Sylvia Lim: Increase size of cohort entering local universities

Currently, the proportion of Primary One cohort admitted into the local subsidized universities is targeted to rise to 30% by 2015, with the new university and institute coming up. I would like to ask if MOE will review this 30% target with a view to increasing it.

This was a speech in Parliament on 10 March 2010 by NCMP, Sylvia Lim,during the Committee of Supply debate, on the budget for the Ministry of Education (MOE). Read other Workers’ Party speeches and statements at wp.sg.

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Currently, the proportion of Primary One cohort admitted into the local subsidized universities is targeted to rise to 30% by 2015, with the new university and institute coming up.
I would like to ask if MOE will review this 30% target with a view to increasing it.
I note MOE’s concerns that we should not have sudden increases in graduate numbers which may leave many unemployed or under-employed.
However, since Singapore is prioritising innovation and greater productivity, the population as a whole has to raise its game, and the jobs of the future will require different educational qualifications from currently. We are also trying to encourage the growth of entrepreneurs to find their own niches. With globalization, Singaporean graduates also have more opportunities overseas, which will still benefit their families and Singapore, directly or indirectly.
As a matter of interest, according to the OECD Factbook 2009, the 25 OECD countries were expecting to graduate on average about 37% of an age cohort from Tertiary-Type A (typical degree level) education in 2006. It was stated that there was a strong trend in increasing their cohort participation rates in the last 15 years in line with producing highly-skilled labor forces.
I agree that we need to maintain standards in university admission. However, over the years, many students who were rejected by our local universities were admitted to reputable foreign universities and did well. But this route is available only to those whose parents could afford it.
I hope the Ministry will look into revising the cohort participation rate at our local subsidized universities beyond 30%.

Currently, the proportion of Primary One cohort admitted into the local subsidized universities is targeted to rise to 30% by 2015, with the new university and institute coming up.

I would like to ask if MOE will review this 30% target with a view to increasing it.

I note MOE’s concerns that we should not have sudden increases in graduate numbers which may leave many unemployed or under-employed.

However, since Singapore is prioritising innovation and greater productivity, the population as a whole has to raise its game, and the jobs of the future will require different educational qualifications from currently. We are also trying to encourage the growth of entrepreneurs to find their own niches. With globalization, Singaporean graduates also have more opportunities overseas, which will still benefit their families and Singapore, directly or indirectly.

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Affordable uni education for poly grads

I am glad to learn from the President’s speech in Parliament on Monday that Singapore is opening up a new government-subsidised tertiary institute designed for more polytechnic graduates to be able to obtain their university degrees locally.

I think this is long overdue. I know of so many poly graduates who, because they were not in the top 10% of their class, did not qualify for local universities. Their parents had to fork out thousands for them to study overseas, usually in Australia. Apart from the drain on finances for individual families, on a national level this money could have been spent locally, contributing to the Singapore economy, instead of the Australian economy. And for the many families who couldn’t afford an Australian education, it is unfortunate that their sons and daughters were denied a quality university education because of financial constraints, and had to join the ranks of middle rung workers working for imported foreign talent.

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