In a letter to the ST today, Han Liang Yuan, Director, Corporate Communications of MOE gave another figure to state that 67% of foreign scholars scored high honours or better than the 45% mentioned by Sim Ann. The latest number is based on the 2011 graduating cohorts. It also said that Sim Ann will be making a clarification in the next parliament sitting.
What we would like to know is how Singaporean scholars performed in the same cohort of 2011 compared to the foreign scholars. The comparison must be apple to apple. Also, the statistics given should cover at least 10 years or more to give a better reflection of the situation. Statistics of just one year will only tell the picture of just one year.
But the real issue is not how well the foreign scholars are performing. The claim that foreign scholars are doing better and thus deserving of the scholarship is the same trend of thinking as as that of Baey Yam Keng, that our taxpayers money should be given to anyone anywhere, based on merits, or as long as they can do better than our children.
I am sure the statistics will show that there is very little difference in the performance of our local talents and the foreign talents as far as scoring high honours is concerned. There could be a few exceptions. Generally, our local scholars will also be able to get as many high honours as foreign scholars, proving that the foreigners are not that better. But this argument is superfluous.
I may only be guessing. But given the thousands of straight A students in every cohort of local students, plenty of them will be able to get high honours, and plenty of them are deserving of scholarships based on merit from our taxpayer’s money.
We can do some charity and share some goodwill by giving scholarships to deserving students from other countries. But we must not forget that our taxpayer’s money must primarily used to benefit our own children, or the bulk of it should go to our children. Another data that Sim Ann may want to provide is the number and sum of money given in scholarships to our local students and to foreign students in our local universities.
The govt is accountable to the people on how it spends our taxpayer’s money. Anyone who wants to give his money to support foreign students in their studies is most welcomed to do so. Please use your own money to do it. Do not use the taxpayer’s money as if they belong to your grandfather and do as you please.