Of increasing university places in Singapore

Recently, there has been talk asking the Ministry of Education to increase the number of places in Singapore for undergraduates. MOE has chosen to not increase places at the moment, instead asking questions that make much sense, like whether there is enough capacity for more graduates in this country.

Seeing how some of my friends haven’t found jobs yet – I’m a fresh graduate, class of 2011 – I, too wonder if giving more places make sense. What if we increase the number of jobless graduates? Would one day the average graduate have to do work that doesn’t require the standard of a degree? Or the analytical skills that comes with it?

I saw a post today on TOC that asks a valid question. Why do we bring in so many foreign talent on degree passes then? Are they taking up spaces that could have been given to a local graduate from our universities? But then the other voice calls back, and asks, does giving people the chance to become graduates necessarily make one smarter? It is undeniable that people are different. Some are born smarter than others, or nurtured to become better. At the entry stage before they enter universities, they might have been smarter than us. If, after going through university, those foreigners are smarter than the additional X% that we allow to enter our universities, then what now?

As long as the additional X% don’t do as well as foreigners, it makes no sense to shut foreigners out totally and increase spaces for more undergraduates. And, seeing how some of my coursemates and juniors always scratch their heads and feel so demoralized whenever the semester ends, I wonder if people academically weaker than them would have a better time? It’s an exaggeration but, it does seems a little torturous to put academically weaker people in that position where they cannot grasp the concepts, get pass degrees and end up not finding a job.

If, these X% ends up working in lower paying areas comparable to before they had a university education, then where does the education benefit them? You pay fees but your pay doesn’t increase, does it make any investment sense?

This post sounds elitist, but I am not trying to be one. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but it makes sense. Unless we realize that foreigners we bring in would be lousier than the X%, then we got a foothold to base our arguments upon. But that is a matter of perspective. In the interests of our nation, I think any foreigner who cannot do as well as our lousiest graduate ought to be send home – that is, after all, a matter of survival; survival of the fittest at work.

So then, will anyone write articles or do case studies to show that the foreigners brought in are lousier? Will anyone hit the argument where it is needed most? Surely if we continue whining, everyone would treat you as noise, and you have no one to blame but yourself?

And to show a different point other than the number of university positions, I want to raise an example. I didn’t get a scholarship, and lots of foreigners are getting scholarships. In a way I thought it was right for the companies not to offer me on when I had applied, as I was not as smart, mature or far sighted than those peers of mine that made it there. And if it was any comfort, I think I did better in life than I would have been if I took up a scholarship and got bonded. There’s always people smarter than me, I accept that. Time for us to face the truth too.

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