In praise of non grads – What’s the agenda?

University degrees not necessary have been trumped around for a while with ministers talking about better prospects as hawkers and crane drivers and being more desirable. What’s the point of a degree when you cannot eat it or cannot get a job? After what was spoken at the NDR, the praising for non uni grads, particularly poly grads, took on more steam. It is like everything about university education is wrong and the future is in poly grads and non grads. There is no doubt that poly grads have an important role in the economy and some could do very well. They were the stars during the semi conductor era when Singapore was a manufacturing hub and many rose to become CEOs of multinationals.

Things have changed, jobs have changed, the employers have changed, govt policies have changed, and the new animal, foreigners, have dominated the employment scene as employers, recruitment agents and as the preferred sources of talents. We have seen many PMEs being booted out of their jobs in their primes and unable to find another job as the foreigners took over. Our local university grads are found to be either dumb, not smart enough or trained to unemployment or with unsuitable marketable skills.

And we have something like 6 universities and more joint universities instead of just the Singapore University and NTU. This could be just one of the reasons, over production of graduates. Like Douglas Chua said in the ST forum, education policy needs a rethink, ‘it has either been overdone, resulting in an oversupply of graduates, or its current benefits are not as relevant to our open, pragmatic economy’. This is a most surprising statement from a forumer.

What the hell is going on? The govt does not know what it was doing and messing up education again? On one hand, so many universities were set up and on the other hand saying there is an oversupply and we don’t really need graduates from the universities but poly grads or non grads?

I can think of another reason. Since our local graduates are not marketable or employable, and our citizens are good only in technical and lower management jobs, and only foreigners are good and preferred for top jobs, yes, it is only pragmatic to cut down on university education. We don’t need so many local graduates and universities. We only need to import all the talents that we need. I think this is a good policy. We can then either close down a few of the universities and save some money and land. Or perhaps these universities can be turned strictly into commercial enterprises, be self funding and self sustaining, with the highly paid foreign lecturers and professors being paid by the fees from foreign students. The scaling back is good and natural. We would be self sufficient in having local hawkers too, not dependent on PRC hawkers. And we can go back to the days of SU and NTU to provide the few grads we need.

Do I make any sense? Are we really going to go the non uni road, to produce more non uni grads and be dependent on foreign uni grads for our top jobs, management jobs?

What do you think? What is the new education policy? What are the employment opportunities for our average local talents, the Ah Bengs, Ahmads and Aruns?

Kopi Level - Green


Anonymous said...

RB, I think this might be the future for Singapore. Admittance to universities are strictly for foreigners only. Locals can learn up to Poly. All PMET jobs will go to foreigners and locals will fill up the middle level i.e. taxi drivers, soldiers to protect the PMET, technicians and site supervisors. The lowest level jobs like construction, road work, rubbish collection will go to citizens of 3rd world countries.

Anonymous said...

Your analysis is spot on again. There are very few jobs available and whatever available are at the low end paying 2 to 3000 a month. Slightly more than 30 years ago!

It is cheaper to import FT graduates from India and Philippine as they produced better graduates than waste time for local uni to game the ranking system by spending a large sum on foreign lecturers and students. I will see we scored very high on there two measurements.

The only exception is SMU cause they are not ranked hence no need to play this game.

Anonymous said...

Another reason could be GE is coming so this segment has to be bought over as 40% of the cohorts ended up in poly. We have the pioneer package to please the oldies, single hdb to please the singles now this to please the poly and ite graduates. This in marketing is called segmentation where u design strategies to focus and please the specific segment of the population,

Anonymous said...

fear not fear not......

our education system can be very very simple.......

do away with A level......

O level straight into diploma courses......

those want to proceed and meet the grades can join the universities....

ite graduates can join the diploma courses......

what so difficult.......


Anonymous said...

"In praise of non grads – What’s the agenda?"


Despite lots of Sinkie grads around, there are still much more Sinkie non grads than Sinkie grads, tio bo? So must make Sinkie non grads happy mah.

And come election time, more happy non grads means more votes for PAP tio bo?

So this is the agenda lah. If Sinkies, whether grads or non grads, still cannot see this, then they are really daft and deserved to be replaced by foreign talent grads, maybe even fake ones!

Anonymous said...

AnonymousAugust 27, 2014 9:06 am
In PE BE Jan 2013, four parties contested. Two gate crashing parties' SGs lost their deposits despite one of them coming from a VERY FAMOUS dad and with impeccable pedigree. He is an economist with a First Class Honours degree from a World famous UK university, not unlike Li KAN U in terms of his alma mater.

Alas, if TJS or rather SFP gate crashes in next GE, just like what he did in 2012 PE, likely costing TCB his well deserved victory, would the outcome be like PE BE in 2013, thus losing his deposits and credibility or would it be like the PE in 2012.

From the lesson voters gleaned and gained from PE in 2012, it might have caused significantly the astounding result of a neighbourhood formal "N" level student and eventual pte uni ( Curtin ) marketing graduate "ah lian" BEATING soundly ( 54% to 43% ) a TOP GUN ass hole ( colorectal ) surgeon hailing from the incumbent and HEAVILY suppported and backed by their top echelon during campaigning. Maybe his boss thought voters were really daft and his REPEATED proclamation on stage that he was on "their sides" scared the shits out of them.

For the new SFP, other than Dr Ang and the shortie guy, the rest look more like supporting cast making up the numbers.

There is a high likelihood "bookies" may be taking punts more on PE BE 2013 outcome than PE 2012 in the event SFP gate crashes " AGAIN " in the next GE.

Sinkieland's politics, on the stage of human civilisation and history, is VERY short. It is still evolving. The members of the main cast in the first phase are sealed in history without any doubt.

Historically, future main cast members may be thrown up under most unforeseen circumstances and unexpected ways.

In destiny, circumstances and even based on astrology, TJS and co may not be the anointed ones in the future main cast.

Based on the economics policy stand for sinkieland, even KJ's approach, style, attribute and pedigree may be closer to what voters are looking for than TJS.

This is just plain sharing, discussion and opinion to throw up further brainstorming.

Pls feel free to disagree and share further thoughts.

天若有情天亦老, 人间正道是沧桑。


Anonymous said...

Wa, like that ah, PAP in 2015 or 2016 is definitely loved by more Sinkies than the PAP of 2011, tio bo?

So don't be surprised if PAP can score better than 60% next election, with Hainan Ah Kor or even Teochew Ah Hia parties all wiped out.

What are the percent chance of this happening? More than 93%?

Anonymous said...

Most graduates do recognised that
career paths and start salaries
of ite, poly and degree graduates
will be differentiated.

This is not the issue that our
graduates cried about.

The real issues faced by ite,
poly and degree graduates are
rising cost of living, sky high
property prices, etc etc etc.

They feared for their future!

Anonymous said...

Anon.9.07 am /// do away with A level......

O level straight into diploma courses......

those want to proceed and meet the grades can join the universities... ///

Ano 9.07am, politically this is VERY the TIOK! If bases on PE BE 2013.

"N" level ah lian proceeded to poly and the pte u ( Curtin )

Beat the kachng ( colorectal ) surgeon Ah Koon hands down despite the incumbent BIG GUNS 站台 for him and went all out during campaigning to shore up this ass hole ( colorectal ) surgeon. In the end, top medical grad lose to former N level education path ah lian. Mai hum "jin lao kui"! On stage said " on voters side" but in the end, do YEW think the voters are as daft as painted by Li Kan U and take his words as the gospel or hardtruth?

Did the voters not do this "┌∩┐" ?

Anonymous said...

ANON 9.15am....I like yr analysis.

I just had my usual morning thick coffee without milk and the delicious "Lor Mee" at the coffee shop.

My friend Ah Huat guessed the next GE will be 3 JAN 2015.

Can it be?

Anonymous said...

fuck lah .... papigs speaking from experiences n sincerity

n u find problems with every issue raised

... the smrt; scholars n generals leading the coy into a cesspot

... temasick inc. .. big pool of highly educated making huge profits ... but also losing mega bucks; wonder who are laughing to the bonks

... aiyah ... no time to bullshit daft

Anonymous said...

You know what I think?
When PAP starts praising non-grads.
This means they can no longer give our Singapore university graduates good jobs anymore.

If I have children.
I definitely will vote for Opposition.
Even if I have no children.
I will vote Opposition to support our young Singaporeans.

Ⓜatilah $ingapura⚠️ said...

Ultimately THE MARKET will determine what you are worth -- with or without a degree.

You can only earn what others (the ones doing the PAYING) think you are worth...or you can enter politics or organised crime where you can demand what you think you are worth, and PUNISH those who don't agree and pay up ;-)

Very soon those "cubicle jobs" will start disappearing as robots, automation, algorithms and networked systems take over. i.e. if you are not "entrepreneurial" or "innovative" or "relevant" there'll simply be no job for you!

Anonymous said...

Please don't talk market market when you don't even know what is the market.

Anonymous said...

So we voted for PAP and we become maids in our own country! Well done PAP!

oldhorse42 said...

Me think the Roy guy has every thing to do with this re think of our Uni education and the 360 degree about turn.

One Roy could do so much damage to Govt's credibility.

Just imagine what could happen if there are more Roys who are university educated, social media savvy, discontent and felt left out in this affluent society where the wealth is tightly controlled by a small select group of cronies.

This will certainly come to pass if our many univerties continue to churn out graduates with little prospect of good paying jobs for them.

Anonymous said...

Don't talk about this a policy implemented by PAP first. Or foreigners, or whatever.

Lets look at it simply as a trend in future that whatever your background, education, you might not be an elite, still there is a possibility for you to rise through the ranks.

Or maybe, lets imagine this as a new policy implemented by an alternative govt in the future.

So good, no good?

I see plenty of people speaking out against elitism here, yet still do not seem very supportive when the non-elite are given a chance to rise?

Maybe lets keep our diploma and ITE where they are? Never give them a chance?

b said...

The world is not fair lah. Moreover, no one guarantee that being a graduate will be better off. Many non graduates are in fact property tycoons in china working as construction workers previously. Education is a scam to keep the young ones busy, drain their creativity and create jobs for those intellectuals who refused to sweat out under the sun. Is Jesus a graduate or self taught?

Anonymous said...

Good thought. Let's all be Jesus. If cannot, be a preacher in CHC.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 4:15pm

Good idea. Just not having Sun Ho as wife can liao...

Anonymous said...

What did Jesus produce?

DOE Administrator said...

Hi redbean,
Can I ask for your permission to reproduce this post titled "In praise of non grads – What’s the agenda?" on our education portal www.domainofexperts.com ? We shall cite Chua Chin Leng as the author, and make explicit mention that it first appeared on your website. Hoping to hear from you soon! :)