I once wrote, on this blog, a series of posts about the flaws and failings of the scholarship system in Singapore - here, here, here and here. In one of them, I posed this question to my readers:
Find two differences between Group A:
Singapore Airlines / Singapore Press Holdings / Development Bank of Singapore / Singapore Power Ltd / SembCorp Industries / Singapore Armed Forces / Singapore Police Force
and Group B:
Citibank Singapore / Hyflux / Creative Technologies / Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation / Asia-Pacific Breweries / Courts Singapore / Goodwood Park Hotel /
Osim International / Fraser & Neave Ltd.
... and then I gave the answer:
1. All the Group A entities are linked to the Singapore government. But all the Group B organisations are genuine private-sector entities.This, of course, leads the reader to the next question:
2. All the Group A entities offer undergraduate scholarships. But none of the Group B organisations do.
Why is this the case? What makes genuine, bona fide commercial organisations shy away from offering undergraduate scholarships?For my answers to that question, you'll have to read my old post. Slightly more than one year later, a few government-linked entities seem to be catching up with Mr Wang's analysis. The Sunday Times reports that PSA, DBS and SLA have all cut back on their scholarship programmes:
Sunday Times, Sep 17, 2006Well, of course it isn't working. That's why, as I have observed in my earlier post, genuine, bona fide commercial organisations generally do not offer scholarships - at least not in the way the government and the GLCs do.
PSA, DBS and SLA have cut back on their scholarship programmes. Is this the start of a trend as employers become more wary of bond-breakers?
By Nur Dianah Suhaimi
AT LEAST three scholarship boards which fund undergraduate studies are relooking the way they do it, with one stopping the scheme altogether.
PSA Corp, which has been awarding about 20 scholarships a year on average, is no longer doing so this year.
DBS Bank, one of the first companies here to hand out scholarships in the early 1970s, has tweaked its programme and will only award scholarships to those in their final year of undergraduate studies or postgraduate students.
And unlike previously, these scholarships are not likely to have a bond attached to them, the bank said.
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA), which handed out about three scholarships a year, is now only offering local scholarships.
The Public Service Commission (PSC), which for years was the primary source of scholarships with over 200 given out annually, has also cut back dramatically, though this was a decision made to avoid crowding out the private sector.
From 253 scholarships in 2001, the number was slashed to 54 in 2002. This year, only 39 students were given the PSC scholarship.
the moves by PSA, DBS and SLA could signal a wider problem: recruiting talent via the scholarship route isn't working out for some companies, the experts said.
When contacted by The Sunday Times, the three agencies did not pin down reasons for the change.Took them a long time to realise it, didn't it? Too bad the Singapore government will take an even longer time. Next time, they should all just read Mr Wang's blog and push themselves more quickly up the learning curve. Even this person, Tan Joo Sin, doesn't quite get it:
SLA said it had not awarded any overseas scholarships this year because there were no suitable candidates. But its website said it would offer only local undergraduate scholarships this year.
DBS, on its part, said its scholarship programme has been restructured to suit the bank's current focus on regional and emerging markets. Its future scholarship holders will study at top universities in the region instead of popular study destinations like Britain and the US.
It did not give a reason for no longer giving out scholarships to students fresh out of junior college.
A PSA spokesman would only say: 'The number of scholarships we offer year to year varies and depends on the organisation's needs and how these needs are met by other channels such as direct recruitment.'
The cause for the cutback could be the problem of bond-breaking, said human resource experts, or a realisation that some scholarship holders do not meet job requirements after they graduate ...
The way around this problem is not to do away with scholarships, said Mr Tan Soo Jin, vice-chairman of Amrop Hever Group, an executive search company.Tan Soo Jin works for an executive search firm. What does an executive search firm do? It helps companies to find, screen and hire the most suitable candidates for job vacancies in the company. It also helps job seekers to find jobs that provide the best match for their skills, knowledge and career expectations.
Instead, companies should focus on developing career plans for the scholarship holders to entice them to stay - which is how big companies like Shell, Nestle and Unilever retain their staff.
Suppose I go to Tan Soo Jin today and say, "Hello, my name is Mr Wang. I am a lawyer. Please find me a job as soon as possible. However, please let them know that I can only start work in the year 2011, and they must continue to employ me until the year 2017."
What would Tan Soo Jin say? "You're crazy, Mr Wang. Which company would know today whether it would have a vacancy in the year 2011 for a candidate like you? And how can they be sure you would be good for the job until the year 2017? How do YOU even know you would want to work for them until then?"
Exactly, Mr Tan. That's why the scholarship system is stupid.
And that's why our government, which has many scholars, is also __________.
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