Fundamentally flawed education system: This is Singapore! Part 3


For those aspiring for a degree, masters and above, let me remind you that NUS, NTU and SMU only have 25-30% Singaporeans. My MP told me about it in an email replying to my queries. That was back in 2010 I think. I still have the email.

Oh come on, there’s still private degrees here… Singapore is a hub for private university education. If you can’t get into local uni, go private lah… I can imagine ignorant people saying this to me… Well I took their advice and took up an RMIT degree in SIM.

When I got out to work, my friends in The Human Resource field told me my degree is considered 3rd class and no government agencies will hire you unless they very desperate. You are unrecognized, categorized perhaps in the diploma category. I was mindful that the government owns 60% of the economy here. Anyway, at the workplace, I knew paper qualifications didn’t matter as long as I am intelligent enough, adaptable and work hard. I’ve made it all by myself, in sales. I have mastered the art of persuasion. However, deep down, I know i don’t need the degree to qualify for the job.

Taking another degree for a career change etc in Singapore is not possible unless you have more than 100k minimum. That is you go overseas to a reputable university to get a recognized degree. For my case, armed with the RMIT business degree, and 4 years working experience, I applied for a masters degree in NTU, NUS and SMU. You know lah, confirm rejected. Only the part time MBA from uniSIM will consider me. I am not going to disappoint myself again. Then again, I considered accounting degree here in NTU or NUS. Its 3 years for a CPA. As I researched further, a CPA masters in the TOP 3 universities in Australia is only 2 years. Then, the idea of migration crept in…

There comes a time when the job becomes stale, lots of money with lots of uncertainty. You either move on to management, career change or upgrade yourself with a masters or another degree in another field of work. Initially, I have chosen management but that job was to manage and motivate your people to get the numbers. Looks good, but I was told to sell insurance, something which I never believed in. You sell a piece of shit telling your customers that its a pot of gold. I would never betray my conscious.

I did apply to some govt jobs and took interest in teaching. NIE never replied my application. Perhaps my degree sucked. Anyway, I had a couple of offers from my CEO customers to work for them. One from Melbourne and one to start a company for him in Singapore. I chose to start the company with him as a consultant and a shareholder. Did that only after i resigned from my bank job. I was paid handsomely. As for the Melbourne job, the CEO said he could wait for me until I finish masters degree in Brisbane. At that time, my mind was already set on migration as well as taking my masters degree.

I am not saying that a private overseas degree in Singapore is bad. It’s actually good in essence but then again you have 200-300 students to one lecturer, I doubt the situation helps. Besides, there is a systematic discrimination from Singapore inc. oh yah, I remembered from wikileaks some dumb ass civil servant claimed that Singapore don’t need too many university graduates.

Lastly, I want to point out that all local universities were built with the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors as well as taxpayers. To admit majority foreigners as well as funding their stay here is ridiculous. The funds should be channelled to young Singaporeans.



  1. Faraday Lim · March 24, 2014

    25-30% locals? What are you smoking bro. The undergraduate population is capped at only 18% foreigners.

    Sure, you may be thinking about post-grad programs. But trust me here, do a survey of year 4 students in local universities. You will realise that most locals do not want to continue on to a post-graduate course. We live in a pretty materialistic society, their main goal is to get out and quickly get money. Those who actually do want to stay and study are very rare. There are 2 cases:

    a) Very passionate and brilliant students or
    b) students who have a sucky GPA and know that they won’t be able to find a good job when they graduate. Hence, they would prefer to get a masters to ‘up’ themselves.

    The ones in a) usually get accepted but the ones in b) don’t and end up whining and complaining that its foreigners fault when it is they who are actually not good in the first place.

    Look at it realistically man, RMIT?? Come on. Ranked at 291. NUS/NTU ranked up so much higher. Everyone knows the ‘quality’ of RMIT degrees. What more a distance-learning one.

    When it comes to post-grad students, things get very critical. Why? Because rankings and standings come from publications of post-grad students. That’s why NUS and NTU cannot compromise on substandard quality just because you are a Singaporean. If they decide to take in all locals for post-grad positions, even crappy ones, guess what? We will be exactly the same as Malaysia and her unranked universities.

    Honestly? I’d rather have a smarter teacher in my university than a sub-par one. If you compromise on quality on the post-grads(who eventually teach undergrads and affect the entire university), you will compromise on the university as a whole.

    I would also feel cheated, why should the university hire a sub-par local post-doc lecturer to teach me just because he is local? I’d rather the university pick the smarter and better foreigner. Because at the end of the day, my education gets affected by this person. I’d rather have a smarter foreigner lecturer that can make me smarter than a less smart local who won’t be made of the same intellectual quality.

    But I have to agree with you on some points, the main reason why our universities lose very smart and very brilliant graduates to the workforce is because Singapore is not a cheap place to live. If the government made cost of living lower, Im sure many local undergrads would consider post-graduate studies like master and phd. The problem is that they have to chase money if not they won’t be able to live. What more for guys with NS, we are already so far behind, we don’t want to lose anymore time.

    That said, I think we should have ‘Singaporean First’ policies in many sectors.The ironic thing is that you were turned down from govt jobs BECAUSE the govt is hiring ‘Singaporean First’. They hire Singaporean graduates from Singaporean universities first, meaning locals with NTU/NUS/SMU degree. Funny isn’t it, be careful what you wish for.

    Yes, we should have a stronger Singaporean First policy. Just not in university post-grad programs.


  2. Pingback: Debate between pro-govt Faraday Lim and Cowpeh! | Embracing your identity

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