Can we afford to produce so many graduates?

We have three state universities and several local and joint universities in our little city. And each has been increasing their intakes of undergraduates rapidly. And we have several polytechnics as well. Then we also have students going abroad on scholarships or on their own to pursue that degree. In total, it is quite possible that 40-50% of each cohort will turn up with a degree and another 20-30% with a diploma. Can our economy absorb all these graduates and keep them usefully and meaningfully employed with reasonable jobs and income commensurate with their qualifications? Employing graduates in jobs that do not require their level of education is not satisfactory and not a desirable solution. In order to accommodate all these graduates, there must be a policy change to make it workable. The liberal policies of welcoming foreigners that are no better or even less well educated or trained as our citizens must be modified. If we are serious in wanting to raise the educational level and technical expertise of our citizens, we must have the capacity to absorb them into the system. The liberal policies of employing foreigners for middle executive levels and above need revision, including setting quotas for local versus foreigners. If the job market is to be lassez faire, the unfair competitiveness of foreign talents will only rule out the employment of local graduates and we will be building a little time bomb in the social fabrics of our society. There will be a political and social price to pay. Answering to the demands and expectation of parents and individuals to want a tertiary education is one part of an equation. Satisfying their higher expectations in jobs and lifestyle is the other. The first part is being accomplished with the availability of more university and polytechnic places. Looks like the second part of the equation is still unsatisfactorily managed and will build up more stress in our system. The young and unemployed graduates and the displaced PMETs will be a force to be reckon with.


Wally Buffet said...

Your message is loud and clear but it is too polite.

We are sitting on a social destabilizing time bomb if nothing is done IMMEDIATELY to address the issue of unemployed Singapore graduates.

Everyone aspires to a university education. Upon graduating, some are unemployed not because there are no jobs but mainly as of now, because these jobs are mostly taken up by foreign trash willing to accept third world salaries, abetted by greedy employers out to raise their bottom line. The obscenely liberal immigration policies further add fuel to fire. In fact, some of the credentials used by these trash are fakes, from non existent universities or bought from degree mills. Even their work experience as stated in their CV is suspect. The ICA needs to look into this with a fine tooth comb. To do otherwise is to perpetuate a great disservice to Singaporeans who expect their leaders to look after them first before others.

Anonymous said...

On top of having many highly certified citizens with diplomas and degrees, SIN Leaders have been constantly calling on its' inhabitants to 'upgrade', 'upskill' and other 'positive' exhortations. The kwai kwai sheeples have been swallowing those exhortations without realising that their obediences had fed into an existing VICIOUS CYCLE of that of structural unemployment. And the Leaders have not been able to provide or create jobs for the graduates.

The Leaders get the people to go for better qualifications BUT there are no job for these said people to be employed. What does this amounts to? My answer is; those that listened to the Leaders screwed themselves for believing the Leaders. And the Leaders are still misleading the SINple.

Forget about Degree and Diploma, learn how to survive first. It just make no sense to get oneself highly educated and qualified to have no employment to earn a living.


Anonymous said...

In the end it is all back to square one.

When every HDB flat is upgraded, every HDB flat is going to fetch a higher price. Who actually benefits the most? Asset enhancement is therefore just a Red Indian Pipe dream.

When every young Singaporeans goes thru University, a degree is no more a passport to an ideal job. Skills upgrading is just like the smoke from a Red Indian Pipe, floating in the air, but useless even if you can catch it.

And so, every Singaporean gets into the act of upgrading for the sake of unpgrading, as dictated by the dictators.

In the end, we find ourselves standing still. We are still trying to play catch up with rising costs. Nothing moves. Square one it is.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Upgrading, price inflation, high property prices, high medical fees, tuition fees, all is based on the assumption that the future generation or the next bugger can bring out more cash to pay for it. And as in all economic and financial formula, the bigger and faster the growth or expansion, the quicker it will lead to a bust.

We still believe that pricing our flats as high as the next sucker can afford to pay, wait till the music stops. The house of cards will come crumbling down. It must.

The sad thing about providing an expensive tertiary education to our young is if we cannot provide them the jobs that can pay them for what they have put in. We need the high paying jobs. That is what upgrading is all about. Go get a higher degree, and it is fair for the graduates to expect higher income.

What is the point of upgrading and getting a lower paid job? What is the point of a tertiary education to be a taxi driver or a salesman or a waiter?

When the aspiration and expectation are not met, you can expect disappointment and disenchantment.

Worst when the places are taken up by foreigners. How to answer to the parents and the young who strived and paid for the degrees?

Anonymous said...

Maybe our degrees are really worthless.

Matilah_Singapura said...

The whole idea to get a job -- any job is better than no job.

When times get better, so do employment possibilities and choice.

Right now there is alot of uncertainty in the world. If I were a young grad, I'll be voicing my opinion for sure, but I'll also be addressing the economic need and not play "The Victim" and start blaming everyone else on heaven and earth.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

When 40 to 60% of every cohorts are tertiary educated, professionally trained, you need a concerted policy to provide jobs for these grads. And after paying so much, and attaining tertiary education at great costs, the higher expectations are naturally and extinguishing them and their hopes for a better life will only invite troubles.