Hsien Loong’s NDR speech on education and jobs

Singapore not only has high ranking universities but also world class polytechnics producing the best graduates a 1st World Education System is expected to do. We bent backwards to accommodate the pseudo requirements dictated by the ranking agencies to gain top rankings. We brought in plane loads of foreign academics and foreign students at the expense of our local academics and students just to look good on the charts of international rankings. We even over built our needs for universities to cater for foreign student intakes.

Where is the result? What is the result? Why are the employers and recruiting agencies screaming on top of their voices that they can’t find good graduates from the citizens and die die must import foreigners, even from 3rd World countries and unranked universities, including graduates from the streets of 3rd World cities with a piece of paper from printing machines, to replace our highly ranked graduates that went through a proper academic regime, the best in Southeast Asia and among the world?

This unsaid problem is finally acknowledged quietly with the setting up of two committees, the Tripartite panel to promote skills-based career advancement led by Tharman and the Applied Study in Polytechnics and ITE Review Committee chaired by Indranee Rajah. Presumingly they are going to review the education system so that our graduates are useful and good enough for the industries.

The biggest contradiction here is that our graduates are practically worthless compare to those from the 3rd World. That is why our graduates’ ambition is to be hawkers or taxi drivers while all the top and well paying jobs go to talented graduates from the 3rd World. What is wrong?

I would like to recommend the members of the two committees to visit India to learn from them. India does not have any high ranking universities. They don’t need this kind of recognition or farce. Their graduates are in demand in the West and heading many of their top MNCs. And we are also seeing great values in them and are recruiting them en mass to replace our top university untalented graduates. India does not have to waste money and resources to recruit foreign academics and students to boost their rankings. The value is in eating the pudding. And all the employers and recruiting agencies are getting the best employees hailing from India.

That is the first thing the two committees should do, head for India and learn from them. India has the right formula. Our education system has failed in educating our students and preparing them for employment. If we continue to open the door indiscriminately, India alone could provide us all the top talents that are needed to run this country and the industries, to take over this island of no talents, despite the high rankings of our universities that we spent so much money to attain but practically worthless, a name on a shit of worthless paper. Opps, I mean a sheet of worthless paper.

What is so good or so wrong with our education system?

Kopi Level - Yellow


Anonymous said...

As usual, close the stable door when the horse has bolted. Is it any wonder, Mr. Goh Chok Tong, that the bonds with the government have loosened?

Anonymous said...

India is a country of over a billion people. Singapore has only 5.2 million. Of course the talent pool in India will be larger. Furthermore the students of India are leaner and meaner because life in India is harsher than in Singapore where students have gone through a life of maids and servants and all the comforts. In Singapore rote learning in the norm and regurgitating all the theories onto the examination papers would bring straight As*. Singaporeans graduates do not get real life experiences and are totally clueless in the real world. Maybe it is not the students but the methods used in universities that need an overhaul. Furthermore the Indians recruited from the Indian sub-continent are more hard working than most Singaporeans. They come from tougher background, unlike the Singaporean workers who are more demanding and less diligent.

Anonymous said...

As always, money can buy anything.

In olden days in China, you can even buy a position in Government. I think it still happens today, not only in China, but in many other countries.

Just legalise it, like legalise and unlegalised gambling. What is the difference? Gambling is gambling!

Anonymous said...

There is a gap between good education and employment. PM should know that if government allows MNCs to employ based on their preference, they would want cheaper labour and those who who do not need to serve NS during their work. So even we do agree that Singapore Education System is number one in SEA, this does not translate to jobs. Government has made these students less marketable. It is like they are being tied up and asked to run the race with others. Do we need million dollar ministers to realise?

Anonymous said...

First they deny there are problems.

When the opposition pointed out the issues, they are dismissed as nonsense and sensationalising the issues.

Then they will quietly go about changing and correting the mistakes that they originally deny in the first place.

Then they will tell us that it was their idea and credit is all theirs. What a shame!

Anonymous said...

Huat ah... leemember, onlee papigs can deliver goodies, lead daft 2 the promised land.

C 4 yourselves, the land of abundant
Experience 4 yourselves, no impoverished homes, no gutters, ghettos.... foreign talents r make welcum, separated from daft.. own supermarkets, playgrounds, accommodation, to prevent the daft mentality from poisoning n polluting the mindset of ft.

Vote 4 papigs 4 ever,

Papigs.. votes for them.

From a proud papigs supporker.

Anonymous said...

If our education and degrees are worth what is on paper, all the employers and govt agencies would be rushing to lay their hands on any local graduate they could get. They would only look to foreigners when there is no more graduates available.

What is happening is that they would rush to employ foreigners, including daft govt agencies, and only if they got no choice would they recruit a local graduate.

This is fools' paradise. The local fools would soon be replaced by the foreigners. And they would not know why?

Anonymous said...

Look at RB, just his writings alone, will you say he is lazy? And many Singaporeans are like him, very hardworking and very productive.

Who is pinning this lazy and choosy tag on the Singaporeans to make everyone, including some of you here, to think that Singaporeans are a lazy lot, want big pay and do not want to work?

Who started this myth to degrade Singaporeans who have been well know for hard work and quality work? Singaporeans got saboed by Singaporeans.

Anonymous said...

To mee it's too little and too late. The damage has been done. The PMET job market has already been largely captured by FT and no amount of whatever committee work can reverse the trend.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 10.33 and with another who said that the PAP is trying to close the stable door when all the horses have bolted.

What is the point of setting up this committee and that committee? Like wayangs and getais, they have lost their purpose at this stage.

Anonymous said...

Something is already seriously very wrong with our Sinkie degrees and talents when there are not even enough Sinkie graduates and talents willing to join the Sinkie opposition and be ready to be govt.

If Sinkies can't even fight and replace PAP to get their rights, how to fight the foreign talents, u tell me lah?

Hence it is no surprise when Sinkie graduates and talents are replaced by foreign talents for jobs, tio bo?

b said...

The sg gov is not perfect, not the best but also not bad. Comparing to many first world countries gov in eu, the sg gov wins both thumbs up against those losers in eu. Being a gov is not about giving what the people wants and forgetting the big picture. A balance has to be achieved. It is not an easy task.

Anonymous said...

Dear Red Bean,
I appreciate your blog. I don't think anything is too wrong with our education system (in terms of skilling students, but yes there is room for improvement in that area) - though I'm more troubled by the inequality it is perpetuating. The issue is complex - and I suspect that it is the way we link our education system, to the economy, to the roles we assign people in schools and in their jobs. The problem you mention is not so much that we do not have enough good people, it may be that they don't come as cheap as those in the third world. That's what I suspect.

Anonymous said...

Statistics confirm that the Sinkies are cheaper than foreigners. Claiming Sinkies are expensive is a fallacy, a myth created to undermine the value of Sinkies. But more impt is for foreigners to control the employability of Sinkies.

You are right. There is nothing wrong with the education system. It is the neglect of our people, allowing foreigners to discriminate against our people, preference for foreigners that is the problem.

Our pantat got screwed without knowing why.

Anonymous said...

It's because of money that's why foreigners were hired. Money changed hands when foreigners were hired. The process got easier when these foreigners occupy senior positions and the trickle turn to torrents but our ministers are still clueless.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 8.30pm,
I think Singaporeans demand for what is due to them given the high standard of living here - and we have every right to do so. Foreigners (I mean those from the poorer countries like India, not so much the west) are willing to accept less. But other than that, I think we both agree more than disagree.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Thank you for speaking from the heart.