Jun 13, 2007

An Old Post of Mine

Here's something I wrote in April last year, on my old blog, about university admissions. Seems that it's still quite topical:

Stupid Title

The ST Forum has a letter from the Ministry of Education which tries rather unconvincingly to argue that foreign students in our local universities do not actually displace any Singaporeans.

Regrettably, the title of the letter - "Varsity Place for Every Singaporean Who Qualifies" is already stupid. If you cannot see the circularity of the statement, just compare it to phrases such as "Vitamin C for Everyone Who Eats an Orange" or "Death for Everyone Who is Hanged" or "Child For Woman Who Gives Birth".

OF COURSE every Singaporean who qualifies for a varsity place will get a varsity place. The question is - who should qualify? What is the criteria? How many varsity places are there? How many of those varsity places go to foreign students? How any varsity places are left for Singaporeans to qualify for?

I don't know why it is so difficult for them to admit that every place that went to a foreign student could have instead gone to a local student. Why can't they just admit that, and say that nonetheless they want to admit a certain percentage of foreign students per year, because there are certain benefits blah blah blah.

Instead they keep making statements like:


However, [the local universities] must continue to attract high-quality foreign students, while providing places for every Singaporean who qualifies for admission

. ... statements which implicitly, stubbornly and stupidly deny the plain, obvious fact that:

(1) the number of Singaporeans who can qualify for admission

is directly affected by

(2) the number of varsity places actually available to Singaporeans

which is directly affected by

(3) the number of varsity places given to "high-quality foreign students".

Full text of the letter below:


April 26, 2006
Varsity places for every S'porean who qualifies

I REFER to Mr Tan Thiam Chye's letter, 'Varsities: Talent-centred or citizen-centred?' (ST, April 24).

Our universities are Singaporean institutions whose objective is to serve Singaporeans. The Government's first priority in university education is to provide an affordable, top-quality education to citizens.

The three universities - National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore Management University - are already admitting one in every five local students to their undergraduate programmes. We are committed to increasing this to one in every four local students in a few years' time.

We are also significantly increasing bursaries and study loans to Singaporean students who need financial assistance.

Our universities are reviewing their tuition fees for future batches of foreign students, with a view to widening the gap between local- and foreign-student tuition fees.

However, they must continue to attract high-quality foreign students, while providing places for every Singaporean who qualifies for admission.

Good international students create vibrancy and diversity that will benefit and spur on our own students, and ensure that they receive a quality university experience.

Likewise, the universities must attract the best faculty they can get, Singaporean and foreign.

Without this international orientation, our universities cannot be the first-class institutions that Singaporeans deserve.

Lim Chee Hwee
Director, Higher Education
Ministry of Education

69 comments:

A breath of time said...

There is this very provocative viewpoint I am going to present. Say there is no quota for foreign students, and admissions for Universities places are purely based on merits.

Say 1% of China's annual 40 million college students applies to NUS alone. That will be 400,000 applicants. And equating top 1% of Singapore to top 1% of China, how many Singaporeans do you think can make it to local Universities based on their own competitive merits? Then you must also think of Malaysia, India, Indonesia, etc.

The next point I am going to make is not about forigners. At least, no as provocative as above.

If everyone who scores 3 Cs and C6 for GP are allowed into NUS, NTU, SMU, regardless of how many they are, can EDB provide the jobs 4 years later?

The value of a degree is because it gives better job prospects, and supposedly gives you a good job. If every tom dick and harry holds a degree, what do you think will happen to the value of the degree? If it does not have the expected value, will the people feel cheated? Will they complain again 4 years later?

Next point, are local grads able to get jobs overseas as easily as overseas grads (FT and open door policies) in the countries where we accept their degrees with hardly any questions asked? If not, why would you want a local degree?

Final point. Considering the above, plus the fact that every tom dick and harry in India probably walked into a 4th rate Indian University to come out with some weird degree, would it be better to arm our citizens with a degree for globalisation needs?

Makes it a very difficult economic decision when the big pictures come in.

EP said...

Actually, the statement isn't as stupid as it sounds. Students may qualify for NUS or NTU, but they may not want a place. Look at the recent news: students who are accepted into SMU Law turned down the offers.

It's more like saying: A child for every woman who is capable of bearing one. It's a matter of choice for those who are able/capable.

Anyway, I have always found this argument about foreign students taking the places of local students rather hypocritical. Many Singaporeans will be more than happy to study at some famed overseas university like Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford etc., forgetting that they will be the foreign students taking the place of local (i.e. American or British etc.) students should they qualify, and yet complain about letting foreign students into our Singapore universities.

Are we that parochial in mindset?

Mr Wang Says So said...

EP:

I think you missed about one dozen key points there ... Here are some:

- Singaporean citizens who DO get a place at Harvard, Yale etc AND can afford to go, are probably not the ones complaining

- Singaporean citizens who DO get a place at Harvard, Yale etc and CANNOT afford to go, will nevertheless make it to NUS, SMU or NTU anyway

- Harvard, Yale etc are not subject to US government policies on admission criteria, in the same way that NUS, SMU and NTU are -compelled- by the S'pore government to make sure that at least 20% of the students are foreign

- Harvard, Yale etc do not operate on US taxpayers' money, whereas NUS, NTU etc largely run on Singapore taxpayers' money

- there are about 2,600 universities and colleges in the US, of varying standards, for its students to choose from.

Whereas Singapore has only NUS, NTU and SMU, all of which are aspiring to be "world-class". At this rate, Singaporeans either have to be "world-class" or "non-graduate", leaving no room for any citizen in between (unless they can afford to go to Australia or Canada or the US or elsewhere for their studies)

Mr Wang Says So said...

- Singaporeans who go to Harvard have to either pay their own way, or get scholarships (which are NOT funded by US tazpayers' money)

fence-sitter said...

So instead of Harvard, Yale, Princeton let's then look at UCLA, UC Berkeley and U Michigan to just name a few. These are public/state schools which see a sizeable population of Singaporeans (my brothers went to UMich), and while international students pay a higher fee, they are nonetheless using facilities and amenities funded by the state, by taxpayers money.

I think NUS/NTU/SMU should open up to qualified foreign students, and having attended a US private college myself I found the diverse student body a tremendous plus. I don't think local universities should only be for locals - foreign students can add very positively to the overall experience. But not having gone through local Us I also can't say if foreign students are that 'incompetent' or cliquey as some have commented.

But I do disagree with the government approach of giving significant carrots to lure foreign students to study then work in Singapore. I think the priority should always be to support and fund locals - we shouldn't be throwing money at foreigners just for numbers.

Anonymous said...

Why don't u write something against the stooooopid idea of allowing cyclists to use footpaths meant for pedestrians? My friends and I were taking a stroll in ECP when a bunch of cyclists came toodling by. We all tried to get out of their way and in the hurry one of us tripped n toppled over. True, the cyclists didn't run us down but falls due to giving way to them in a hurry are more than likely to happen more often, once the cyclists can legally cycle on footpaths.. Auntie L

Old Water said...

Very simple why those nincompoops have become nincompoops. They drink too much NEWater, which is nothing but waste water from our sewage system, that contains pus, sputum, urine, faeces, menses, bacteria, germs, microbes, viruses, harmful chemicals, etc. etc. etc. So they have got Shiiiiittttt in their brains! Simple as that!

Ned Stark said...

Mr Wang,

I take it from your views that you are fine with foreigners studying in Singapore, as long as locals are not disadvantaged due to government intervention in removing financial barriers among other things; is that correct?

Anonymous said...

I think the government should not put university rankings and prestige above everything else such as the welfare of ordinary Singaporeans. While it is important for our 3 universities to attract global talent in the push for SG to be a educational and research hub, lets not forget we are a small country ultimately with very few varisities unlike US, China, India, and they are very few options if you don't get in. They always complain that talented SGporeans leave our country and don't come back, but sometimes within the country we are pushed to the corners in the name of development. We are more like an economic engine than a nation with people.

Jimmy Mun said...

If the foreigners pay anywhere near to a full fee, which can then subsidise the fees of a local, why should any Singaporean complain? But remember UNSW? Not that many competent foreigners are remotely interested in paying full fee to study in Singapore.

If they stop offering the special scholarships which are exclusive to the foreigners, and instead make the foreigners compete for the same scholarships available to all, probably 100% of those from PRC and the bulk of those from India will not even consider coming to Singapore.

If we make foreigners take the same 3 A levels + GP + Project Work + CCA + whatever, the proportion of foreigners will probably be in line with international standards, ie 5% and below.

And if diversity is the aim, why are we bringing in so many foreigners who are not remotely interested in interacting outside their communities?

Anonymous said...

These kind of assurance are meaningless and empty when one looks at the reality on the ground.
The only leverage Singaporeans have, to hold the government accountable to and look after the welfare of the citizens and not foreigners, is their votes.

Anonymous said...

To fence-sitter,

Let me explain how the situation in Singapore is different from that of the United States case, and how Singaporeans are discriminated against.

For example, at the undergraduate level at NUS, we keep 20% of our varsity places for Indian/PRC scholars. Everyone of these students get tuition waiver, guaranteed/preferential hostel room, and a monthly stipend.

There are many local Singaporeans at NUS who are equally smart (esp those from the USP/TDP program with equally competitive results - say, with 4 A-level distinctions, and Dean's lists at NUS). Mind you, there are a significant proportion of PRC scholars who are not even on the Dean's list.

However, few Singaporeans ever get comparable treatment from our own govt (tuition waiver + monthly stipend). And we usually have to work like a dog (in various ECAs) to get a room in the hostel (at least that used to be the case, before newer hostels like PGP are available).

Please point out an example of any U.S. university (whether private or state school) that discriminates against its local in-state or out-of-state U.S. residents in such similar fashion.

hash said...

I like to summarize first: i propose to double the university intake, but make the program more challenging, so only 60% survive after two years, and about half finally graduates. So more people got a chance to try, yet don't further inflate university degrees.

I am a post-grad student in the Engineering faculty of NUS. Nine years ago I came to Singapore to do my undergrad here under scholarship. According to Mr. Wang, I took away from Singaporean one place for university admission, and should be condemned for robbery. Let's put this matter aside for just a moment and look at how many university places there should be for Singaporean. Actually this is not just about Singapore. China has a similar problem, though at much larger scale due to her huge population. You may choose to pretend that we are talking about China in order to distant yourself from the dispute, it may help you get a better perspective.

In the government stats I read that currently about 1 in 5 students in each cohort is admitted in a local university. Is this proportion high or low? On the surface of it, you may say it's very low compared to the number in the US (77%), but please note that most of the 77% actually went to community colleges, which aren't full universities.

I am not an elitist, but I would say that only a small portion in a population has the passion and ability to study in a top-ranked university (which NUS/NTU claim to be). Though I am not an education expert, I would say that based on my part-time teaching experience at NUS, half of the students here should not have opted for university education. What's wrong with the other half? Well, one common problem is the lack of curiosity and critical thinking. For example, the most frequently asked question during my consultation hour is, "will I be penalized in exam if I do A instead of B?" I have gotten used to this, but I can't keep from failing these students deep in my heart, whatever grade they might get at the end of the year. This, along with many other stories, make me believe that maybe half of the current university students should really chose polytechnic or other professional education instead.

I might be wrong, but I saw the undergrad school here sliding towards a polytechnic, or even worse. Imagine an electrical engineering graduate 1) does not know how to change a bulb at home, 2) can't solder properly, 3) can't program, 4) never opened his computer box, 5) can't tell a capacitor from a transistor, 6) doesn't know which way to tighten a screw... Well, they are proudly educated by the top-ranked local universities.

If you think these are just simple stuff that poly students learns, try asking them to say a few words about partial differential equations, Fourier transform, Maxwell's law, or Markov chain. Most of them would tell you that they learnt all those before, but didn't what the heck those things are useful for, and don't want to deal with them anymore.

Will you go further and discuss on philosophy/math/physics/economics, etc with them? Probably not. So would you qualify them as students in top-ranked universities?

Simply put, what ever good grades students get in A-level exams, only a small proportion of them truly possess the passion and ability for university study.
With this wild estimation, maybe only 10% of the students in each cohort should be admitted to universities.

The vast majority would better go for professional training in a field of their interest. Note that I put passion before ability, because that's the more important factor. This is also the single biggest problem here: many (if not most) people aren't particularly passionate about any profession. Instead, they just the follow the popular pick in the street. Just look at the hike of civil engineering intake in late 90s, computer science up to 2002, and bio since 2001. I am pretty confident to say that many of those crying for university places aren't really passionate in studying (i mean to do it well, not just passing) in university. They just heard that university degree means better job/higher pay, and don't want be disadvantaged by not going to university.

What about the good A-level results? Mr. Wang says people with decent A-levels results that previously would secure university admission are now being rejected. I would suggest MOE to release some statistics index of A-level results. One particular figure I want to see is the standard variation of scores. If the variance is too small, then the exam questions did not sufficiently differentiate the good and less good students. In that case exam results may be inflated substantially.
Furthermore, good A-level exam only proves the student's capability in dealing with that exam, which is a highly specialized skill for that exam, and is much less useful later on in university/in work place. As a specialized skill, it can be greatly improved with specialized training. As this skill is highly demanded locally, the training for it is well supplied. This tends to inflate exam results also.

Finally, what do I propose. Solution number one is very simple (for MOE). We can simply upgrade all the polytechnics to universities. Tata! Overnight we have 5 more universities, and double the annual intake. Isn't it wonderful? This was what happened 5-6 years ago in China, and now you read reports about how university graduates (about 5 million in total this year) not being able to find a job because of mismatch in expectation and skills. So please, don't repeat this mistake.

What I really want to propose is the follows:
1. Strengthen polytechnics/ITEs as well as JC/secondary schools to improve basic education which benefits all (poor or rich). This also make poly/ITE more attractive options for those not able to get to Us.
2. Increase the intake of universities, but make it really challenging to finally graduate from them. Therefore, feel free to try, but be prepared to fail. To clarify how challenging it should be, I would like to see 10% of the students drop by the end of the first year, 30% of the remaining drop by the end of the second. For the four year engineering program at NUS, the 2nd year is indeed the most challenging. Dropouts may be fewer in later years, so I see about 50% finally graduate with B.Eng.

Let me conclude with a short note about the meaning of passion. It origin was pati in Latin, meaning suffer. Don't pretend that you have passion about something unless you are truly willing to make serious sacrifices in exchange for it.

Anonymous said...

Dear hash,

If all undergraduate PRC scholars think and write like you, I will be happy for NUS.

But you should have known from your own interaction that you are way better than the average undergraduate PRC scholar.

Anonymous said...

To anon 7.44pm

What is wrong with "menses" or more accurately here, menstrual discharge? This is the stuff that sustained you when you were a teeny winnie parasitic bugger in your mother's womb.

ah.heng said...

I would agree with hash. Raise the standards of our universities not by inflating the number of students, but by making it harder to pass.

Jimmy Mun said...

hash,

1) judging by your year of matriculation ~1999, you probably competed against the weakest batch of Singaporeans in years. Engineering was extremely un-hot in 1999.

2) go ask any of your friends working in a real company and see how many of them need to solve PDEs or Markov chains on a daily basis

3) NUS was very proud to teach out-of-date skills to her undergrads.

(My cohort, 1995, was made to learn Fortran77 (where were you in 1977?), on paper - we never saw any Fortran code run on a computer. I found some notes handed from seniors to seniors and realised that Fortran course we took was unchanged since the 80s. Fortunately for you, we were the last batch to do Fortran77.)

The undergraduate study is supposed to be just a mental workout. When you hit your first job, they will train you. That was the NUS model anyway, until it became incredibly easy to hire foreign talents. But if you can find yourself a real job, you will realise hardly anything you learnt in NUS is of use. Given your IA year was 2002 or 2003, I suspect you never left NUS even for IA.

4) It is true that most engineering students have no interest in the subject. Most Engin students are medicine, accountancy or even business rejects but thought better of themselves than to study Arts or Science.

But the opportunities available and the salary to someone with an Engin degree is profoundly different from someone with just a polytechnic diploma, even if the person had forgot everything he learnt in his four years. An incredibly brilliant diploma holder will still earn less than a mediocre degree holder. That's the way the system works here.

5) At least half of the poly grads end up degree holders, but they are forced to take an expensive route of going overseas to study or end up with a barely recognised distance learning degree. Even then, Singapore still brings in thousands and thousands of EP holders, all have degrees holders, though not necessarily from reputable universities, at minimum EP pay.

So I think Singapore can handle a whole lot more degree holders, especially if we are talking about locals here.

6) If you flunk a lot of undergrads, you will end up with a lot of people with just A levels. That's practically death sentence, career wise, especially since it is so easy and cheap to hire foreign degree holders.

Anonymous said...

I posted this in the previous post of Mr Wang.
You can call this the dual view to Hash's comments.

I will share a nice experience:

I obtain B. Eng with first class honors in the Dept of Electrical Engineering. Back then there were already tons of foreign students. Upon graduation, I naturally applied for admission to their SMA program (Singapore-MIT alliance). This program pays you a nice return airfare to MIT to take picture with MIT.

But they rejected me, but I do know they accept many foreigners for that program. In honesty, these alliances are a bait for foreigners to set foot here.

But appeal is no use, they give you one liner: oh we have strict criteria blah blah...

So, coming from a poor family, I ask myself Uncle Now Study Where ??

With some luck, I competed & enter the top private university in the USA for grad studies, with the help of kind folks outside Singapore.

A few years back, I met & chatted with a PRC student in the USA. He (1st degree not from NUS) graduated from that SMA program and is now a grad student in USA. Apparently, he worked in DSTA/DSO for 3 years upon graduation from SMA before coming to US. He said, 'i worked for the min...min..what'

Having dutifully served NS, I replied, `oh Mindef`.

All these A's at A-levels mean nothing lah, not even First Class Honors at NUS lah. Thanks Singapura and NUS for the experience!

PS: NUS, sometimes, I wonder how you might keep track of your FT beneficials who are in USA/Europe to pester them for donation? They don't get Tax Rebate what.

Jimmy Mun said...

BTW, I am very supportive of polytechnics upgrading to universities. I taught in a polytechnic, I know they have the standard. The polytechnic route has always been a punishment for those who failed to excel in English.

I wont worry about the poly degree holders not finding a job, because they track the industries' needs closely. It is NUS that will be in the most trouble, because it still teaches with an academic arrogance with little industrial relevance.

Which is why MOE bars the polys from turning into unis. To protect NUS from dying.

hash said...

A few side notes on university scholarship given to foreigners (including me).

1. Scholarship given to PRC/HongKong students comes from the GICs, not the government. Whatever you say about the relationship between the two. The scholarship does not come from taxpayers. Nevertheless we know that one cent spent on us could have been spent on local students, so I am sincerely grateful to Singaporean people. The scholarship, no matter who handed to us, is wealth created by you.

2. Singapore isn't alone in giving scholarship to foreign students. China is offering 11,000 scholarship awards in this year to foreigners. Please note this money comes from the Chinese government, or tax-payers. The local government of Shanghai and Beijing also offer scholarships to foreign students in universities. I can't find further details about who are the 11,000 scholarship awardees, but we won't be surprised to encounter, in the top universities in Shanghai/Beijing, foreign students from SEA countries, from Pakistan, from Arabic countries, from Africa, Caucasians and others from dont-know-where.
HongKong, notably HKSTU, is offering scholarships worthing HK$500,000 (S$100,000) to students from other parts of China. Please note that HKSTU is a public school under government funding.
Japanese government, since 1954 (just 9 years after the catastrophic war), offer scholarship to foreign students.
Korean government is also offering scholarship for university study to students from China, though the quota is quite limited.

Indeed, government of many countries are offering scholarships to foreigners. Singapore may be doing it at a larger scale, but please don't think you are alone.

3. The chosen students coming to Singapore were top performers in their respective schools before the came. If they sat for A-level maths/science tests, they will score very well. I've been to NJC for a semester, and I've tried math special paper problems, so I hope you don't take me boasting. I am not boasting, I am just very angry about the poor teaching quality here. During my time in NJC, I felt very sorry about the poor teaching. Having had learnt calculus already, I could not see what the lecturer had in mind. Please... Don't make students hate maths. It's not just maths. The GP teacher said everything less "you are stupid", but students were not stupid enough to understand that it is what she actually meant. Please... you are supposed to cultivate critical thinking, not to make us admit our stupidity and give up thinking. Return to the point, please recognize that Singapore schools/JCs aren't perfect yet. Top students from China, India, Vietnam etc could do as well as the top local students. How these scholars performed in university is a separate problem. I know better than you do how many dropouts there are among us. Yet a good proportion of us got 1st class honors. A few of them had C.A.P.>4.95 or even =5. Given an entirely new environment, the absolute freedom without buzzing parents, and many other factors, this diversification isn't surprising at all.

4. Upon graduation, those scholars are bonded for six years, which means they likely form family, and raise children in Singapore. Therefore, a six-year bond is drastically different from a three-year bond. I would call a three-year stay temporary, but definitely not a six-year one. A survey in 2002 was able to reach 45 out of 100 PRC scholars who came in 1992 (the very first batch) and still in Singapore. Try doing something similar on your JC alumni who are 6 years more senior than you, and you would agree with me that much more than 45 are actually living in Singapore. The survey showed that ~40% of them planned to live in Singapore further, although they had been cleared with the bond.

Mr Wang has always trying to promote rational reasoning, and I hope you can research more before you speak, especially when you have a large number of readers. I am not expert in scholarship matters, but I feel obliged, since I am one among the awarded, to clarify the popular misunderstandings on this, with my best (very limited) effort. If anybody has the will to research on this topic, I will assist with my full power. You can reach me at hash@huasing.org.

Anonymous said...

"He (1st degree not from NUS) graduated from that SMA program and is now a grad student in USA. Apparently, he worked in DSTA/DSO for 3 years upon graduation from SMA before coming to US."

btw, Singapore-MIT Alliance (unlike most other courses at NUS) does not require foreign students to be bonded to Singapore for three years. So, it's just free money for foreigners.

"All accepted students are automatically given bond-free scholarships". See Link

fence sitter said...

To the anon that replied to me - I think you are barking up the wrong tree. I am pro-having international students in local Us, I am however, NOT for the seemingly cushy financial support that pp are saying they receive, especially if it is at the expense of Singaporeans. I merely wanted to make a distinction between those two issues. And also counter the point that international students in the US are not funded by taxpayers' money. They are, just probably not in the rather disproportionate manner that is happening in Singapore.

But of course, I am also responding based on what people say - not from studying government policies or any first hand knowledge of Singapore universities.

hash said...

Hi Jimmy,

I start at NUS in 2000. I knew NUS Engineering has been sliding in the last few years of 90s, and I have been watching it sliding further and further. Getting in more students apparently isn't the solution to stop the sad trend.

I liked working with friends from poly-track very well. Many of them are smart, know the hands-on stuff very well, and work hard. I strongly believe they should receive much better pay. Paying people according to the scroll they are holding is a stupid bureaucracy trying to appear fair on the surface. If BEng holders can't prove their value, they shouldn't receive higher pay for wasting time and money in university. However, we have to face the sad reality here, and this is one reason why every one blindly wants to go to universities, no matter what.

btw, I am working on a 29k line Fortran77 program right now. I used to do programming with pen/paper in my secondary school years. Back then I was lucky to have 3 hours machine-time per week. Pen/paper programming was very good training, and is my precious happy memory.

Have spent the whole night typing, yet was too hasty to well organize my ideas. Really need to go back to work. Deadline's in a week.

EP said...

Mr Wang,

Indeed, I do agree with many of your key points. It is just that I do find many Singaporeans to be hypocritical. Whether or not these Singaporeans actually make it into a top university or a local university, or can or cannot afford to study in overseas universities are less of an issue. What is more relevant is the attitude. After all, everyone who discusses this issue, or blogs about it is not necessarily affected by the policies here in Singapore, but we all still talk about it and have our viewpoints.

Back to the issue: I am not quite sure about your assertion that the universities are compelled to have foreign students by the Government. The universities probably have their own rationale, which may or may not be in sync with the Government's. For example, the university ranking systems typically have a category that assesses local to international student ratio, giving more diverse universities higher scores.

Secondly, I believe the quota is a limit of 20% and not a minimum as you suggest, and that would be imposed by the Government.

Thirdly, no doubt, there are many other universities for US, UK students to choose from, but are they top universities? The argument still stands, people are being squeezed out because of competition.

Education for education sake said...

"If everyone who scores 3 Cs and C6 for GP are allowed into NUS, NTU, SMU, regardless of how many they are, can EDB provide the jobs 4 years later?"

This is the most wrong way of looking at education - as a way to provide manpower for the economy. Singapore has been doing that since independence - train the "right" number of graduates in the "right" discipline for the "right" economy (MNC-based). The result? Structural unemployment, the moment we find that our economy is wrong, and our prediction is wrong and we need to change the "righter" economy!!

The correct way to do it is education for education-sake. If 3Cs and C6 for GP are all that are required to successfully complete a university course pedagogically speaking, then yes, everyone with 3Cs and C6 for GP should be admitted. When they cannot find job, they will create jobs - as entrepreneurs. Or they will go overseas for PhDs and come back to work when our economy finally require phds (That's exactly what happened in taiwan back in 1970s. That's why they don't lack local PhDs 20 years later in 1990s). Or they will work as clerks and admin assistants (many such people in other countries have college degrees albeit from lousy universities. So what? The training of mind is useful in their work and they make better clerks and assistants compared to people who have no education, for example).


"The value of a degree is because it gives better job prospects, and supposedly gives you a good job."

NO!!!!!!!!!!
That's the value, from the perspective of a dictator, who treat humans as machines - why "I" want to spend money to send "you" to university, unless the education can result in "you" performing a certain job function for "me"> <-- mentality of a planned economy dictatorial type of nation aka sg!

University education is for liberation of the mind, training in logical thinking etc (which means every undergrad should study some humanities and philosophy). It is also for knowledge sake and for personal fulfillment.


So which thinking is correct? Well, we need only look at other countries which do education-for-education sake and our country which does the education-for-manpower-need version and compare the result. The result speaks for itself!!!

u s of a said...

THE TRUTH ABT EDUCATION IN USA
Fence-sitter,
you belong to those singaporeans who have gone to USA for studies (or in your case, your bro did), but did NOT make enough effort to mix around deeply enough to find out the whole truth, and thus end up spreading half-truth and half-lies all over blogosphere, whenever education topics come up for discussion.

I will enlighten you by reposting what I commented in another of Mr. Wang's post:

QUOTE
MIT admits only 8% of its undergrad population from overseas. It offers no loan, (and mind you, we are talking just abt loans, not even scholarships!) to foreign undergrads in their 1st year. Neither does the US government offer any loan (again, just loan, not even scholarship) to foreign students in any year of study.

And MIT is a privately funded university. In publicly funded universities, they won't even have a 8% quota - they will reserve almost all of their places to their own people. Eg. the University of X will reserve almost all places to residents of X, where X can be California or Michigan, or Washington etc. Oh, and 1 more thing. there will be enough satellite campuses (eg. University of California at berkeley, at LA, at San Diego etc) to accomodate a much higher % of each cohort, compared to sg's 20%.

And that's at the undergrad level. At the grad level, students WORK as assistant to either the university or to their professor and so receive a salary and/or tuition subsidy/waiver as compensation and that should not be confused with government subsidy at undergrad level.

And that's the truth about USA that some people (bart etc) always try to mis-represent, whether in this blog or other blogs, whenever education topics come up for discission!

I specially mention MIT because both NUS and NTU keep saying that they want to be like MIT - and not just in academic achievement. Tony Tan specifically said that he hope NUS alumni will follow the good example of MIT and Harvard alumni when it comes to donation!! So I did a search specially on MIT and you can do that too, and see for yourself how those sg government scholars of Bart type studying in USA think they can pull the wools over our eyes.

(Some people like to keep bringing up USA, as if USA is our lao3 da4, and we should behave like US's colony, imitating its every move. But the irony is, these people are not stating the the truth abt USA! Actually, we should indeed follow what USA is doing - those factual truthful things I mention in this comment!)
UNQUOTE

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang just to add

- If you get accepted into Harvard, Yale or Princeton and you cannot afford to pay, the financial aid office will cover ALL need. I have several friends who just graduated last month from Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Stanford who are NOT on scholarships but purely on financial aid.


- Please do not quote me, for I might be wrong, for the top US universities, there might be a "quota" for international students by country. For example, Harvard College accepts 2-3 students from China each year for and around 2-3 students from Singapore. Not withstanding, one is competing with students from ALL around the world - Egypt, Somalia, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Europe, Russia and so on. And Harvard has about 11% the student body (or around 176 places in a class of 1600 people) reserved for international students. Divide that by approximately 110 or so countries and you can roughly get the idea why there exists some sort of a quota either on a per country basis.

- If I am not wrong, there is about a percentage quota limit on international students at the ivy league, and I am not very sure why - It depends on college to college. I believe one of the reasons is that this restriction is to give preference to American students for a top class American education conditional upon receipt of federal research money and other grants. Then again, this has not really been made clear to myself.

- Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford (HYPS) can handpick the best students from each cohort that applies (which gives rise to the so-called "2nd tier "ivies".) If I am not wrong, if one's parents make less than 60,000 USD a year, the harvard education is free. This boils down to the quality of the student and not so much the ability to pay (theoretically) The top three Ivies are in very intense competition to lure the best and brightest students away to their campuses.

http://www.hno.harvard.edu/guide/students/stu6.html

http://www.yale.edu/opa/v29.n11/story2.html

http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/01/q1/0127-aid.htm

- At the University of Pennsylvania, admissions for international students are broken down into two piles - those who apply for financial aid and those who do not. These piles are considered separately. For further verification, contact Geoffrey See Kok Heng, Singaporean on Financial Aid at the University of Pennsylvania. Oikono.com

- Please do not forget about excellent public universities such as the University of California - Los Angeles, and the world renowned University of California - Berkeley. These universities are sometimes even harder to enter as an international applicant given as to how there is a strong preference for students from within the state of California itself and if my data is not outdated, the percentage of international students at such public universities, paying the full tuition price - is less than 3% of the student body.

http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/prospect/intl.htm

http://ias.berkeley.edu/siss/Prospectives/prospect_degree.htm


For further links and clarification:


http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2006/11/21/opinion/16683.shtml


http://www.admissions.college.harvard.edu/prospective/applying/stats/index.html


http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2007/04/24/news/18228.shtml


http://www.stanford.edu/home/admission/


http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/apply/admissions_statistics/2006_mit_admissions_statistics.shtml


http://www.world.yale.edu/admissions/index.html

jonathan said...

anonymous 4:38am is damn right. mr wang should really check up on his facts before rattling off about us universities, which he clearly knows nothing about.

jonathan said...

just to add, the ONLY 6 universities in america whose financial aid office is separate from the admissions office i.e. chances of admissions won't be affected by applying for financial aid, so you're considered in the same applicant pool as those who don't apply financial aid, are:

harvard
yale
princeton
MIT
williams
middlebury

certainly, not many singaporeans are able get a place at all anyway. too many of us, including me, grew up fed with the notion that studying ALONE would get us places in life. so i closed myself off when i was young to study... and found out too late that i had to be all rounded too. :D

jonathan said...

u s of a is COMPLETELY wrong about the demographics of student population in schools like MIT. they're as bloody diverse as you can get, and it's total rubbish that they reserve almost all their places for in-state students. it's complete nonsense. that may apply for less prestigious state schools funded by the government, but not the likeso f harvard and MIT.

and MIT's policy is to offer financial aid to all those who need it, including internationals. go do your homework before posting.

u s of a said...

> it's total rubbish that they [mit] reserve almost all their places for in-state students.

I did NOT say that and do NOT need to do any homework before posting. You, Johnathan on the other hand, should learn how to read before rudely ("do your homework"!!) lecturing me. I maintain what I say:

MIT admits only 8% of its undergrad population from overseas.

Now go learn how to read. (oh, by the way, MIT has a webpage. But alas, you can't read, so it is not of much use to you).

u s of a said...

Johnathan,
Mr. Wang does know enough about US universities and Mr. Anonymous (of June 14, 2007 4:38 AM) did NOT disagree or contradict what Mr. Wang said (he is merely adding on). It is YOU who do not know what you are talking about and rudely tick off Mr. Wang ("check up..before ranting") and I ("do your homework first") and strangely agreeing with Mr. Anon as if Mr. Anon has supported anything you said!!!

You should have your brain check up, because you do not seem to understand what other people are writing!!!

Let me explain:

Anon said: "If you get accepted into Harvard, Yale or Princeton and you cannot afford to pay, the financial aid office will cover ALL need."

...using funds from private donors, NOT government. As Mr. Wang noted, Harvard etc are private universities funded by private donor. So how did Mr. Anon contradicted Mr. Wang? How did Mr. Anon's writing show that Mr. Wang does not have enough facts about US universities?

Likewise, for all other points Mr. Anon made.

So what facts do you want Mr. Wang to check up before "ranting" (RUDE!) and what "homework" (RUDE again!) do

Oh, the homework of going to MIT's webpage to find out the statement concerning MIT's 8% quota on foreign students and that MIT does NOT provide any financial aid/loan to any foreign students? DO YOUR HOMEWORK YOURSELF! And do it quickly, before rudely lecturing us with YOUR wrong facts!

u s of a said...

Johnathan,
I wrote in my 1st comment: "Some people like to keep bringing up USA, as if USA is our lao3 da4, and we should behave like US's colony, imitating its every move. But the irony is, these people are not stating the the truth abt USA!"


Did that piss you off? Is that why you became so arrogant and rude? Or is it that your arrogance and rudeness stem more from you thinking that you know a lot about USA and can bullshit and chatise and tick us Singaporeans off?

I know that you posted your comment at 7:05am. You may wish to go take a look again at what time I posted my above comment. Oh, I may as well do YOUR homework for you: 4:12AM! (Now do I need to continue doing your homework for you by telling you what that timestamp means, or can you figure it out yourself?)

Bottomline: Stop your arrogant "(you people) clearly knows nothing about... do your homework.... before ranting" S**T with us.

1. WE know more than you know (you figured out that timestamp tingy yet?). 2. You are rude in the way you try to correct us. 3. But what is there to "correct"? You are wrong!

u s of a said...

Anon,
> there is about a percentage quota limit on international students at the ivy league, and I am not very sure why

You are absolutely right. And that Johnathan goondu somehow think I was wrong when I said MIT set an 8% quota on foreign students and he end up praising you, but chatising me and Wang when all 3 of us are saying pretty much the same thing! He really need to go do his homework.

But to answer you, I know why! Simple: Nobody is as crazy as our government!

For example, suppose YOU were to start a university - a private university, and you manage to get donations from singaporeans to do that. (not really that far-fetched. That's how nanyang university did that).

Now tell me, what is your purpose, aspiration, goal for doing such a worthy thing? What about those of your donor?

Is it:
(A) to accept the top 1% of students from all over the world (which means all from China and India, given their population?, or is it

(B) to help fulfill the aspiration of singaporeans and singapore?

Ivy Leagues, though private universities, are funded by donors and governed by a board that are not as crazy as our government! That's why!

Anonymous said...

BerKeley: "Unfortunately, THERE IS GENERALLY NO FINANCIAL AID AVAILABLE from the University to new international students. Also, please be aware that student employment is very limited".

Thanks to the earlier Anon for his most informative link: http://ias.berkeley.edu/siss/Prospectives/prospect_degree.htm

Anonymous said...

UCLA: "Admission to UCLA is highly selective in all majors. Preference is given to California residents, then to other United States residents. We are only able to admit a small number of international applicants each year.

Again, thanks to the link provided by the earlier anon: http://www.admissions.ucla.edu/prospect/intl.htm

commonsense said...

Why do some fools like to use USA to support PAP? USA is a full-fledge democracy. Commonsense will tell you that their citizens will never allow their PUBLICLY funded universities will behave the way NUS/NTU/SMU do!!!

Supporters should look to other dictatorial countries to find universities which do things similar to ours, not usa! Commonsense lah!

Anonymous said...

US of A,
Actually MIT does provide financial aid do foreigners, but as you have rightly pointed out, mit and ivy leauges are private universities and these aids are from private sources.

A breath of time said...

Just occured to me. Some of you cited 20% foreigner quota in local Universities. Can point us to the source of information?

Above is not the main point, but just an establishment of the next questions.

1) Why 20%? Because only 20% of Singaporeans are allowed admission into NUS, NTU and SMU, hence the peg?

2) if above is true, MOE says we are increasing the University intake to 25% of Singaporeans, then will the above peg also work towards 25% foreigners?

On "upgrading" Polytechnics to Universities, look at Australia, and UK. UK Universities now do not issue Bachelors', but Master upon graduation to differentiate from the Bachelor's conferred by the "upgraded Polys". Australian "upgraders" also face the same issues of not being able to source for sufficiently qualified tutors. Do you want your degree to be another piece of "higher diploma" in the eyes of the employer?

My final note (for this comment), please focus arguments logically. Try not to tend towards emotions, else we risk sounding like 3rd world countries.

Curious said...

Hello hash. Very interesting points, but some questions pointing to facades you may have unwittingly fallen into believing.

1. Scholarship given to PRC/HongKong students comes from the GICs, not the government.

> I went to check your huasing site. It says about 200-300 scholars a year. Why would GICs need so many employees? GICs derived their $$ from Singapore taxpayers and are responsible to Temasek which is responsible to the Finance Minister of Singapore. Is this a statement that GICs are either
a) forced to have a foreign employee quota
b) prefers foreign employees over Singaporeans on a regular bias?

Can we also have the estimated annual amount that the scholarship pays? By multiplying this with the number of scholars, and the 4 years per scholar, we can roughly tell how much the GICs HR are funding. Then we will see if this amount is clearly in or out of line of HR practices for unconfirmed graduates (read: insecure investments).

Nevertheless we know that one cent spent on us could have been spent on local students, so I am sincerely grateful to Singaporean people.

> Thank you. =)

2. Singapore isn't alone in giving scholarship to foreign students. China is offering 11,000 scholarship awards in this year to foreigners. Please note this money comes from the Chinese government, or tax-payers.

> 11,000 divided by 1.3 billion people is not a lot compared to 200-300 divided by 3 million Singaporeans. But the question is not this, but those I cited above.


4. Upon graduation, those scholars are bonded for six years, which means they likely form family, and raise children in Singapore. Therefore, a six-year bond is drastically different from a three-year bond. I would call a three-year stay temporary, but definitely not a six-year one. A survey in 2002 was able to reach 45 out of 100 PRC scholars who came in 1992 (the very first batch) and still in Singapore. Try doing something similar on your JC alumni who are 6 years more senior than you, and you would agree with me that much more than 45 are actually living in Singapore. The survey showed that ~40% of them planned to live in Singapore further, although they had been cleared with the bond.

> No issues with the scholars, but with my Gov. Why GICs cited by you give 6 year bond? You see, they recruit a few hundred scholars, who take 4 years to graduate, then provide them with 6 years jobs. What if the economy of Singapore (like SARS) takes a hit and Singaporeans no jobs? In that situation, will these companies then
a) Hire Singaporeans and forgo millions of dollars worth of bonds to the foreigner scholars
b) Hire foreigner scholars to complete bonds and let Singaporean citizens die their business?

You see it is the conflict of interests and the delusional gahmen we are unhappy with, not the foreigner scholars.

Jimmy Mun said...

Teo Chee Hean speech in 1998:

"NUS and NTU ... have set a target of filling 20% of their undergraduate places with foreigners. Fortunately for us, NUS and NTU can do this while expanding intake so that no qualified locals will be displaced. At the same time, to make it more attractive for foreign students to study in Singapore, tuition fees have been reduced. In 1996, the fees for foreign students were 1.5 to 2 times those for Singaporeans. From this year, foreign students pay only 10% more than locals.
This target of 20% gives a push to the two universities to get out of Singapore and find the best foreign students they can. This is a useful discipline, as a constant reminder to the universities that Singapore thrives on being open to the rest of the world.
...
I am pleased to note that NUS and NTU have marketed themselves aggressively in the past years and are on track to reach their target of 20% foreign intake. For the academic year 1998/99, preliminary figures (up to 20 Jul 98) indicate that NUS and NTU have recruited more than 1,500 foreign students which make up 16.5% of their undergraduate intake. 70% of these foreign students are taking up courses in Engineering, Computers and Science."

John said...

Next question then, how many of these foreigners are given money for their food, lodgings and tuition fees?

Jimmy Mun said...

1) I think at this point it is important to point out that most Singaporeans are against the foreign talent policy, not foreigners. The difference is that we are angry with the Singapore government, not with foreigners. But this is an emotional issue, and sometimes the distinction can blur, especially if the foreigners choose to chime in and defend the Singapore government.

2) The main source of anger is not so much that the government is treating foreigners well. We are angry because the Singapore government behaves like Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to Singaporeans, but yet behave like Santa Claus with foreigners. It is not just a matter of the income tax or GST we pay.

The Singapore education system is merciless in punishing Singaporeans who are weak in English, L2 or whatever nation building nonsense MOE can think of. We play by the rules set by MOE, and yet when we reach the unis, we find that there is two sets of rules: one set for those cursed by citizenship, and one set for foreigners.

3) Size does matter. Sure, many countries do award scholarships, but not in huge quantities like Singapore does, and not in the same way that block opportunities to their citizens. When it comes to citizen opportunities, we are a small country with no natural resources. But when it comes to foreigners, we are suddenly more generous than first world countries.

4) We have a government that claims to be the best in the world. And yet they cannot handle problems with an 18 year lead time like the Dragon Year cohort.

One million dollar minister said that the shortage in hospital beds in Singapore will persist until the population stabilises. Where is the source of instability? Not from babies for sure, since KK does not have a shortage of beds. The population growth is fueled entirely by the foreign talent influx, something entirely planned and controlled by the Singapore government.

I do not think Singaporeans have much to complain if Singapore behaves like a Santa Claus to foreigners, if our basic needs are met. The truth is that the Singapore government has let Singaporeans down over and over again.

I write this not to scare the foreigners away, or to incite anger. I write this, hoping that a few of the 66.6% will read this and reconsider the costs of their cowardice.

Anonymous said...

Let U be number of places for Singapore students.

Let S be number of places for Foreign students.

Now if policy says we let in U students and S students per year, does it mean that the total number of students let in per year is U + S? If U + S is not high enough, does it mean therefore that the policy is wrong?

fence sitter said...

I am not saying NUS/NTU should emulate the USofA. Puhleez.

My university had a total of 3 Singaporeans, whom I barely knew. I had a great US experience - and the 12% international student body definitely enhanced it, being alongside students from Russia, Nigeria, Argentina, Japan, Lithuania etc.

Do I question their right to be there? Not at all. But the government or school didn't throw money at them to lure them to my school. I think having international students adds to a university learning environment. BUT AGAIN - I do not agree with having money thrown at foreigners to lure them to Singapore.

Jimmy Mun said...

Woah, it just occurred to me that I matriculated into NUS exactly 12 years ago, and I ran into the Dragon Year cohort, even though I am a Tiger. In fact, in theory, the situation ought to have been much worse: The birthrate in 1976 was the highest in 30 years, and the 74/76 batch of citizens is definitely larger than the 86/88 batch. But I do not recall it was any harder to enter NUS back then. A few things are distorting the picture, like increased intake of poly students (I believed the number doubled, but that should be more than absorbed by SMU), but I can't help feeling that in this particular year, the shortage is caused entirely foreigners eating up all spare capacity in NUS/NTU.

Note to potential parents: If you don't want to be mocked by the likes of Aaron Ng for poor planning for your children, dont have a son two years before the Dragon year, ie avoid the Tiger year.... (ha...as though child birth can be planned with such precision...)

Anonymous said...

it's quite scary that those who felt quite unruffled by this sorry state of affairs are those not affected.

The lack of empathy is quite worrying, especially when you think of where they may eventually end up.

Anonymous said...

hmmm... i wonder what else i need to know for family planning so that i won't be labelled as a parent with "poor planning". This is as good as saying the homeless in Singapore are "financially irresponsible".

Chilling, isn't it, the similarity?

jonathan said...

Dear u s of a:

MIT admits only 8% of its undergrad population from overseas. It offers no loan, (and mind you, we are talking just abt loans, not even scholarships!) to foreign undergrads in their 1st year.

Please.

and Mr Wang said Singaporean citizens who DO get a place at Harvard, Yale etc and CANNOT afford to go, will nevertheless make it to NUS, SMU or NTU anyway which is a near impossibility simply because these same people will automatically qualify for and receive financial aid if they so request.

So what facts do you want Mr. Wang to check up before "ranting" (RUDE!) and what "homework" (RUDE again!) do

Seriously, if mild words like that rile you, then I don't know how you're gonna survive. -_-

1. WE know more than you know (you figured out that timestamp tingy yet?). 2. You are rude in the way you try to correct us. 3. But what is there to "correct"? You are wrong!

I completely do not need to say anything about this, because I know more than you do having been through the entire admissions game. I applied to US universities only last year and got accepted at two Ivies and Duke. So it hardly matters to me if you think I'm wrong anyway. Just a bit of charity for you, for whom childish victories on blog comments are probably the only accomplishments you're ever going to have in your pitiful life.

Anonymous said...

"which is a near impossibility simply because these same people will automatically qualify for and receive financial aid if they so request."

Huh? How could this be a "near impossibility"? Even if you do get financial aid, it would not cover everything - eg accommodation, food, clothes, textbooks, living expenses, in another country where the cost of living is higher than S'pore?

jonathan said...

because most aid packages provide accommodation in the dorms. and for the rest of the expenses - if you can live in Singapore, you can DEFINITELY live in america provided you don't live extravagantly and try to scrimp. something which many of my seniors have done. and if you get to go to a school like harvard or yale on financial aid, would you REALLY refuse to live simply for those four wonderful years? it's not that hard, especially when you come from a family that needs financial aid for harvard. just live like you've always lived.

find me someone who needs financial aid to go to harvard, gets it, and then insists on living like a king.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan,

yes you are smart enough to enter ivy league unis and such. But I hope you can accomplish more than that .... for life encompasses more than monies and brains ...... and arrongance in your postings left much to be desired.... my 2 cents worth...

jonathan said...

yes you are smart enough to enter ivy league unis and such. But I hope you can accomplish more than that .... for life encompasses more than monies and brains ...... and arrongance in your postings left much to be desired.... my 2 cents worth...

I agree. But sometimes I just love being combative.

u s of a said...

>I know more than you do having been through the entire admissions game. I applied to US universities only last year

Little boy, you still don't seem to get the timestamp thingy, do you? What do you know more than I do???

Have it occur to you I have always felt you are just an ignorant boy and your latest disclosure that you applied "only last year" serves only to confirm that. To repeat: You don't know more than me, Mr. "only last year"!!!


> and got accepted at two Ivies and Duke. So it hardly matters to me if you think I'm wrong anyway.

Huh? Why the "so"? You mean, *just* because you got into two Ivies and Duke, you think you can throw your weight around ME? Hey, I repeat for the 3rd time: Have you figured out the timestamp thingy: why I was posting on Mr. Wang at 4+AM? Duke indeed. Duh! Duke is not even close to _____ <-- unlike you, I do not need to throw some names out to boost my ego - I am capable of arguing without resorting to the "I am from ____, so it doesn't matter what you say" nonsense that you are saying! LOL!


> Just a bit of charity for you,

charity? Don't you think you are the one in need of it. I gave you this charity: "MIT admits 8% of its students from overseas". Now accept it and gain some knowledge.


> for whom childish victories on blog comments

Aren't you the one? I mean, geez, CHILDISH victories are so important to you that even when you are obviously wrong, you have to resort to the "I got accepted at two Ivies and Duke. So it hardly matters to me if you think I'm wrong anyway" childish and irrelevant argument! LOL.

"so" indeed!!! Childish!


> are probably the only accomplishments you're ever going to have in your pitiful life.

Wiow, someone who got into 2 ivies and duke ONLY last year, telling me about my "only accomplishment"! Hey, Mr. "only last year", go think hard about the time stamp thingy! Do you need me to throw my weights back at you with a "I am at _____" thing?


I repeat:Mr. Wang's blog is very widely read, all over the world. Many of us are reading Wang's blog from ___, and ___, and ___. And when we see some arrogant fools think that they are the only one overseas and can therefore try to trick/lie/confuse singaporeans with half-truth abt overseas universities, well, most of us laugh. But this time, I chose to tick some of them off, and Jonathan is one such person. But perhaps the funniest thing is when these people start their CHILDISH weight-throwing abt "I got into such and such a university, ONLY last year"! Piang! Have it ever occur to them that I, U S of A, may be from a much higher rank uni many moons ago?

Hey, Jonathan, go figure out that time stamp thingy first. K? Childish to throw your weight around unless you are sure you weigh alot. lol!

u s of a said...

"But sometimes I just love being combative".

But before you do that, you gotta take a good look to see if you are wearing enough armour! Duke! Duh! What is duke's ranking? I think it is near the last of the Ivies!!! 2 Ivies? Duh! Even if one of them is Harvard, what is there to be arrogant abt? I mean, hey, I really mean what I say when I say Mr. Wang's reader come from all over the world.

If you just got admitted to harvard last year (but i doubt, because if that's the case, your arrogant nature would have gotten you to say "harvard" rather than "2 ives"), do you know that you may be talking to your senior at harvard on this blog? Geez!

Discussion should be rational and backed by facts, not by throwing weights around ("I got admitted to such and such a uni", "go do your homework", "Mr. wang ranting, clearly know nothing about usa (unlike I, the arrogant twit)" etc), but if you really want to throw weights around, solve this first: why are some of us (eg me), writing at 4+AM?

Mr. first-year-at-harvard (and that's already giving you face), I maintain what I said: you are still in no position to throw weights around, even if you want to compare university.

Even if you want to be combative, you should go pick another blog. Mr. Wang's reader are from all over the world, including ____ and ____ and ____ and... all of which are better than your ____ <-- see? if you want to get childish comparing university, I can obliged too :)

u s of a said...

"you are smart enough to enter ivy league unis and such"

There is nothing smart about getting into ivy leagues. Not on this well-read blog, at least. People who do NOT want to argue rationally with facts, but choose to belittle others and throw their weights around and worst of all, spread half-truth and lies, thinking that they are the only one overseas and know more than those of us back home, should understand this:

to many readers on this blog , ivy leagues or duke or ____ (fill in whatever blanks, for the thing you want to boast about), is nothing! There are bound to be some of us from better ivy leagues or whatever that you want to boast about. 'cos this blog is very widely read and readers usually share similar background as blog writers. If Mr. Wang is a successful lawyer on dean's list, then so are many of his readers. What is there, for a NEWLY admitted ivy league UNDERGRAD who has not started earning his first pot of gold, to boast about? Duh! Really need to go take a good look in the mirror before deciding to be "combative"! LOL

u s of a said...

Ok. Summer time here. Time to go out to enjoy. tata, little boy who got admitted only last year.

jonathan said...

Duke indeed. Duh! Duke is not even close to _____

wowww. go check the rankings AGAIN. and if you're REALLY in the usa you should know that many people regard Duke as a little ivy etc etc etc going up fast in the rankings (even tho its really screwing w the methodology). the point is people in america at least are putting duke just behind harvard in terms of prestige, and that says something.

nooo im sorry i dun need your charity but i didn't get into harvard. just Princeton and UPenn, but unfortunately i didn't know enough last year to apply for princeton's need-blind financial aid thinking it'd affect my chances, so i had to reject the place when i got it. and IMO duke had a nicer campus than UPenn, so I chose duke. but probably trying for other need blind unis next year since i haven't secured a scholarship and my parents can't pay.

and why are you posting at 4 am? hmmmm maybe its because you've got no life and don't have a job? even if you're in the USA, someone who spends his summer at 4 pm in the afternoon reading SINGAPOREAN blogs has gotta be an outcast.

and LOOK who's the one trying to throw his or her weight around now. xD

Anonymous said...

i don't think the deans at Duke are going to be very pleasd looking at the quality of some of the posts here.

the deans at UPenn might heave a sigh of relief though...

Anonymous said...

Tautology.

Meng Chong said...

Be it NTU, NUS or SMU. Education in Singapore is generally used to output the estimated required manpower at a certain timeframe.

That's why there is such a thing called dumping ground in the university. During my time it was Electrical Engineering; the hottest engineering faculty was Civil Engineering. Why? Because back in the 1990s property market was RED HOT! Look at what happen since then and what is happening now AGAIN in the property market.

The relevance to the current discussion here? Just one. Be it local or foreigner we are just a part of a big machine called Singapore Inc.

This year someone made a bad calculation on how many warm bodies is needed 3/4 years down the road. With the plan to increase the population in Singapore to 6.5 million in what 20 years time (please correct my timeframe if in error), it is gonna be tough making good estimates these days in the government.

Anonymous said...

Quote:

{{{Without this international orientation, our universities cannot be the first-class institutions that Singaporeans deserve.}}}

Translation:

How else are we going to recoup our marketing costs ( recall the "I'm going to Singapore!" ad) and profit obscenely, except by whoring away a large proportion of university vacancies to foreigners? And go about our fiddle-faddle of Singapore = #1 education hub?

$$$$. Certain issues of NUS Alumni magazines can be easily mistaken for PAP newsletters.

Anonymous said...

Also, I might add that Singapore's educational system, yes, even up to the tertiary level, is nothing more than a sweatshop to churn out docile economic digits to be the labour force for the ever-changing NEXT BIG THING OF THE ECONOMY prophesised by the Pappycock prophets.

You may recall some years ago, bio tech was huge and hyped. Introductory classes in biology were HUGE. Most recently it became casino management... I wonder why?

Your child is fucked if he wants to study to be an archaeologist. SingPAPore will not allow any deviant career choices that do not contribute to the GDP. Economic concerns dictate what he studies, when he studies, where he studies, how he studies.

That is the sad and repulsive fact, like it or not.

That is why I swore to myself: NEVER TO MARRY AND NEVER TO HAVE KIDS IN SINGAPORE. I do not wish my children inherit the doomed legacy that is the Singapore citizenship. The pink IC is a brand of shame, a stigma of torment.

Anonymous said...

look past this pink IC thngy. we are, after all is said and done ... MPEs (member of planet earth).

so much anger and distrust here. stop for a moment and reflect. stop trying to be better the other guy. stop trying to better yourself.

feel better now?

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang,
this is nothing new. The PAP aka gov always want to eat cake full and every words and script written and spoken is meticulously edit to ensure that everything stay positive and no loopholes !

for example, the gahmen probably want to say "We want to have swiss standard of living and world's happyest people alive. Singaporean would be economic tools and digits to make economic the best in the world while still the happyest of them all".

This is the kind of statement make by gahmen to ensure they are worth millions of dollars. In fact, they are actually worth peanuts because eveything is NATO (No Action Talking Only)

Anonymous said...

Hi, would like to leave a comment about financial aid application: It is totally possible for an international student to qualify for top Ivies like Harvard, apply for financial aid, and get less than what he/she needs from the financial aid office. (This happens to US students as well.) Aid is given out based on family income, assets, number of dependents, etc. Applying is only the first step.

Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest to the readers of this blog entry to also read this great entry -

The Right To Be Rightly “Educated.” – A Personal Journey.

http://intelligentsingaporean.wordpress.com/2007/06/14/the-right-to-be-rightly-%e2%80%9ceducated%e2%80%9d-%e2%80%93-a-personal-journey/

In its comment section, "Shoestring" wrote:

"Those college dropouts who made it big probably felt it wasn’t necessary to have an Ivy League education to achieve what they wanted in life. Their confidence and sense of self-worth weren’t dependent on what others think, so they didn’t bother to run the same rat race.

On the other hand, those who are arrogant and look down on “lesser beings” because of their elite Ivy League background probably haven’t got much substance within themselves, so they have to hide behind a flimsy string of qualifications in order to get things done."

I think compassion is lacking among some of the posters here. Also, Mr Wang is mainly concerned about qualified local students who are displaced by foreign students. Those displaced students do not care about attending Ivy League universities! You are missing the point if you are arguing that these people have options. They are as deserving as others in getting their university education, Ivy League or not!

As some posters noted, they are always smarter people out there. So don't brag about attending Ivy League schools. Great companies hire great individuals, not schools! The elitist thinking is so "singaporean."

Jimmy None said...

"I can't help feeling that in this particular year, the shortage is caused entirely foreigners eating up all spare capacity in NUS/NTU."


Jimmy, would it not also be possible:

1) MOE moderation got easier, more people got "qualified" grades.

2) More people dare to speak out nowadays. Or as xx MP said, more peopl are complaining.

3) More people think too highly of themselves.

Jimmy Mun said...

Jimmy None said...
1) MOE moderation got easier, more people got "qualified" grades.


-> Why would MOE want to create trouble for themselves? Remember, the students in the same year of entry took the A levels in different years. MOE have to keep the "moderation" at the same standard. In fact, if the moderation is based on a bell curve, a Dragon Year "A" grade is probably harder to achieve than a Tiger Year "A". I distinctly remember that a grade as low as "B" "C" "O" could make it to Science way back then.

2) More people dare to speak out nowadays. Or as xx MP said, more peopl are complaining.

-> You don't think I have some idea about the "market rates" of the grades of the people I was studying with? I'm pretty sure nobody was complaining, even privately, 12 years ago.

3) More people think too highly of themselves.

-> I didn't know my cohort suffered from a relatively lower self esteem. Did we?