That’s not my opinion. That is what I thought is the message that is being sent to all Singaporean students who get rejected by Singapore Universities. It is a message that has been around for quite some time, but nobody at the upper deck believes that change is necessary.
I recently read the post by DK about the NTU Triple Sharing Hostel plan, which eventually got scrapped. The solution DK suggested is a simple one, which is to reduce the number of foreign students in NTU. It is very logical because the reason why there is a huge demand for halls is largely because of more foreign students entering our universities today. Local students do not create such a huge demand because we are fine with not getting halls. We still have a home to go to isn’t it?
The problem with all these is that here in Singapore, we have double standards. If you have been a student long enough, you should know by now that we take an active stance in recruiting students from places in Asia, including China, and we give them an education here in Singapore, sponsored by the Singapore Government. They will probably need to serve a few years of bond, and can go anywhere after that.
What does this mean? We feel that such foreigners are talents and classify them as foreign talents. They will eventually power our science and technology sectors and bring forth recognition and wealth to Singapore. However, this begs the question: Can’t we find suitable talents in Singapore?
After all, Singaporeans who have lived in Singapore all these year should be our first class citizens isn’t it? We are more loyal to our country, and we will probably live and die here. Foreigners, on the other hand, do not feel the same loyalty to our nation. They see Singapore as a stepping stone to greater heights. After all, who will say no to a free education + expenses in Singapore, touted as a good place for education, especially in South East Asia?
Let’s talk about cost in algebraic sums. Let the cost of the university education be $U. For local students, we pay $S, a subsidised rate. Thus, the government pays $(U-S) in subsidies for Singapore students. For foreign student without government support, they pay $U in full. For foreign students supported by a government scholarship, the government pays $U in subsidies.
Surely $U > $(U-S). This means that it is better to invest more on foreign talents, than invest money in nurturing local peasants for higher education. So if you can’t get into a university, it means that you are not worthy enough to qualify for even $(U-S) in subsidy, and they would rather pay someone else with no loyalty to Singapore $U (excluding expenses!!!) to study here.
Now I think that is sad. Is our country going to be a country with Singapore citizens or foreign ones? In fact, are some talents, talents? Or are they people with a mask on them, showing their good side whilst their hidden intentions show that they are going to leave after getting all the benefits?
Let’s not forget my current University-mate in the same course as me, a PRC student who recently got convicted for hacking into RJC’s servers. Well, he is still in school, and is probably on a scholarship. What does this mean to me? It mean that there are double standards. You can get expelled for copying a lab report, but you will not be expelled for hacking, which, in my opinion, is a worse offence.
And we talk about building a fourth varsity. A liberal arts college. Look, this new college is not to cater to Singapore students. It is going to be filled partially (how partially I do not know. 70% is also partial) with foreign students. That I am willing to bet on.
Now since we have a problem with getting enough Singaporeans into university, why not we take the better and cost effective approach? We can jolly well lessen the number of foreign talents we take in, and give them to our peasants! We pay less in subsidies, and we can get more peasants into university! A good deal I would say.
Let’s not forget that Singaporean students who go to other universities pay the full fare. They do not have the chance of getting sponsored by the host government. Singaporean students are also ending up in Australian universities anyway. Why not let them benefit from staying in Singapore? Why force them to go overseas for an education that may be seen as substandard compared to our local universities?
I don’t understand, and I probably never will. All I know is that there is talk about brain drains due to top brains leaving Singapore, but nobody looks at the reasons. The reason is simple: A Singaporean citizenship means nothing. You are but less worthy than foreigners who have the right to leave Singapore after leeching the benefits. You know what’s the irony? All these years of brain washing in our education system, it’s supposed to be forging a national identity, but I guess the actual thing that is happening is that we are showing that our identity is to be foreign.