Sim Ann reported that 45% of foreign scholars got second upper or better degrees while Singaporean scholars only managed 32%. Is this proof and justification that the money spent on foreign scholars is the correct one? I am not going to dwell on the merits and advantages of spending millions of public money on so many foreign students instead of spending on our own children. I am not going to whine about spending money on other people’s children than our own.
What I am questioning is the quality of our local scholars? Are they really that bad? From past records, all local scholars are the cream of their cohorts and each would have a string of straight As in O and A levels. Some were even so good that they were allowed to skip the O level. And only 32% made it to second upper? Our straight A students, 68% could not get a second upper? Is there something wrong?
Who are these scholars that made up these statistics? Are they the same equivalent of the foreign scholars, with full scholarship as the foreign students? We need to know the make up of the statistics. If the quality of our local scholars is so bad, then their O and A level results is suspect, or the university grading is suspect. There can be some deviations from the norms, with some scholars getting themselves into problems or losing interests in their studies. But these are extremely good students to be awarded the scholarships and most of them are expected to do better at least a second upper.
68% getting less than second upper is unacceptable. A 20% or at most 30% getting less than second upper may be more reasonable. So, what is wrong with the statistics or with our education system? Can we have more information on what the data is made up of? And I am not even querying on the statistics to include our overseas scholars. It is reasonable to compare our scholars in our local universities and those foreign scholars here. I am not comfortable with such pathetic results of our local scholars. If scholars, I mean full scholarship offered by the govt or GLCs, could not even get a second upper, then something is drastically wrong. What kind of straight As or near straight A students are we having when they turned out to be less than second upper material?
The govt should save the money if the scholars are unable to perform. But it doesn’t mean that we should throw our money to train other people’s children and say money well spent. We need to know more about the statistics to get a better picture of the truth.