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 this: As 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.
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.