26 April 2006

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 many 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

40 comments:

moomooman said...

High quality Foreign Students?

The only reason why these high quality foreign students from China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia come to Singapore is because our Education Fees are consider much cheaper than the Foreign Countries.

And that we teach in English.

When these high quality foreign students pick up our Degrees... they will pack their bags and work in other countries.

So is our students being deprived of a university placing in Singapore, so that these high quality foreign students can work overseas and get a big fat paycheck because of our Singapore Degree?

Which is why I have to go Malaya University.

Sara said...

Dear Mr Wang,

I am a big fan of your blog. Somehow, your posts always kindle an interest in me.

I wish you all the best and keep on writing more of such thought-provoking posts.

Good Job!

Cobalt Paladin said...

*Que X-files music*

"Can you handle the truth?!" - X-Files

The problem is that there are people who will not accept the real answer. If everyone can accept the real answer and face the reality, no corporations will need public relations department as the spin doctor.

Cobalt Paladin said...

moomooman,

Your statement will not be fair to the foreign students who studied in Singapore and later contribute to the economy/society of Singapore. Some of these foreign students are my friends and they are great people. They have stayed on in Singapore. Some even became Singaporean.

Lam Chun See said...

For your info, Mr Wang, When I went to Spore U in 1971, this issue already cropped up. Reminds me of a song;

"Some things will never change. That's just the way it is."

Anyway, I was a beneficiary of the system. Married one of them. She helped contribute 3 Sporeans.

Anonymous said...

cool paladin: "Your statement will not be fair to the foreign students who studied in Singapore and later contribute to the economy/society of Singapore. Some of these foreign students are my friends and they are great people. They have stayed on in Singapore. Some even became Singaporean."


virtually anyone who is gainfully employed on this island can be said to be contributing to the economy/society of s'pore. We should stop having the mindset that anyone who is a foreigner naturally equate to being a 'talent' and somehow his/her contribution is greater than the average s'porean. The govt may its reasons and agenda for deliberately putting down its own people but we should not be like sheeps to blindly follow their rhetorics.

IHateCrapAdministrativeReplies said...

"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."

Isn't NUS corporatised already?
Doesn't NUS makes its own decisions?

IHateCrapAdministrativeReplies said...

"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."

Wait a minute. Are you attracting FACULTY STAFF or are you attracting FACULTY STUDENTS?
Do you hope to churn out a Nobel Laureate, aged 20+?
Can you also guarantee that your foreign talent will stay, or would Singaporeans be of better investment value?

"...Our universities cannot be the first-class institutions that Singaporeans deserve."

So do they agree that Singaporean students deserve this first-class institution called NUS (thus there should be a preference to local students), or do they agree that NUS is not currently first-class and must work its way there by attracting more foreign talent?

moomooman said...

to cobalt,

You are right. My statement is unfair. I too have malaysian and indonesian friends who study in Singapore and became a PR and setup families here.

I apologise for my statement.

Maybe someone could verify this, for foreign students coming to Singapore to study, I heard they have to work in Singapore after that for 2 years.

Anthony said...

Moomooman,

As a non-Singaporean you have a choice. You can pay foreign student rates, or you can pay Singaporean rates. If you pay Singaporean rates, you are bonded to Singapore and have to work two years there.

The two year requirement is not as chia lat as most people make it out to be. Any full time job will do. Plus, you can defer performance by putting up a performance bond if you want to go for further studies.

If you're wondering how I know so much, my genius wife isn't Singaporean.

singaporean said...

Contribute to Singapore? How many of them served NS? Or perhaps they can donate two years worth of salary less an NSF equivalent pay?

I generally have no objection even if NUS/NTU/SMU has 90% foreign students, provided they can attract the foreign students to pay full fee, or even a Singaporean fee. The trouble is that, the bulk of all these foreign students, especially those not from Malaysia, dont pay a single cent to study here. In fact, they get paid monthly sums that will make most NSFs envious.

Why is it that Singaporeans, after paying the NS tax, do not get a fair share of tax money that the government wantonly dump to pay foreign students to study here?

The fact is, the anti-Singaporean discrimination is plain to see, and they do it because there is no consequence in doing so.

Anonymous said...

This is the brutal truth. At the current admission rates, those at the bottom of the pecking order are seriously struggling to pass their exams.

On the other hand, while the foreign students may not be geniuses, they are smarter than these at the bottom of the barrel and will likely be more productive workers when they graduate (if they stay in Singapore, and some do).

If the Government increases the intake, which it has promised to do, we will bring down the quality of the students even more -- and you will not make more people happy 'cos there will still be people who fall on the wrong side of the cutoff (though barely).

If the quality of the grads drop, reputation of the local universities will be affected and the current grads will be unhappy 'cos it affects the value of their degrees.

Use your brain and think and look at the big picture before launching on your tirade can?

chrischoo said...

I like Mr Wang's logic regarding the ST headline! However, foreign students aren't all that bad though. Like some people here, I've got a fair share of friends who are foreigners. Quite a number are good people.

I do have reservations about the way universities here are recruiting foreigners though. There are many foreign scholars who take up places that Singaporeans should be able to qualify for - just refer to the ST letter about the guy getting admitted to the Chicago GSB but was refused admission to the NUS APEX MBA.

I'm perplexed at how these foreign students can be given the tuition grant for the miserable 2 or 3 year bond they have to serve in Singapore. On the other hand, Singaporean guys have to bear the burd... er, I mean DUTY... of their citizenship by serving NS, and all we've got to show for it is an allowance of $500-$1,000 a month, and bragging rights as one of the oldest college students in the world.

Essentially this implies that almost all foreign students are getting a much better deal than Singaporeans because they are on government-sponsored scholarships with short bonds attached. No doubt a large number of these students are very bright (many of them top our classes), but I often have the impression that the government cares more about admitting foreigners than our own citizens.

Who's suffering from faulty thinking here?

at82 said...

Hi anon Thursday, April 27, 2006 2:31:12 AM:

That is not true. If the expanded places are use tp take in our top poly students. The scenario you paint will not happen.

Currently only the top 5% of the poly students are admited to local University. A large no. of good poly students have to go overseas for their university education.

If you have poly friends who are doing that, you will find that many of them are doing very well in their studies and contributing large amount of $ to the country they are studying in.

So instead of letting that happen, why don't we train our top poly students instead of foreigners? Afterall, isn't it the job of the Spore govt to provide education for its citizens?

aaron said...

hi, you may want to look at patrick tan's reply to tan thiam chye.

http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/forum/story/0,5562,388170,00.html

aaron said...

http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/forum/story/0,5562,388170,00.html

sorry this is the right html

hugewhaleshark said...

Singaporean: "The trouble is that, the bulk of all these foreign students, especially those not from Malaysia, dont pay a single cent to study here. In fact, they get paid monthly sums that will make most NSFs envious."

Ah ni ho se meh? Can you substantiate this, Singaporean?

And Anthony, in my time, Singaporeans paid 20% of the full tuition at NUS, and foreigners who choose to serve a 3 year bond, pay 40%, i.e. double of what the Singaporeans pay. Maybe they have changed it.

I sense so much hostility...

Anonymous said...

From http://straitstimes.asia1.com.sg/forum/story/0,5562,388170,00.html , posted in full here as the ST archive is only available for 7 days.

April 26, 2006
Rejected by NUS, NTU, accepted by Ivy League

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

We all know that Singapore is a very small country and for it to progress and thrive, we need to attract talents from all over the world.

We have imported ministers, bankers, doctors, sportsmen and sportswomen. As a Singaporean, I warmly welcome high-quality talents - people such as Professor Edison Liu of the Genome Institute or Mr David Conner of OCBC Bank - talents that can really make a difference.

However, it saddens me to see that many non-talents have entered Singapore disguised as foreign talents.

Most disturbing, of course, is the fact that foreign students are now taking precedence over sons of the land in our educational system, from primary level all the way up to university level.

In our eagerness to attract foreign students, schools from primary level to university have gone overboard. Some brand-name schools have even reserved slots for foreign students.

Given our limited resources, any slot reserved for a foreign student is a place lost to a local student.

Mr Tan pointed to the small difference in tuition fees paid by local and foreign students as a source of dis- parity. I shall point out another.

Recently, I was exploring the possibility of doing a PhD. My first thought was to do it in one of our local universities. To my shock, I found that 90 per cent of PhD students in our universities are foreign students, mainly from China and India.

Ninety per cent is a shockingly high number. No other universities in the world have such a high proportion of foreign PhD students.

Does this mean that Singaporean students are not PhD calibre? I doubt so. I know a couple of friends who were rejected by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) for their PhD programmes but were subsequently admitted to Ivy League colleges. They are good enough for NYU, Harvard and Michigan but not good enough for NUS and NTU.

Isn't it an irony that as Singaporeans and having served our nation and paid our taxes, we cannot gain admission to our own local universities? Instead, our sweat and money go towards paying for a foreign student's education.

PhD students in our local universities are usually awarded full scholarships and grants. In other words, they study for free. At the end of their study, they are free to return to their home country, with no obligation to repay us.

This is a waste of our national resources. That same opportunity, if given to a local student, would reap more benefits as it would raise the standard of our local research and minimise the local brain-drain.

I am not advocating that we should stop foreigners from studying in Singapore. We should continue to welcome them, as the education industry is a multi-million-dollar industry, but only if they are full fee-paying students. We should not be subsidising them at the expense of local students. Australia, for example, welcomes foreigners as full fee-paying students and has done very well at that.

Patrick Tan Siong Kuan

Anonymous said...

Another one, giving us an insight towards the rigidity of our local IHLs.

April 26, 2006
Why doesn't NUS Business School consider National Service as working experience?

I refer to the letter 'Why NUS, NTU require GMAT?' (ST, April 21). I appreciate NUS's and NTU's stringent student selection criteria by requiring GMAT. But I would like to share another side of the story in this regard.

I am an executive pursuing a banking career in Singapore. I am the head of a team responsible for developing risk management policies and methodologies for a banking group and I am currently pursuing an Executive MBA (EMBA) programme.

In 2005, I approached three renowned institutions offering EMBA programmes in Singapore, namely the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business (GSB) - EMBA; Insead - EMBA; and NUS Business School - APEX MBA.

In a recent global MBA ranking 2006 by Financial Times, Chicago GSB is ranked 6th, Insead 8th and NUS Business School 92nd. All three programmes have stringent admission requirement of which one is for a period of working experience.

Chicago GSB, Insead and NUS require a minimum of 10 years' full-time work experience and a candidate must hold a senior position or have the potential to assume senior managerial positions.

Special consideration is given to candidates with eight to nine years' experience on a case-by-case basis. I have clocked eight years including two-plus years' National Service.

I applied to Chicago GSB and have been accepted in the EMBA programme. The distinct impression I got from Chicago GSB and Insead is that they are dynamic, open-minded and they consider candidates on their credentials and potential for growth.

They also give due credit to the two-plus years of National Service and consider it as workking experience. When I approached NUS Business School as a possible alternative and appealed to the programme's manager for special consideration on grounds of my credentials and acceptance in Chicago GSB, I was told that "National Service does not count as working experience and I am surprised that you even got into Chicago GSB."

As a result of that episode in 2005, I think that contrary to the recent advertisements of NUS Business School that describe it as 'The right answer to business education', in my humble opinion, I think it is the wrong answer to business education.

Gary Chong Pooi Lon

Anonymous said...

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,...

Without the modifying clause "Who Qualifies", "Varsity Place for Every Singaporean" would imply "Every Singapore qualifies" no matter what.

Where is the circularity?

Mr Wang Says So said...

Is your suggestion to use the title "Every Singaporean Qualifies"? Errr, sorry, IMHO, that's an even worse title.

Back to the actual title in question, let me explain the circularity again. To "qualify" basically means you get a varsity place. So the title actually means:

"Varsity Place for Every Singaporean Who Gets A Varsity Place".

And if you still cannot see it, think of the illustrations I gave earlier, expand on them a little and consider:

"Vitamin C for Everyone Who Eats Vitamin C"

or

"Death for Everyone Who Dies"

or

"Child For Every Woman Who Has A Child".

Now, I hope the circularity is obvious. Because if you still can't see it, aiyah, never mind lah, don't read my blog.

Rookie said...

In effect, what Mr Wang is suggesting is that if some Singaporean cannot qualify for the university based on whatever benchmark, they should still be allowed to go to the uni. Foreign students should not take their place. So if you have 2 Es, 1 F for A level, you should still get into the uni.

I am for Singapreans to get places in uni, but if I put it like that, it could be a bit tricky.

Mr Wang Says So said...

You picked "2 Es, 1 F" as your example.

The point is, whatever grades you choose as your cut-off is also determined by:

(a) the total number of varsity places; and

(b) the total number of varsity places available for Singaporeans.

A simple illustration. Suppose NUS only has 100 places, and only accepts Singaporean students. And the cut-off is 3 Cs.

Now suppose NUS decides that 75 of those 100 varsity places will go to foreigners, such that only 25 are available to Singaporeans.

Inevitably, the cut-off grades for Singaporeans must rise. It then climbs to, say, 3 A's.

What happens? Now all the Singaporeans with 3 B's (in other words, Singaporeans who could have made it but for NUS's change of policy) cannot go to NUS.

I think that we CANNOT pretend to ourselves that this kind of situation is not happening in Singapore. In fact, it CANNOT not happen, because we are increasing our intake of foreign students not gradually, but very, very sharply (similarly for the influx of foreigners into the workforce).

The irony is that I think most of us will know (or even ourselves be) Singaporeans who could not make it to NUS/NTU/SMU, but made it to some quite reputable overseas university (ironically, often ranked higher than NUS, NTU or SMU itself) and proceeded to get a degree there, often scoring well.

The cost to Singapore, however, is the huge financial cost to these students' families (not all of whom are well-to-do);

the consequences of which (the financial planner in me must add) will often not be fully understood by the parents themselves until they hit their retirement savings and wonder how come they have so little money.

Mr Wang Says So said...

I should add that the reverse problem does not affect foreign students coming to Singapore.

When foreign students come to Singapore to study, our government uses taxpayers' money to pay their school fees, accomodation, book expenses etc.

But when Singaporeans go overseas to study, the governments in those overseas countries are not so stupid as to give those Singaporeans a free education.

*The Lunatic Fringe* said...

Mr Wang has raised an issue that especially resonates among Singaporean citizens, i.e. how much of our scarce resources are going to non-Singaporeans. Singapore's policies have largely been pragmatic in the economic sense, i.e. the relative open labour market rules which allows skilled professionals to work here as well as the opening of local (taxpayer /donor subsidised) universities to foreign students.

From an economic perspective, I agree that we cannot create too much artificial protectionist walls to restrict foreign labour per-se as it will be hugely detrimental to our economy.

However, allocating an ever-increasing share of the education budget pie to foreigners in exchange for 2 years of working here is starting to irk some of us citizens. More so when the university authorities make glib statmements about how no deserving singaporean is deprived a place in the university. Economics 101 teaches us that for a limited supply of university places, if you increase the allocation to foreign students, of course, you have to cut some places that would have gone to the local students. Let's call a spade a spade. It sux for us who are singaporeans.

Singapore is truly one of the places where the rights and responsibilities between citizens and non-citizens can be skewed, for e.g. with regards to university places.

As a full-paying member of country club Singapore, I find it strange that guests basically get the benefits of security, safety and our infrastructure but do not have to pay for the initial joining fee (e.g. NS service) but get subsidised subscription fees to boot!

Anonymous said...

"Death for Everyone Who Dies"

I've no problem in seeing the circularity in that. What I wanted to say was, the post-modifying clause is needed to state the condition under which the main statement holds true.

Death for Everyone who drinks-drive is different from Death for Everyone who murders.

Anonymous said...

I recently went to NTU for a masters studies recruitment talk. About half who attended this particular talk are from China and India, 1 or 2 from either Myanmar or Vietnam. Many of their basic degrees were from either their home countries' universities or Sporean ones. Many also have little actual working experience in Spore. I wonder how does NTU verify whether they are bright or talented, especially those whose degrees are from their home universities.

Of course I am jumping the gun here a little because admission results are not out yet.

Anonymous said...

If you need a more extreme example, think of Huang Na (the unfortunate eight-year-old PRC girl studying in Singapore, who was murdered last year).

Leaving aside the circumstances of her death (not relevant to the topic), one wonders why Singapore is accepting even little children from PRC to study in Singapore primary schools which are largely government schools financed by Singaporean taxpayer's money.

Maybe we should stop encouraging Singaporeans to have more children. Just import them from overseas. Pregnancy, childbirth, confinement, changing nappies, toilet training - such a nuisance.

chrischoo said...

I think using Primary schools as an example is not valid. Singapore has no shortage of places for Primary and Secondary school students. The lack of places kicks in at the tertiary level and is most pronounced at the university level.

It's fair to say that a number of Singaporeans who can't make it to our local universities are scoring very well abroad. Unfortunately, most of these students are polytechnic graduates who are denied admission to Singapore universities.

In fairness though, I understand that the academic environment in NUS and NTU is not suitable in general for polytechnic graduates who adopt a more hands-on and practical approach to learning. I've heard a handful of horror stories about poly graduates flunking out of NTU's Engineering school. My experience at SMU says otherwise though - the poly graduates here appear to do pretty well. Maybe it's because exams are not emphasized as much as at NUS/NTU.

Still, I'm quite sure the existing quota system is messed up. Something should be done.

singaporean said...

Actually, that is an old misconception. Polytechnic education today is very academic as well, for better or worse, because most poly grads goes for further studies immediately on graduation, and the polytechnics have responded to the change. In other words, the best 10-20% of each poly cohort will blend right into the local universities. Furthermore, for every poly grad that flunks out of NTU Engineering, I can give you an example of a poly grad who graduated as THE top student.

Most engineering grads will tell you that the poly grads (esp the old school hands on type) are the real engineers. We the "A level" are the exam machines. That is why some 80% of each graduating engineering cohort do not work as engineers. I have one first class honours grad telling me he didnt have confidence working in the engineering field, and another complaining the degree didnt prepare him properly for his field of work.

The cap on poly grad admission to local universities is a hard percentage cap. If you are up against really good poly grads that year, you will be rejected, irregardless of how you compare with the A levels or foreigners. So you qualify if you are not rejected

schizophrenic said...

I recently went to NTU for a masters studies recruitment talk. About half who attended this particular talk are from China and India, 1 or 2 from either Myanmar or Vietnam. Many of their basic degrees were from either their home countries' universities or Sporean ones. Many also have little actual working experience in Spore. I wonder how does NTU verify whether they are bright or talented, especially those whose degrees are from their home universities.

Of course I am jumping the gun here a little because admission results are not out yet.


to anonymous: you don't have to wait for the admission results to know what is happening in reality.

i've just completed the m.sc. graduate exams @ ntu (my final sem in the 2-yr pt-time course) - our faculty have the habit of circulating the namelist for marking of attendance - guess what?

for all courses i've attended, an average class size of 50 grad students have less than 8 s'poreans - (for one of my final subjects, there were only 3 s'poreans, incl. myself).

in fact, the uni. administration have a tendency to perform creative statistical analysis on the data they have. the eventual output communicated to the public must never fall out of line from the p.a.p. government's policies.

govt: "you want answers?"
citizen: "i think i'm entitled."
govt: "you want answers?"
citizen: "i want the truth."
govt: "you can't handle the truth."



govt: "...i have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that i provide, and then questions the manner in which i provide it. i would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way... either way, i don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to."


- adaptation - credits: A Few Good Men

chrischoo said...

singaporean:

I didn't go through the polytechnic system so I'll have to take your word that the poly grads blend easily into the university environment these days. My own observations are based on what I see at SMU, and I sense that poly grads get by pretty well - some of whom top their classes as well. Also, I don't think that the hands-on approach for poly education is a misconception these days because I find that my poly grad peers are still more technically-inclined. I assume you mean that poly grads were even more technical in the past, but I'm not sure if that is necessarily a good thing.

My impression is that NUS is biased more towards research than hands-on application. SMU and to some extent NTU seem to approach this from the opposite angle - more application and less research. Poly graduates appear to prefer NTU/SMU because of that. I don't have numbers to back this up so any corrections are welcome.

Anonymous said...

It is very difficult to compare local and foreign universities because respective countries have different needs, resources and interest. One cannot compares Singapore with America for example for very obvious reasons.

Foreign unversities will charge non citizens full fees because policy is that citizens come first. They can afford to do this because they have a very wide range of different talents to choose from in their own gardens. Diversity breeds ideas. This may not be immediately fruitful and obvious to us but in the long run, having diverse cultural exposures will enhance academic experience of local and foreign students. They also contribute materially because they still pay a higher fee. Academically, these students are also not without ability. In fact, being a 3rd year uni student myself, I've seen a lot of extremely bright foreigners in the various faculties and they always have top marks. They are good competition for local talents. They also come from diverse backgrounds. I know that most of them are from China, India and Southeast Asia and you think how different can their cultures be? All I can say to this is to befriend one and you will see the marked difference in their attitude towards life.

So if one chooses to look at this foreign talent issue solely from a nationalistic and short term perspective, it is very easy to discount the fact that education is a complex industry that has very penetrative visions into the future. It brings in foreign talents, entice and give them the opportunity to settle here and hopefully become a part of the social fabric of Singapore. The industry performs many functions and they are ultimately to the country's benefits too.

It is understandable that every now and then we forget that all of us- this nation, is a foreign import, and a very recent one as well. We're foreigners who stick our teeth into this island and refuse to leave. After all, that's what a citizen is entitled to right, the feeling and fact of being privileged in our own 'home' land. But back to the issue here, every university rejects a bunch of their locals and in their place, the foreigners. And this they do for a variety of reasons, money, policies, etc. I've not encountered of a local, with A1,A,A,A grades being rejected a place in NUS but I've seen many foreign students with same grades being rejected placements. I've also seen many locals with around C5, B,B,D being given a place in NUS.

But just so that you know why sometimes students get into better ranked universities but not the lower ranked ones: Just because a university ranked in the top 10% doesn't mean it only accepts the top 10% students. You may be surprised to know that some top world ranking universities are not always preferred choice of their own citizens. A university can rank higher on world level than on domestic level, you can google and compare this kind of statistics and see for yourself. Some universities have equal criteria but each criteria is given different weightage and all applicants are considered in competition with other applicants. So a lower ranking university may be receiving applicants of higher merits in criteria of most importance to the university, thus resulting in many legible persons not given the places.


Mo.

Mr Wang Says So said...

You don't have to explain to me that there are benefits in having foreign students. I already said that there are such benefits:

"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."

Also, this is a little presumptuous of you, don't you think:

"They also come from diverse backgrounds. I know that most of them are from China, India and Southeast Asia and you think how different can their cultures be? All I can say to this is to befriend one and you will see the marked difference in their attitude towards life."

It's as if you think I don't actually have any non-Singaporean friends, colleagues, ex-classmates or neighbours in Singapore. This is Singapore, my friend. One of every five persons on this island (and I am excluding tourists) is a foreigner.

Also a chunk of your comments, I think, relate to another post of mine, not this one. Perhaps you'd like to comment there instead of here, so it looks more relevant and people can discuss your view if they're interested.

chrischoo said...

I don't have an issue with bringing in foreigners. My issue is on the terms used to bring these foreigners in.

There are few statistics to show that bright foreigners who are brought in eventually take up citizenship. What is the proportion?

Also, how does the Ministry of Education decide on the amount of subsidies paid for foreign students entering local universities? The difference in tuition fees is negligible once Singaporeans and foreigners take up the tuition grant.

Next, how do our universities compare polytechnic graduates to 'A' Level holders when considering admissions into university? Is it really as qualitative as admissions officers make it seem, or do they just decide on a proportion and cut the rest off?

This lack of information gives me the impression that the government either doesn't have a good answer or is just not interested in doing anything about it.

Also, the somewhat farcical approach to dishing out Singapore citizenship to any "talented" foreigner doesn't help either. Singapore is the only country I know where the authorities try very hard to tie citizenship to scholarships and employment opportunities.

I actually have foreign friends who laugh at Singapore because of this.

singaporean said...

From my observation, the biggest supporters of the foreign talent policies normally have the least interaction with the foreign students, and therefore, has the wildest fantasies about the foreign talent policies. I was a bond guarantor for a Malaysian, a Bangladeshi and a PRC undergrad (at the time). Do you guarantee bonds for total strangers? It is precisely because we know the thoughts of the foreign students well, especially those from PRC, that fills us with disgust for the govt's foreign talent policy.

Flooding Singapore with foreigners does nobody favours, especially not to the foreigners themselves. Did you know that the bulk of the PRC students who graduated from polytechnics are downright furious with the Singapore government because they cant find jobs (there are only so many diploma level jobs that tolerate a poor command of spoken english, and there are so many PRC students to compete against) in Singapore and they cant further their studies for two years, locally or overseas, because of their bond requirements?

Anonymous said...

I know this is quite a late post but... I think its quite unfair for S'poreans to be so against Foreign workers. True they may be taking up jobs in Singapore. True they may be taking up the space of "deserving" Singaporean students . But think about it this way. We pay them to come over to Singapore. And we learn the skills that they have that we consider them "talents". In this way, we surely benefit from having foreigners work in Singapore. Also, there is a general misconception that foreign workers are well paid and have high posts. SIngpaoreans are generally command a higher pay. Moreover, foreign talents usually have jobs that do Singaporeans do not want. Just stating some examples are recruiting. Also not to mention the stereotypical construction workers and maids. Imagine without them, do you think any Singaporean, who generally have a very high education, would want to take those jobs? These people are not talents but they make up for the somewhat lack of manpower in Singapore for different jobs.

ask said...

Haai bloggers

I just got a offer from NUS.

I thought of pursuing Master of Science over there.

Can any one tell me, how about the placements over there?

From the topics posted by everyone here, i am a bit scared that they will be giving prference only to local people in placements.

Can anyone help me in this

kok said...

A lot of Singaporean talent go to US, Canada, Australia... for the reason of better life style or opportunity... This issueis frequentky bring out. How they are contributing to Singapore when the country have spend so many money on them from kindergarden to university?

kok said...

There are a lot of research student who are foreigner, but why a lot of professor get their PHD form foreign university. What that mean?