The top and foremost responsibility of the Govt is to provide good and affordable education for the people. Tsk, my first sentence is already flawed when people argued that with so many loans, financial assistance schemes and bursaries available, our students need not come out with any cash outlay to study in our universities. It would be better to say that they can study for free, like my mother used to say, govt hospitals are free, can pay by CPF, no need money.
Back to my first principle, the Govt’s responsibility to its people, the tax payers, the people that will defend this country in the event of war or crisis. It is very painful and disgusting to hear of Singaporeans, fully qualified, with distinctions, with very good grades but unable to find places in our local universities. And the parents, some are able financially, some have to sell their homes or take loans, to send their children overseas. And the sickening cause of this, many university places were given to foreign students.
What is our govt’s responsibility to these foreign students that ended with our children being pushed aside, our citizens being discriminated and have to suffer financial obligations when they don’t have to? Does our Govt owe an obligation or duty to educate the foreign students? Is the Govt doing an international social duty to provide some places to foreign students? Or is provision of university places for foreign students a way to up the rankings of our universities? Or is it a revenue generating source? This is unlikely as many were here on full scholarships, fees and lodging and allowances.
Look at the practices of the European countries, the countries that we always used as our role models. Why are they accepting foreign students? Are they doing so at the expense of their own people? If I am not wrong, many are doing so to generate revenue. And they have spare capacities to do so without compromising the interests of their citizens. The least thing in their mind in accepting foreign students is for their rankings to look good. If this is the reason, it is plain silly.
If we want to take in more foreign students, by all means, go ahead, to make money, to provide more vibrancy and diversity, but never do it at the expense of our own people. If the foreign intake is going to be big, increase the capacities. If this cannot be done, then don’t do it. There is no greater reason to take in more foreign students only to force our own to study elsewhere. For those who have the means and wanted to study overseas, as a matter of choice is irrelevant.
Let’s treat our people well. Our people are deserving of a good education at home, first. Foreigners must be second. If need be, build another university for the foreign students, and funded by the tuition fees. And whatever ‘subsidies’ the Govt chooses to provide.
Singaporeans first must be real and seen to be real. Talk is cheap and the Govt will have to pay the price for neglecting the interests of its own people and for frolicking with foreigners. The Singaporeans are not daft. They know what is good and what is bad for them, especially when their pockets are hurt real bad.