J, a reader of my blog, just emailed me to share his own story. J's account relates to his own application to Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School (which is located at the Singapore General Hospital but is part of NUS).
Based on what J says, this does not really strike me as an example of Singapore discriminating against Singaporean students, in favour of foreign students. This is more an example of the authorities treating foreigners and Singapore citizens exactly on par (in other words, citizenship has no advantages). It is also an example of the Singaporean tax-payer's money being used to pay for the education of foreigners.
It's important to understand that unlike, say, Harvard in the United States, NUS is not a private university, operating on its own private funds. If NUS were a private university, then it should be fully entitled to make its own decisions as to whose education it wants to subsidise. However, NUS is funded by taxpayers' money (YOUR money, and mine).
Therefore I feel that it's important that this issue receives some scrutiny. Well, at least my blog will help to raise some public awareness.
Anyway, J's email is reproduced in full below. I've made a few editorial changes, mainly for clarity (and also to make J's identity less traceable).
Hi Mr Wang,
I read your post on education in singapore some time back. Recently, I have been busy with my application to Duke-Nus Graduate Medical School. It is the second medical school in singapore and is funded by the Ministry of Health. They conducted a series of admission seminars recently ... I [also] had a long chat with the admissions officer ....
From both the seminar and the admission officer i came to know that:
(1) there are thousands of applicants each year with a very significant proportion of students from overseas
(2) there are NO QUOTAS reserved for singaporeans
(3) foreigners ARE eligible for our tuition fee loan of up to 90% of course fees.
(4) Foreigners CAN serve their bond in their countries if their families are not in singapore (although this is subject to approval, it makes you wonder why bond them at all?)
.... I really begin to wonder if my very own country whom I had sworn to protect when I was 18 is really worthy of my protection.