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Posts Tagged ‘Education’

The truth about university rankings

In Uncategorized on 08/10/2014 at 4:51 am

Some time back there was a spate of articles in our constructive, nation-building media telling us how well our unis (SMU excluded) are doing in global rankings. This is a yearly occurence as the league tables are published around this time, the traditional start of the university yr.

I’ve always wondered how the various league tables are compiled. Recently I found out.

How does a university get to the top of the rankings? And why does such a small group of institutions seem to have an iron grip on the top places?

The biggest single factor in the QS rankings is academic reputation. This is calculated by surveying more than 60,000 academics around the world about their opinion on the merits of institutions other than their own.

Ben Sowter, managing director of the QS, says this means that universities with an established name and a strong brand are likely to do better.

The next biggest factor – “citations per faculty” – looks at the strength of research in universities, calculated in terms of the number of times research work is cited by other researchers.

The ratio of academic staff to students represents another big chunk of how the rankings are decided.

Big brands

These three elements, reputation, research citations and staff ratios, account for four-fifths of the rankings. And there are also marks for being more international, in terms of academic staff and students.

As a template for success, it means that the winners are likely to be large, prestigious, research-intensive universities, with strong science departments and lots of international collaborations.

Is that a fair way to rank universities? It makes no reference to the quality of teaching or the abilities of students?

“We don’t take an exhaustive view of what universities are doing,” says Mr Sowter.

“It’s always going to be a blunt instrument,” which he says is both the strength and weakness of such lists.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-29086590

“There are many ways of being smart”

In Public Administration on 23/07/2014 at 4:22 am

If any principal or teacher dares tell their pupils, “There are many ways of being smart”, then I’m confident of S’pore’s future, even if the PAP maintains its hegemony.

A letter sent to pupils at a Lancashire primary school along with their key stage two test results has gone viral on social media sites.

The letter to pupils at Barrowford Primary School in Nelson told them the tests do not always assess what makes them “special and unique”.

The letter reads:

Please find enclosed your end of KS2 test results. We are very proud of you as you demonstrated huge amounts of commitment and tried your very best during this tricky week.

However, we are concerned that these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique. The people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you… the way your teachers do, the way I hope to, and certainly not the way your families do.

They do not know that many of you speak two languages. They do not know that you can play a musical instrument or that you can dance or paint a picture.

They do not know that your friends count on you to be there for them or that your laughter can brighten the dreariest day. They do not know that you write poetry or songs, play or participate in sports, wonder about the future, or that sometimes you take care of your little brother or sister after school.

They do not know that you have travelled to a really neat place or that you know how to tell a great story or that you really love spending time with special family members and friends.

They do not know that you can be trustworthy, kind or thoughtful, and that you try, every day, to be your very best… the scores you get will tell you something, but they will not tell you everything.

So enjoy your results and be very proud of these but remember .

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-lancashire-28319907

Somehow I doubt if any principal would send this letter, or any teacher  even think about thinking about “there are many ways of being smart”, even though the education minister talks the talk of holistic education. The principals and teachers would fear being sacked or “marked”.

Easier for pigs to fly or Maruah and other middle class kay pohs to call for the release of Dan Tan from detention without trial.

Even in the UK, the principal had to deny that the letter was telling pupils that test scores did not matter.

“We never give pupils the message that academic attainment isn’t important – what we do is celebrate that we send really independent, confident, articulate learners on to the next stage of their school career.”

BTW, the school is a good school. The exam results of its pupils are good.

Educating children: Not juz teachers, schools & edn ministry

In Uncategorized on 19/06/2014 at 4:43 am

A UK newspaper interviewed The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted)chief Sir Michael Wilshaw who suggested “bad parents” should be fined if they didn’t attend parents evenings, did not read to their children and allowed homework to go undone.

These ideas fit into the PAP way of doing things. I’m surprised they havn’t been introduced or tried out here.

But maybe the PAP (remember that the acceptable face of the PAP, Tharman, was once education minister) realised the downside is that measures like these will penalise and marginalise further the kids of poorer S’poreans.

The paper says Sir Michael’s comments will “provoke anger from poverty campaigners who say that poor families are least able to pay the fines and that their children will suffer”.

However, Sir Michael says “deprivation was used as an excuse for low achievement” and teachers should tell parents “if they weren’t doing a good job”. (BBC Online)

Where a 55 hr working week is the norm

In Uncategorized on 17/06/2014 at 4:55 am

It’s the school hols and on TRE recently, I came across a SDP piece complaining about our education system. As usual with such pieces, it puts all the blame on the PAP govt, as though parents’ expectations are divorced from govt education policy.

There are two things that are not widely talked about about the education system both by the govt and its critics

One is class size. I was shocked, last yr, to find out that in govt schools, secondary and primary, the average class size is 40, the same when I went to school in the 60s and 70s. In independent schools, the class size is about 25. So how can education help help level up the poor, PM? Oh I juz read on FB that there are now primary schools with 30 students in Pr 1.

Neighbourhood schools should have more teachers. But then that goes against the Hard Truth of meritocracy: yr merit in exams entitles the student to smaller class sizes (and better teachers). Meritocracy has its privileges..

And the hours teachers “work” are longer than the hrs S’poreans normally work even taking into account the school hols. . Recently I read this on the BBC: For secondary head teachers, it stretches to an average of 63.3 hours per week – the longest of any of the teaching jobs. Primary classroom teachers worked longer hours – 59.3 hours – than their secondary school counterparts, who worked for 55.7 hours per week. The hours in a secondary academy were slightly less, at 55.2 hours.

I sent the link to a friend whose wife teaches in a neighbourhood primary school. He wrote:”59.3 hrs/week actually seems low, since she’s in school 7am-6pm and then also does work on weekends [during] term-time — it’s much more relaxed during holidays (only 2 weeks guaranteed off in June and ~3 weeks in December).

So she works 55 hrs a week (Mon to Fri) albeit with 30 days holidays. But this still works out to over 50 hrs a week after taking into account the 30 days off and the time when they don’t teach but have to go to work during the school hols.

Taz almost like the hours research analysts worked when I was in broking. They were well paid but one analyst complained that it was “blood” money, given the hours. And teachers don’t get paid as much.

And teaching isn’t exactly an enjoyable job: the author of The Lord of the Rings (a personal fav) wrote: “All teaching is exhausting, and depressing and one is seldom comforted by knowing when one has had some effect. I wish I could now tell some of mine (of long ago) how I remember them and things they said, though I was (only, as it appeared) looking out of the window or giggling at my neighbour”.http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jun/12/jrr-tolkien-teaching-exhausting-depressing-unseen-letter-lord-rings)

I’m sure if our teachers were FTs, Constance Singham, Kirsten Han, William Wan and other FT lovers would be protesting at the long, hard, inhuman hours FT teachers work. but as our teachers are in the main true-blue S’poreans, these FT lovers remain silent.

Coming back to the SDP article, there were the usual anti-PAP rants, but a TRE reader responded as follows

Proven Perfection:
June 2, 2014 at 1:00 am (Quote)
Which model do we wish to copy when the whole world is descending here to learn of our education system?
We tops the world education ranking yr after yr
From maths to science.
From pr to university.
The high number of foreign students here speak volume.
Even our mediocre students who fail to gain entry into our local unis studying abroad come up tops there.
Our Maths textbooks are sought after in many developed countries!
Nothing venture nothing gain.
In any competitive system there is bound to be some attrition.
Check out the Far East.
From S Korea to China to Japan.
Its worse!
The suicide rate is simply atrocious.
No choice in a truly meritocratic system meant for selecting the best & allowing people’s highest potential to surface.
Remember Spore is where it us today because of our human resource NOT mineral resource.
Tempering with it like our neighbour will spell doom.
The flaw in any subjective exam or project work is its reliability & accuracy or credibility.
We arent dealing with 1 candidate and a Sherlock Holmes assigned. It could be plagiarized work.
The tutors’. The teachers’ (because of ranking) The parents’ or siblings’. Copied.
Strict or lenient assessment or appraisal however beautiful the rubrics.
The solution. Stick to the pen & paper as its dominant plus a variety of other subjective assessments.
Our 1st world status is a product of pen & paper leaders like LKY, LHL, etc. Double First at Cambridge.
Dont take risk and reinvent radically when the system pays.
Look at how rotten the whole world is today and youll be thankful for our educational system.

No amount of criticism (reasonable and unreasonable) can disguise the fact that we got a great system: for a significant minority of students. The issue is catering for the others, and or their pushy parents.

Even FTs are trying out our system. Here’s a link to a story about FTs sending their kids to local schools: http://features.insing.com/feature/foreign-students-take-on-too-tough-singapore-education-system/id-a43d3101/?utm_source=OB&utm_medium=content_stories&utm_campaign=features-rss

To end, if anti-PAP cyber warriors want to help the Oppo persuade the 35% of S’poreans that can be persuaded not to blindly support the PAP, they should never demonise anyone who is not blindly and unquestionably anti-PAP. They must remember that the core anti-PAP is around 30%, of which 5% are lunatics (they voted for Tan Kin Lian in PE 2011).

 

 

 

 

Why global education league rankings are meaningless

In Hong Kong, Uncategorized on 11/05/2014 at 4:27 am

South Korea is rated number one according to this ranking* by Pearson and the EIU. And other education league tables also rank it highly.

But we know that over 200 Southern Korean students obeyed orders, and drowned as a result.They behaved like sheep rather than intelligent human beings.They were not sceptical enough. Is this what education all about? Behaving like sheep?

BTW, we are third and I’m sure our students would have obeyed orders too, like the Japs (second), and drowned. (Can’t be sure about the Hongkies 4th.  (http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27314075). I suspect the Hongkie kids would have disobeyed orders, HK’s that kind of place, Hongkies not afraid to protest. Power to them)

If behaving like sheep is the result of the best education system in the world, I’d rather be an American kid ( USranked 14th)

– it’s an American teenager from Hicksville USA (actually Mississippi) who started a campaign that made Coke and Pepsi drop an ingredient in their sports drinks. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-27300185

– And remember this 5-yr-0ld American boy who is a Microsoft recognised security researcher for spotting an Xbox flaw? http://atans1.wordpress.com/2014/04/14/v-v-good-at-solving-paper-problems-so-what-more-peanuts/

When the PAP govt and its trumpeters and drummers in our constructive, nation-building media laud our education system citing these int’l league tables, remember the Korean kids who drowned. My test would be, “Which countries’ kids are least likely to have drowned?”

—-

*These rankings are based upon an amalgamation of international tests and education data – including the OECD’s Pisa tests, and two major US-based studies, Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls).

They also include higher-education graduation rates, which helped the UK to a much higher position than in Pisa tests,

V.V. good at solving “paper” problems, so what? More peanuts?

In Uncategorized on 14/04/2014 at 4:20 am

We are Number 1 at problem-solving skills*, according to the results of international tests. Singapore and South Korea were top in tests taken by 15-year-olds. These problem-solving tests were taken at the same time as the Pisa tests, which compare how well pupils perform in maths, reading and science.

So what? A 5-year boy, from a country ranked 18th, is on Microsoft’s list of recognised security researchers.

A five-year-old boy who worked out a security vulnerability on Microsoft’s Xbox Live service has been officially thanked by the company.

Kristoffer Von Hassel, from San Diego, figured out how to log in to his dad’s account without the right password.

Microsoft has fixed the flaw, and added Kristoffer .

In an interview with local news station KGTV, Kristoffer said: “I was like yea!”

Don’t  see anyone that young, let alone any teenager, from S’pore, South Korea, China, Finland etc on that list.

Seriously, rankings like this have their uses (PR mainly; but most importantly as orange or red lights that there are serious problems in the education system) but the”real world rarely requires IQ-smart people to sit in silos, decipher data and reports, and solve pre-designed problems based on pure hard logic,” says Perry Tan (who GIC’s ex-chief economist says  has deep working HR experience with big global employers).

He also says:

The PISA test involves students solving pre-defined problems individually online.

How well does that translate to real world problem solving scenarios where you have to make sense of incomplete information and data; define the problem; collaborate and debate with others who have differing perspectives, cultures and styles; work with and around systems, processes and organisational dynamics; use intuition as much as logic to formulate a solution; market your solution to stakeholders to get buy-in; and finally drive relentlessly towards an outcome you want?

His edited comments appeared in the constructive, nation-building Today. TOC (the unconstructive, nation-destroyer run by those who are upset that the PAP didn’t select them as elite paper warriors. LOL, juz joking) gives the unedited letter: http://www.theonlinecitizen.com/2014/04/dont-blindly-trumpet-achievements-in-standardised-tests/

Are peanuts the prize for problem-solving monkeys? Or bananas?

Well this article would imply that the answer is “Yes”, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2010/12/02/what-is-a-college-degree-worth-in-china/high-test-scores-low-ability

Students, parents, teachers, school leaders and even local government officials all work together to get good scores. From a very young age, children are relieved of any other burden or deprived of opportunity to do anything else so they can focus on getting good scores.

The result is that Chinese college graduates often have high scores but low ability. Those who are good at taking tests go to college, which also emphasizes book knowledge. But when they graduate, they find out that employers actually want much more than test scores. That is why another study by McKinsey found that fewer than 10 percent of Chinese college graduates would be suitable for work in foreign companies.

——-

*This longish excerpt from TRE  explains what the “problems” are. As I see it, there are lots of books that teach one how to solve these “problems”. Also gives background info on the various tests.

Singapore students have topped the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) problem-solving test.

PISA, organised by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), examines and compares how well education systems around the world are helping their students acquire the knowledge and skills essential for full participation in modern societies. It was first administered in 2000 and is conducted every 3 years with the most recent assessment in 2012. This is the second time that Singapore participated.

85,000 students worldwide took part in a computer-based problem-solving test. Singapore students beat other 15-year-olds from countries such as Japan, China and Finland.

Some of the types of questions that students had to answer are like:

  • Using a fictitious subway map, how do you get from “Diamond” to “Einstein” in the quickest way possible?
  • Plan how guests at a birthday party should be seated, based on a set of requirements

Nearly 3 in 10 Singaporean students were top performers – which means Singapore has the highest proportion of top performers in the PISA problem-solving test.

The 1,394 students from Singapore come from 172 schools, and they were randomly selected by PISA for the assessment.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD’s Acting Director for Education & Skills, said, “This data demonstrates that Singaporean students are not just spoon-fed. They are actually quite creative thinkers. They are actually able to engage with unfamiliar problems.”

Mr Schleicher added, “The idea of PISA is to reflect the type of skills that matters for the success of people in life and at work.”

“And we’re seeing, actually, big losses in employment, in tasks requiring routine cognitive skills. We’re seeing increases in tasks that require non-routine analytical skills, the capacity of students to extrapolate from what they know.”

Mr Schleicher also said that the world economy no longer pays for what a person knows. “Google knows everything. The world economy pays you for what you can do with what you know, and that makes a very big difference,” he said.

“Innovation today is no longer about you having a great idea and being able to do it. Innovation is to do with how you can connect with the ideas of others, people who share other ways of thinking, other belief systems.”

Mr Schleicher praised Singapore, “I think the reason why Singapore is doing well is because Singapore has very close eyes and ears of what’s happening in the world and the economy, and I think maintaining that is very critical.”

 

 

 

Looking for value for $ when studying in US?

In Financial competency, Financial planning on 13/04/2014 at 5:48 am

Check out this link http://www.economist.com/node/21600212

It tells you which colleges offer US students the best, worse returns for the fees they pay. While not directly applicable for S’poreans, some sign-post is better than none. Check out Harvey Mudd, a liberal arts college of science, engineering, and mathematics. Seems to offer bang for the buck.

Whether or not it is worth paying depends on who you are, what you study and where. PayScale, a research firm, has done a big survey of graduates and used it to estimate the financial return on degrees from different American colleges and universities. Our interactive chart below shows the total cost of a degree after financial aid (the beginning of the coloured bar) and the return over 20 years (the end of the bar). The return is defined as the amount that a graduate earns, minus what someone who did not attend college would earn, and minus the cost of attending college. Thus, a wider bar is good. The chart can be sorted by cost, return (annualised and over 20 years) or alphabetically.

PAP govt and S’poreans no ak degrees in arts and humanities, US data shows why:

Unsurprisingly, engineering is a good bet wherever you study it. An engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1m better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. Even the least lucrative engineering courses generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000.

Arts and humanities courses are much more varied. All doubtless nourish the soul, but not all fatten the wallet. An arts degree from a rigorous school such as Columbia or the University of California, San Diego pays off handsomely. But an arts graduate from Murray State University in Kentucky can expect to make $147,000 less over 20 years than a high school graduate, after paying for his education. Of the 153 arts degrees in the study, 46 generated a return on investment worse than plonking the money in 20-year treasury bills. Of those, 18 offered returns worse than zero.

- See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better#sthash.cJdJZ7Xp.dpuf

Unsurprisingly, engineering is a good bet wherever you study it. An engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1m better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. Even the least lucrative engineering courses generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000.

Arts and humanities courses are much more varied. All doubtless nourish the soul, but not all fatten the wallet. An arts degree from a rigorous school such as Columbia or the University of California, San Diego pays off handsomely. But an arts graduate from Murray State University in Kentucky can expect to make $147,000 less over 20 years than a high school graduate, after paying for his education. Of the 153 arts degrees in the study, 46 generated a return on investment worse than plonking the money in 20-year treasury bills. Of those, 18 offered returns worse than zero.

- See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better#sthash.cJdJZ7Xp.dpuf

Unsurprisingly, engineering is a good bet wherever you study it. An engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1m better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. Even the least lucrative engineering courses generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000.

Arts and humanities courses are much more varied. All doubtless nourish the soul, but not all fatten the wallet. An arts degree from a rigorous school such as Columbia or the University of California, San Diego pays off handsomely. But an arts graduate from Murray State University in Kentucky can expect to make $147,000 less over 20 years than a high school graduate, after paying for his education. Of the 153 arts degrees in the study, 46 generated a return on investment worse than plonking the money in 20-year treasury bills. Of those, 18 offered returns worse than zero.

- See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better#sthash.cJdJZ7Xp.dpuf

Unsurprisingly, engineering is a good bet wherever you study it. An engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1m better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. Even the least lucrative engineering courses generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000.

Arts and humanities courses are much more varied. All doubtless nourish the soul, but not all fatten the wallet. An arts degree from a rigorous school such as Columbia or the University of California, San Diego pays off handsomely. But an arts graduate from Murray State University in Kentucky can expect to make $147,000 less over 20 years than a high school graduate, after paying for his education. Of the 153 arts degrees in the study, 46 generated a return on investment worse than plonking the money in 20-year treasury bills. Of those, 18 offered returns worse than zero.
– See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better#sthash.cJdJZ7Xp.dpuf

So taz why so many FTs teaching here in arts and social science?

 

Unsurprisingly, engineering is a good bet wherever you study it. An engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1m better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. Even the least lucrative engineering courses generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000.

Arts and humanities courses are much more varied. All doubtless nourish the soul, but not all fatten the wallet. An arts degree from a rigorous school such as Columbia or the University of California, San Diego pays off handsomely. But an arts graduate from Murray State University in Kentucky can expect to make $147,000 less over 20 years than a high school graduate, after paying for his education. Of the 153 arts degrees in the study, 46 generated a return on investment worse than plonking the money in 20-year treasury bills. Of those, 18 offered returns worse than zero.

- See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better#sthash.cJdJZ7Xp.dpuf

Unsurprisingly, engineering is a good bet wherever you study it. An engineering graduate from the University of California, Berkeley can expect to be nearly $1.1m better off after 20 years than someone who never went to college. Even the least lucrative engineering courses generated a 20-year return of almost $500,000.

Arts and humanities courses are much more varied. All doubtless nourish the soul, but not all fatten the wallet. An arts degree from a rigorous school such as Columbia or the University of California, San Diego pays off handsomely. But an arts graduate from Murray State University in Kentucky can expect to make $147,000 less over 20 years than a high school graduate, after paying for his education. Of the 153 arts degrees in the study, 46 generated a return on investment worse than plonking the money in 20-year treasury bills. Of those, 18 offered returns worse than zero.

- See more at: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21600131-too-many-degrees-are-waste-money-return-higher-education-would-be-much-better#sthash.cJdJZ7Xp.dpuf

Finnish education system aimed at creating unemployment?

In Casinos, Economy, Financial competency, Uncategorized on 26/03/2014 at 4:38 am

S’poreans who laud the Finnish education system may want to think again. Look at the unemployment figures in this chart. Look st the Finnish the S’porean figures. Finnish education better than ours leh? Our system not that bad leh? worse for rapid PAP haters, govt is promising change. LOL

Here’s another inconvenient fact for those who want us to be more Finnish. A S’porean studying there tells me that slot machines are everywhere: in convenience stores, shopping centres etc.

On gambling on per capita basis and because of our casinos, we juz behind the Ozzies. Restrictions for locals? What restrictions? Only restricted if cannot pay and pay. OK, OK, terms and conditions even then apply. Finland is a distant third.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2014/02/daily-chart-

Coming back to education, the fact that PISA ranks China (OK Shanghai as tops) in education, doesn’t deter wealthy Chinese parents from wanting a posh, private British education (think s/o JBJ). No they want potatoe speaking, half Chinese, half ang moh sons: they want a better education for their kids.

My serious point, is that education is a very complicated topics. And we shouldn’t trivalise a debate on education with throwing data willy nilly to support an ideological position, even if one LKY (the PAPpy haters tremble and cross their hearts at the mere mention of his name) does it. Remember his remarks about the kids in neighbourhood schools that gave the govt grief?

In fact, data has to be analysed, not used as sticking plaster to support or denounce any given position on any issue. There are no “right” facts, juz facts.

 

How to really make all schools gd schools

In Internet on 16/03/2014 at 4:16 am

The education minister has been in ST’s headlines talking about making all schools gd schools. Tot he once said all schools are gd schools? So taz only an “aspiration’?. Bit like “one united nation , regardless of race, language or religion’?

Here’s a constructive suggestion: try online education?

“In the future, I suspect the best students who don’t have elite high schools to choose from will opt for online education. I find the prospect of a single great teacher lecturing on a subject to tens of thousands of students more realistic than improving the skills of tens of thousands of teachers”— On “The disruption to come”, Feb 11th 2014

Can then reduce elite schools in S’pore to RI, St Nick and SCGS. Yes RGS is not an elite school.

Pisa’s defects as the benchmark of educational excellence

In Uncategorized on 16/12/2013 at 4:40 am

Yes, I’m making a conscious effort to sit down and shut up on the two topical issues of the day: the riot and Breakfast Network’s suicide. Both issues have had some netizens talking sense, but more often than not rubbish.

The Pisa league table which ranks test results of students from 65 countries is taken very seriously b y the govt and media here because S’pore’s educatio system does very well on the results. They can throw this ranking at the face of pushy, aggressive parents whose kids can’t get into RI, St Nick or SCGS, or at the kay pohs who believe that ang mohs are tua kees (ang mohs do badly relative to the slit eyes of East Asia).

Maths scores

But do realise that S’pore is being compared to entire countries

Are regions a better way of measuring results?

The headline results for these tests are about the performance of countries or at least big Chinese regional education systems that are as big as countries, such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.

But this year’s results show much more local detail. And it often entirely contradicts the national picture.

For instance, the education system in the United States has been seen as one of the great under-performers, struggling among the below-average stragglers.

Go down to state level and it can be an entirely different story. Massachusetts would be a match for the best European systems. There are similar examples in Italy and Spain. Wales is a long way behind the other parts of the UK.

What this means, the OECD says, is that there are often bigger differences within countries than between countries. And if one region can perform so well, why not the rest of the country?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25205112

This aside, there are things that are wrong other than the fact that only the Chinese provide their own, unverifiable data.

– Different questions

About 4,000 children in each of the 65 countries are subjected to the test, which lasts for two hours.

But only a small number of pupils in each school answer the same set of questions.

The reason for this is that Pisa wants to measure a comprehensive set of skills and abilities, so it draws up more questions than a single child could answer (about four-and-a-half hours’ worth) and distributes them between different exam papers.

Pisa then uses a statistical model, called the Rasch model, to estimate each student’s latent ability. They also extrapolate from each student’s answers how they would have fared if they had answered all the other questions, had they been given them.

This approach has its critics. One is quoted below.

David Spiegelhalter, professor of the public understanding of risk at Cambridge University, says this practice raises its own questions.

“They are predicted conditional on knowing the difficulties of the questions – as if these are fixed constants,” he says.

But he thinks there is actually “considerable uncertainty” about this.

Furthermore, a question that is easy for children brought up in one culture may not be as easy for those brought up in another, Spiegelhalter says. “Assuming the difficulty is the same for all students around the whole world” is a mistake, he argues.

So when you see the league table of countries, the first thing to understand is that each country has been ranked according to an estimate of national performance.

– Educational attainment against well-being

South Korea might have come near the top of the educational rankings, but they come bottom in the rankings of happiness at school, Spiegelhalter notes – and Finland is only just above Korea.

– Drop-out rates matter:

But Mr Bodewig adds that the score may be impressive in part because so many poor and disadvantaged Vietnamese students drop out of school. The World Bank reports that in 2010 the gross enrolment rate at upper-secondary schools in Vietnam was just 65%, compared with 89% and 98% in America and Britain, respectively. South Korea’s rate was 95%.

Are TI students included in S’pore’s students that are tested? I assume normal stream students are? If not …

– Tuition helps:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/banyan/2013/12/education-vietnam

Finally, I hope netizens stop pushing the Finnish model: it’s now crap

Seekers after educational excellence once used to head pilgrim-like towards Finland. This was the most quoted example of a high performing school system, even though in many ways it was a very distinctive and individual system. Scandinavia was the education world’s sensible successful neighbour.

But Finland has slipped downwards and the gloom has spread across Nordic countries, with Sweden among the biggest fallers. Norway and Denmark are absent from the top end of the tables. Their sluggish performances has been overtaken by countries such as Estonia, Poland and Ireland.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25205112

Tuition works according to UK study

In Public Administration on 24/11/2013 at 4:54 am

So how come PAP govt says tuition not necessary?. In the UK, some enlightened schools pay for tuition for less well-off kids because data shows that tuition works

Every ethnic-minority group that trails white Britons in GCSE exams, normally taken at age 16, is catching up. Bangladeshis used to perform worse than whites; now they do better. Indians have maintained a huge lead. All this despite the fact that ethnic minorities are poorer than average. Control for that, by looking at pupils who are entitled to free school meals, and all ethnic-minority groups now do well. That is in part because parents are increasingly turning to private tutors. In a survey of 11- to 16-year-olds by the Sutton Trust, an education charity, 45% of Asian children said they received some kind of private tuition compared with 20% of white pupils. See full article.

(Related article: http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21583707-private-education-becoming-more-egalitarian-premium-economy)

And

Many parents rely on private tutors to boost their child’s chance of a grammar school place, suggests a small poll.

The research suggested that 67% of the grammar school pupils polled had received one-to-one coaching with 5% tutored as part of a small group.

Of those who had been tutored, eight out of 10 (78%) believed that tuition helped them to pass the entrance exam.

Only 6% continued to be tutored during their first year in grammar school.

“One of the key factors is that tuition gives these pupils confidence and helps calm down pre-exam nerves,” said Prof Ireson, Emerita Professor of Psychology in Education at the Institute of Education, University of London.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-23547666)

(Grammar schools are the only part of the English pre-university public education system that selects students based on academic ability.)

 

St Margaret’s a very dysfunctional school! Education minister too free?

In Public Administration on 14/08/2013 at 5:07 am

I refrained from commenting on recent events at the school out of respect for Eunice Olsen. She attended this school, and she is a credit to any school with her intelligence, social work, bubbly personality and gd looks. And also she did a pretty decent job as NMP unlike tuang queen and king Jos Yeo and NTUC man, Terry Lee.

But the principal’s recantation got me annoyed me no end. Meditation didn’t work. Hence this piece to let off steam. I’m also annoyed with one of her earlier actions, the students who broke their word, their supportive parents, and the education minister.

The principal should be sent for a PR 101 course. She was rightly asking for trouble when she framed, as a disciplinary issue, the decision to get wigs for some gals who shaved their heads for a good cause . I too would have bitched about her if I had not read that a teacher had said the gals had promised to wear wigs as a condition of being allowed to take part, and that some did.

The principal should have made the issue: “My word is my bond”. As a TRE poster put it,”When you make a promise, you must make all the effort to keep it. These young girls failed to keep their promise and then able to get away with it. Think what lesson did they learn – they learned that there are ways to sneak out of their commitments.”

True that would not have got the usual noisy kay poh netizens from attacking her stand. Even, my friend Siow Kum Hong, not one of the usual noisy KPs,  called the promise issue “a red herring” because of possible coercion*. Right next time, he promises anyone something, that person should get him to certify in writing that he was not coerced into making the promise. And that the certification was not made under coercion.

Then she repented her decision after her online vilification. So is she now telling her gals, “It’s OK not to keep a promise, so long as you are doing a good deed or you have a good intention or motive”? I mean this doctrine of “the end justifies the means” is so Machiavellian. She should be sent for an ethics course. Framing the issue as a disciplinary issue is something one would expect from a principal, but waz a principal doing endorsing a Machiavellian hard truth?

As for the gals, they do no credit to themselves, their parents and the school. Breaking promises something not to be done lightly. The school ethos must have played its part in making them so bor chap about making and keeping promises.

Then there are the gals’ parents who took a very relaxed attitude, if not supportive stance, of their daughters’ promise breaking, going by the accounts in the media, “Parent of one 15 year old who broke her promise whooped with delight, now that her precious darling daughter won’t “have to suffer the discomfort and heat of wearing wigs.”” wrote one blogger. I’m sure they will repent their attitude when their daughters start breaking their promises to them. They will have a hard time justifying to their daughters why it’s fine to break a promise to their school but not to their parents. But maybe the parents are regular promise-breakers, always lying, and see no harm in their daughters following them?

All in all, the school is one not to send daughters to. And if they are there, time to remove them. Even Katong Convent would be a better school. There the problem is usually sex, not ethics. It’s only KS parents who can’t see that being sexually active is worse than being unethical.

As for the minister, I don’t know if he or the education ministry pressured the principal to change her mind. If they did, it was wrong because as another TRE reader put it,

Why does a minister need to interfere in such a minor issue? Doesn’t he have more important and weightier matters to deal with?

After this incident, a teacher when asked for permission to go to the loo, “Wait, let me call the principal who will call the minister to get permission. Hold your urine!”

I personally believe they didn’t do anything to pressure the principal as the DRUMS have alleged.

But the minister was absolutely wrong to blog about the principal’s change of heart Facebook, making it public knowledge. It gave the impression, rightly or wrong, that the principal was “pressurised” to recant. As yet another TRE poster put it, “Heng Swee Keat lacks leadership – He should not come out and open his big mouth in the facebook to announce the U-turn deal. He is not giving face to the Principal. He should have asked the principal to announce it. If I were the principal, I would have resigned. NO face!!! in front of the students, staff, parents, etc.”

Btoom line: The principal and the minister should be sent on a 101 PR course. The principal and the gals’ parents on an ethics course. And the minister on a time and priority management course. If the principal changed her mind because of the internet vilification, Yaacob should invite her in for a talk on the DRUMS playing RAVI (Recriminations, Accusations, Vilifications & Insinuations (or is it Insults?).

I leave the final word to this Voice which appeared on 9th August:

In the end, who was at fault? (“No wigs for St Margaret’s five: Education Minister”; Aug 7, online)

The school has rules, which the students chose not to follow because of good intentions to show empathy with cancer patients.

Are there other ways, like doing charity, to show empathy?

The principal and students made a promise, but the students broke it. As long as one’s intention is good, is it okay to break a promise?

Where was the communication between the parents, teachers and principal before the promise was made? Students, being students, would agree to anything as long as they get what they want.

Which one is education? There is much to learn.

As someone else posted, the argument runs as follows:

“And what exactly is the minister trying to teach, that it’s okay to go back on your word?” – Learn how to understand the in-depth meaning of a promise and what is under unfair agreement, agreed under coercion. Right and wrong is not simply base on a promise. That is pure stupidity. A person being forced at gunpoint to promise the terrorist to help them do something… should the person do it? Enough said about promise and this issue.

Where are the app developers from RI & other elite schools?

In Political governance on 24/04/2013 at 5:27 am

In the last few days, education seems to be a hot topic if one goes by the reports in our local media: all part of the NatCon. I’m sure the Media Bahru will soon be putting its spin on the issues reported by Media Tua.

Well I’ll raise here an issue that doesn’t seem to fit in with a sub narrative that our elite schools are (or not) producing the kind of S’poreans we need.

In the UK, where private schools are the elite schools, students from the elite schools are producing world-class apps

… interviewed Nick 13 months ago … he came from a successful, wealthy family who had opted to give him a private education.

A day after Nick started counting his millions [Yahoo! bot his app which summaries news articles], an email dropped in my inbox about another teenaged developer.

Schoolboy Tom Humphrey has launched an app designed to help language learning by combining dictionary definitions with digital translation tools. He also happens to go to Eton College. [UK's most elite school. Costs about S$60,000 a year in fees]

Meanwhile teenager Nina Dewani, who was interviewed by the BBC last month after designing a password-prompting app, attends a private school in St Albans.

It could be a coincidence, but these young people join a long line of tech entrepreneurs who attended private schools and found fame for their creations.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee went to an independent school, as did Bill Gates (although he later dropped out of Harvard to set up a software company), while child prodigy Mark Zuckerberg had a tutor who helped him start writing software.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-22032013

Well, where are the world-class app developers from our elite schools? Let alone tech entrepreneurs.

Or is apps development reserved for this school: School of Science and Technology aims to nurture students to be innovative.

A student there “is pitching his business idea of an app which helps busy working parents remember their baby’s feeding schedule.”

Sports School students represent S’pore in ping-pomg, and SST students pitch uses of to-be-developed apps. Err who develops the apps? Poly students? Technical Institutes’ students?

My serious point is that if the students of our elite schools are not doing cutting-edge things that their counterparts in the West are doing, there must be something seriously wrong with the education system? A topic worthy of NatCon: “Where are the app developers from RI & other elite schools?”?

BTW, any comments about “exam factories” will be spammed. Taz a dumb comment to a complex and serious issue. In the UK and US, the elite private schools get more than their fair share of students into elite unis. In fact, critics complain they take away places from students from state schools.

How to make a school good?

In Uncategorized on 04/03/2013 at 4:45 pm

With the A-level results out, the above is a relevant question.

The boffins at the Urban Education Institute (UEI) in Chicago have written an exemplary book on school improvement. They looked at 100 elementary schools that showed progress in attendance and test scores over a seven-year period, and 100 others that did not. They argue—with quantitative data—that five essential pillars are needed to build a great school. These are: effective school leadership, collaborative teachers (with committed staff and professional development), parent-community ties, a student-centered (and safe) learning climate with high expectations, and ambitious and demanding instruction. (From an Economist blog).

On this critera, any neighbourhood school can aspire and be a good school. Of course, I’m defining “good” to include more than juz prodicing students capable of four As or the equivalent at O-levels.

BTW, an interesting UK school: The academy will allow students aged from 14 to 19 to specialise in engineering and science alongside core subjects in English, mathematics, languages and business.

It will offer young people the chance to work with leading engineering firms and businesses, including Jaguar Land Rover, Rolls Royce, National Grid, Eon and Goodrich, using a staff/student ratio of one to 10 for practical sessions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-19491790

 

Two cheers for the govt’s policy of limiting uni education

In Political governance on 03/03/2013 at 6:03 am

No college diploma, no job, even as a file clerk (NYT), shows that the govt has legitimate concerns about the extent of university education.

Problem is that at the same time as limiting the local uni education of true blue S’poreans, it allows in FTs with degrees (how many are fake?) by the cattle-truck load.

So locals are held back, so that FTs with fake or low quality degrees can find work here? Something is wrong, very wrong with this reasoning.

It’s reasoning like this, adherence to Hard Truths, while favouring FTs, that turned me against the PAP. That and Charles Chong insisting that people needing help must be stripped of their dignity before they can receive $50, in transport vouchers. Google up “Charles Chong” on this blog.

For the record, S’pore’s spending on education is only around 3% of GDP (about halve of Switzerland which is in line with developed countries), so we got to spend a lot more to have a Swiss-style standard of education.

Related post:

http://atans1.wordpress.com/?s=Switzerland

Govt may be right on limiting access to uni education, discuss.

In Economy, Political economy, Political governance on 19/12/2012 at 5:46 am

Given that Christmas is the season of goodwill to all men (including the PAPpies) and given that the PAP has had a torrid time, and given that Fabrications about the PAP is not doing its job, I tot I should post some facts and analysis (not Hard Truths) that support a policy that has pushy parents and netizens upset.

Sometime back, when

– PM said the desire  for “personal growth” 9i.e. a university degree has to be balanced with jobs; and

– the education minister said that while the govt would increase the number of places in local universities for locals, there would be a limit (I think he said 40% of some “mark”),

both were given a hard time by netizens and pushy parents.

I was reminded of the above recently, when I surfed across a few articles recently that discussed the skills needed to get jobs in a developed economies.

In a McKinsey survey of Western countries, nearly 70% of employers blamed inadequate training for the shortfall in skilled workers, yet 70% of education-providers believe they suitably prepare graduates for the jobs market. Similarly, employers complain that less than half of the young whom they hire have adequate problem-solving skills, yet nearly two-thirds of the young believe that they do have such skills.

Perhaps the young and their teachers need to take a reality check said the Economist writer who reported this.

Then there is thisAs some Canadian industries struggle to find skilled workers, others face a glut of qualified candidates and not enough jobs to go around. University professor Peter Fragiskatos says emphasising the importance of a university education only makes the problem worse.

He writes: Notions of success in Canada have been, and remain, intimately connected to obtaining a university degree. Why? After all, Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche and Heidegger can be discovered just as easily at a public library and for a much cheaper price.

All of this might sound strange coming from someone who teaches at a university. While the joy I feel when working with my students cannot be put into words, the experience has made me realise that a love for learning is not their leading motivation, if it ever was.

Most have been raised with the idea that a secure future will only be possible with a BA or a BSc, and they enrol in university for this reason. As they get older, today’s students are likely to pass along the same message to their kids.

The reality is that Canadians are living in a new era, one where a technical education – usually obtained at a community college – has the prospect of delivering not only a steady job but better pay than what university graduates typically make.

Engineering, mining and many health-related professions – the three areas identified by Tal’s report as most in need of qualified applicants – do not require a university degree.

Finally from an Economist blog  the work of Cambridge economist Chang Ha-Joon, has noted that Switzerland*—one of the richest countries in the world and the nation with the third-highest ratio of Nobel scientists per person—has a lower rate of college enrollment than every other rich nation, as well as other beacons of prosperity like Argentina, Lithuania, and Greece. In fact, once a country has crossed some very low threshold, there is no relationship between the number of graduates and national wealth. The explanation is simple: a typical college education does not linearly increase labor productivity. This is not necessarily a bad thing—there is more to life than making money, after all.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/09/college-enrollment

So maybe, the govt is right to put the emphasis on vocational education, with scholarship schemes like this?

Fat chance that most readers of TRE and TOC, and pushy parents would concur. For the former, the govt, PAP, NTUC and related entities are always wrong. Take Zorro Lim’s statement that NTUC says ‘no’ to equal pay for all nationalities because “Same job-equal pay” rule will put local workers and families at a disadvantage. Facebookers and some bloggers were bitching about this. If he had said “yes”, they would be bitching too.: S’poreans must come first. Wonder how these people feel, now that ST (whom they rightly bitch abt) agrees with them that sMRT should only use the English station names in its public announcements. LOL

—————————–

*S’pore’s spending on education is only around 3% of GDP (about halve of Switzerland which is in line with developed countries), so we got to spend a lot more to have a Swiss-style standard of education. Unless the govt wants us to be third world in education, like on workers’ and refugees’ rights.

 

Scandis, Dutch, Germans & Poles speak better English than us!

In Humour, Media on 29/10/2012 at 6:41 am

In the light of the ongoing PSLE debate, I tot I should draw readers attention to this chart.

It is no surprise that our constructive, nation-building, 30-pieces-of silver media did not reproduce this chart. But I’m surprised that our alternate media too did not, despite a very anti-PAP blog being given this (by me).

Jos too is talking cock

In Economy, Political governance on 26/10/2012 at 5:42 am

Shouldn’t Jos Teo bitch about the Integrated Programmes that make PSLE such an impt exam today, rather than against employers that offer PSLE leave for their employees, and parents that take time off to coach their kids. In my time, PSLE was important to get into RI, Victoria and Serangoon English: once in if no major balls-up could do PreU in these schools (Integrated Programme is juz modern variant), but if one went to mission primary schools, going to mision secondary schools (and PreU) wasn’t that dependent on PSLE results, unless one was stupid. Things got even better when the govt started NJC.  More places for PreU studies.

But then the cycle turned and now PLSE is the exam to pass.

“We are quite mistaken to behave as if PSLE is THE defining moment in a child’s development.”: Err not all parents can afford to send their kids overseas to make sure they get a good education, if the kids get culled here.

And following the logic of her outburst, wouldn’t the logic of her argument mean that the government is wrong to continue curbing the number of COEs? As even ministers and MAS concede that the rising costs of COEs adds to inflationary pressures, even if ministers are wrong to say that rising COEs don’t affect the cost of living of us plebs (those unable to afford owning cars, and have to use public tpt).

Which brings me to the inflation situation.

Remember me bitching in early August that MTI jnr minister Lee Yi Shyan, and the local media covering him, were misrepresenting the pix on food inflation? I had pointed out that there were reports of rising food prices.

Well now MAS validates what I was saying. MAS warned on Tuesday about upward pressures in imported food prices over the next few months and into early 2013 due to weather-related supply disruptions.

Jos has gd company. And this ST guy should be in line to be a jnr minister.

Note: Last sentence and link to Jos piece added at 9.09am on day of publication.

 

Education: England learning from S’pore

In Political governance on 26/09/2012 at 1:15 pm

Aimdst all the angst (a foreign publication’s take) about our educational system (tuition, PSLE exams etc), pause and reflect please especially netizens.

In England, reforms are underway so that

– Slower learners will try to pass the new exam a year or two later than their peers (like our 5 yr  O levels and 3 yr A levels, while

– “using the best performers in international tables as a guide (expect things to look a lot more Singaporean in the next few years)”. http://www.economist.com/node/21563330

And the Philippines is looking to S’pore for inspiration http://blogs.wsj.com/searealtime/2012/09/14/philippines-draws-inspiration-from-singapore/ utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterfeed&WSJASIA_article_outbrain=&obref=obinsite

What say you haters of all things PAP: KennethJ, GMS, Dr Chee and groupies, TOC*, xmen and various bloggers? Bang yr balls in frustration. Stop living in an echo-chamber.

The policies of the governing PAP are not all bad. And S’poreans know this.

*I exclude TRE because it is very clear that its mission is to counterbalance the constructive, nation-building local media. Juz like them, it makes no pretensions of being objective.

Kindergartens & the ruling PAP

In Media, Political economy, Political governance on 27/08/2012 at 5:31 am

So the PM in yesterday’s speech promised that the government will play a more active role in pre-school education to help S’poreans “level up”*. Actually it already has a very active role**.

Ever since the Lien Foundation came out with its report earlier this yr which in its media released stated, “Singapore’s preschool education placed 29th amongst 45 countries on the Starting Well Index” and reported that  South Korea (10th) and Hong Kong (19th) were ahead of us,there has been the usual hot air from the government, the constructive, nation-building media, and S’poreans, largely off-line via the media***.

One issue that all three groups skated around are the two elephants in the ice-rink: the PAP Community Foundation (PCF)  which is the dominant provider of kindergartens in S’pore, and its smaller cousin NTUC; and the ring-master (the governing PAP). Remember that the NTUC and PCF are “teeth” to the lips of the governing PAP.

It’s not surprising that the government and its minion, the media, avoided talking abt the role of the PCF and NTUC (until last night) and the government in the failure of kindergarten education here (PM skated over why the system needed fixing). So let me lay it out thickly.

The report says that where S’pore falls short is on quality issues: “Most of Singapore’s weaknesses showed up in the area of‘quality’, which includes factors like ‘student-­‐teacher ratio’,‘average preschool teacher wages’, ‘preschool teacher training’and ‘linkages between preschool and primary school’. All top ten countries on the Index have ratios ranging from one teacher to five to 11 children, compared to Singapore’s 1:20 ratio.”

It’s a question of funding.

While the NTUC and PCF cannot be blamed for the lack of funding because they are, unlike private kindergartens serving the moneyed, trying to serve the masses, not the children of elite, middle class bloggers: they can be blamed for not lobbying the government for more money to rectify ‘student‐teacher ratio’,‘average preschool teacher wages’, and ‘preschool teacher training’.

So until the government increases its funding (which the PM now has), the children of S’pore’s masses will continue suffering from low quality kindergarten education.

———

*He said: “First of all, we’ll establish a new statutory board to oversee pre-school education. Secondly, we’ll provide and upgrade pre-school teacher training to raise standards. Thirdly, we’ll bring in new anchor operators, in addition to PCF and NTUC.

“And fourthly, we’ll upgrade the anchor operators — the existing ones as well as the new ones — so that they can improve the careers they can offer the teachers.

“They can offer structured development opportunities for the staff, they can introduce creative learning methods for the students but to raise the base — the quality of the mass market.” CNA

**I read with amazement last week the spate of articles in, and letters to our constructive, nation-building media on whether kindergarten education should be “nationalised”.

***Not surprised netizens have been quiet. They don’t breed. Or if they do, they send their kids to gd, expensive kindergartens. They are middle class elitists.

What the education ministry gets right

In Humour, Political governance on 11/06/2012 at 5:28 am

“Parents need to adapt to new forward-thinking teaching methods: Education Minister” was the headline in a newspaper interview last week that featured Changkat Primary School where parents have been attending workshops: to help their children in their homework. Teachers share their primary 3 to 6 teaching methods. 

About time I say approvingly: the exhortation to parents to change their thinking that what they learnt were the “betterest” and to teach them how to teach their “little monsters”.

As a singleton (by choice), I note with wry amusement parents who get upset with new teaching methods, especially maths. Some even go to the extent of rubbishing new maths because they say might as well teach the kids algebra to start with since new maths morphs into algebra in sec school. To be fair, one such parent was a WP member.

I know a parent who seeing this daughter solving set-theory problems at what he (and his dad) considered too slow a rate (remember maths is one subject where perfect score is possible if one answers all the questions) asked the teacher if he should teach her to memorise the multiplication tables. He said the teacher rolled her eyes in disbelief, and he wondered why. FYI, this parent almost read maths at London University (UK maths courses are very “chim” compared to most US universities). His dad suggested he try something easier because he liked gambling in China Town. He took economics.

I digress. I learnt my multiplication table before I attended primary school and I studied advanced maths at O levels. But only in my 20s did I realise what multiplication meant. It was all about using the right formula and the correct multiplication number when I was in school.

And seeing new maths in action (I was exploring “exporting” it to a neighbouring country), I must say its a gd way of introducing maths concepts, and teaching the methodology solving mathematical and logical puzzles. I think S’poreans should be proud that its “Uniquely S’porean”.

And its a product of the PAP government netizens love to hate. Guys and gals, do remember that 60% of voters voted for the PAP. So unless you think that they are “daft” (like one LKY) accept that fact.

Oh and this is the start of “Be nice to the PAP, government week” on this blog. Given that the SPH and MediaCorp groups, and Fabrications abt the PAP and SG Hard Truths are doing such a bad job of spinning for the PAP and government, I tot I’d run a few posts this week on what I think the PAP government is doing right. If this week gets extended into another week, then into months, then readers will know I’m getting paid to join the Empire. 

Hey Baey and Yaacob, I need the extra cash. What with inflation at above 5% and Tharman and Hng Kiang talking rubbish about it not affecting someone who doesn’t buy a new car or who doesn’t have to buy a house.

Finally, I’ve got an idea of what to post on Wednesday, but I can’t think of anything further to praise the PAP government for Friday’s post. Suggestions welcomed.

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