education hub of the region. we have both the hardware and software to turn this into a reality. we capitalised on our infrastructure and an english language based education that made ourselves very attractive to the prospective students. over the last few years, enterprising businessmen have jumped onto the cue initiated by the govt and a whole list of public and private schools and their supportive businesses mushroomed overnight. we became an instant education hub. foreign students poured into our city and schools in search of academic excellence. the govt on its part has contributed tremendously in various way towards this same objective. just as we are about to reap the fruits of our labour, cracks started to appear. schools started to close down leaving students in the lurch, uncertain future and money lost. students were cheated by accommodation providers and placement agents. just as fast, we earned the nasty reputation of being unreliable, equivalent to third world countries. foreign students no longer feel safe to study here. all the parents become very wary of the singapore trademark. the damage has been done, and very severe, it has dealt a punishing blow to the education industry. it will take a long time to heal and to regain the sparkling image we used to be associated with. the culprits that done the harm were simply brushed aside, treated much much better than bus cheats. these people who cheated foreign students in the thousands are not threatened with jail sentences or punitive penalties. all these added up very unfavourably to our reputation. it is high time that the industry consolidate itself with more govt interference and self regulation to get back on its feet. yes, in this case govt interference is sorely needed to bring about some semblance of order and confidence among the schools, service providers and students. the question is, how could something so good gone so bad and so fast in this efficient city?