“If they cannot find jobs, what is the point? You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless,”
~PAP Millionaire Minister Khaw Boon Wan [Source]
In response to a question in the “Singapore Conversation” asking why does the PAP government not set aside more university places for ITE and Polytechnic graduates, PAP Millionaire Minister Khaw Boon Wan claimed that Singaporeans do not need a degree to get a good life and a good job. It is baffling how the Minister can arrive that ITE and Polytechnic graduates in Singapore market are having a good life and a good job, when the average starting pay of a poly grad can only reach $2370[Source] before CPF deductions. Many Singaporean diploma holders are upgrading into a degree when they realized they face an income and position ceiling in every sector they are working in. It is no surprise Singapore’s birth rate is the lowest in the world because of the very weak purchasing power they possess from the salary depression they faced due to foreigners and the lack of qualifications.
With the influx of foreigners, Singaporean diploma holders find themselves working under managers who are foreigners who hold degrees. The PAP government welcome any foreigner degree holders and call them “foreign talent”, but they discourage Singaporeans from attaining degrees as revealed in WikiLeaks[Source]:
“¶9. (C) Singapore boasts a highly competitive and well-regarded primary and secondary education system, but the number of Singaporeans completing a tertiary education is relatively low. Only 23 percent of Singaporean students entering primary school complete a degree at a local four-year university. In other knowledge-economies such as Japan’s, around 50 percent of students complete a university degree. However, according to Cheryl Chan, Assistant Director of the Planning Division at the Ministry of Education (MOE), the government does not plan to encourage more students to get a higher education. The university enrollment rate will continue to be maintained at 20-25 percent because the Singaporean labor market does not need everyone to get a four-year degree, she asserted.” ~WikiLeaks
Currently, the 4 government-subsidized universities, NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD reserves up to 20% of the university seats for foreign students – with a large number of them receiving free scholarships when they couldn’t even pass A level English. The rejection rate of Singaporean diploma holders admission in the government universities is as high as 90%. Most Singaporean diploma holders attend overseas universities based in Singapore, while those better-off attending college overseas. Overseas degrees cost from $26,000 to $50,000, while local degrees just cost $18,000 to $22,000.
Aside from the discrimination against Singaporean diploma holders, Singaporean undergraduates face unfair treatment from the PAP government as well. Full sponsorship with allowance and free lodging are offered generously to foreign students who do not need to take the A level paper, while Singaporean students who went through the rigorous A level Singapore education system are denied of such scholarships. Foreign scholarship holders are also guaranteed employment in the cushy comfortable government sector and government-linked corporations upon graduation for 5 years, while Singaporean graduates have to face competition with foreigners with foreign degrees in the private market. The unfairness is further leveraged by the fact that Singaporean males have to go through 2 years of National Service and 10 years of reservist cycle. Every year, an undisclosed number of Singaporean males are injured, or permanently incapacitated or died due to NS training.
Many young Singaporeans are becoming anti-PAP on such valid grounds and as such unfair discrimination against Singaporeans continue, the PAP is poised to be voted out by 2016.